Edward Parker was born in Cannock, Staffordshire, in July 1835, the
son of William and Anne Parker. His first wife, Ellen, was born in
1831, his second wife, Jessie, in 1838, in Stepney, East London; the
daughters of William and Sarah Tapp.
He joined the Royal Artillery at
the age of 16 and served in the Crimean War. He spent more than 19
years in the Army before being discharged unfit for duty in 1871.
After leaving the Army, Edward worked as a Dispenser at
the Auxiliary Hospital in Mill Lane, Woolwich.
In 1875, Edward moved to Dover to take up the post of Dispenser and
Collector at the Dover Hospital, where
he worked until his early death in 1902. The Hospital was supported
by subscriptions and donations, and it would have been part of Edward's
job to collect these sums. A few years later, "Collector" was
dropped from his job title and he continued as Dispenser for the
rest of his career.
We can trace his life through
his obituary in the Dover Express on 20th June 1902.
DEATH OF THE DOVER HOSPITAL DISPENSER
Dover Hospital has lost a valuable officer in the
death of Mr. Edward Parker, who was appointed Dispenser and Collector
in 1875, and has filled the office of Dispenser with great ability for
27 years. He had previously been associated with the medical
service of the Royal Artillery, and in that capacity served in the
Crimean War, taking part in the very heavy work which fell to the lot
of that branch of the service after the battles of Alma, Balaclava,
Inkerman, and the terrible sickness including cholera, which attacked
our troops in that trying campaign. He nearly lost his own life
when assisting at an operation owing to the accidental cutting of his
hand with a lance, which inoculated his blood with poisonous matter,
which was very near proving fatal, the effects of which he felt more
or less during the remainder of his life. He retired from the
Royal Artillery after 20 years' service, the latter part of which was
spent at Woolwich, and very soon after received his appointment at the
Dover Hospital. The testimony of all the Doctors is that he was
a most able dispenser, and that it will be difficult to find an equal
to succeed him. His death was mentioned at the Hospital Meeting
on Monday, and was referred to in appreciative and sympathetic terms
by Sir William Crundall, the Rev. Canon Bartram, Mr. E. Elwin, and Dr.
Osborn, and a vote of condolence was passed. The funeral took
place yesterday at Charlton Cemetery.
The minutes of the Hospital Meeting
on Monday 16th June 1902 report that:
Sir William Crundall said that he was sorry to say
that the next announcement he had to make was that Mr. Parker, who has
been their dispenser for the last 27 years, died on Sunday morning.
The Governors and subscribers and the staff of the Hospital would all
regret his untimely decease. He suggested that some expression
of regret and condolence with the widow should go forth from the
meeting. They would find it very difficult to replace him.
Canon Bartram then moved a resolution to the effect that the meeting
desired to record its sense of the loss through the death of its
dispenser, Mr. Parker, that the Hospital has sustained, and its deep
sympathy with the widow and family in their bereavement.
Mr. G. Osborn said that as the oldest member till recently on the Hon.
Medical staff, he wished to second this resolution. Mr. Parker
was a very able despenser, a post not at all easy to fill, and he was
sure that both the past and present staff would bear him out in saying
how valuable Mr. Parker's services as despenser had been to the
Mr. E. Elwin, as the late Hon. Secretary, also spoke highly of the
late dispenser's services.
(spelling as in original Dover Express report)
The announcement of his death in the same edition
On June 15th, 1902, at 9, Wood's Place, Oswald Road, Dover, Edward
Parker, aged 66 years and 11 months.
took place at St Andrew's, Buckland, on 19th June 1902.
at 13 Durham Place, Dover, on 6th February 1917, aged 79.
The following additional information has been
provided by Edward's great, great granddaughter, Kaye Taylor.
Edward enlisted into
the Royal Artillery at Birmingham on 17th December 1851. He was described on enlistment as 5ft 9 inches in
height with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. His
civilian trade was servant.
He was listed as a
Gunner & Driver, Reg. No. 3086, in the personnel of Capt. A. C. Hawkins
8th Co. of the 7th Bn.
When Edward enlisted
the Company was serving at Devonport, where, at the age of 17 (he gave
his age as 24), Edward married his first
wife, 21-year-old Ellen Tapp, in Stoke Damerel in 1853. They remained there until being
posted to Ireland in early 1854. At the start of 1855 it was at
Woolwich prior to being sent to the war in the Crimea.
embarked at Portsmouth on T/T Himalaya as a siege Company on the 2nd
March and landed at Balaclava 28th March. Company mustered in camp
before Sebastopol on 31st March and thereafter monthly till 31st August
and in camp on the Heights of Balaclava on 1st October and thereafter
He served in the
Crimea from 24th March 1855 to 13th of March 1856. He was awarded the
Crimea Medal with the clasp for Sebastopol for his involvement in the
campaign there. He also received the Turkish War Medal that the Sultan
of Turkey awarded to all participants.
The Company returned
home embarking on T/P Imperatriz on 12 February 1856 to arrive at
Woolwich on 13th March, eventually returning to Devonport at the end of
He was promoted to
Bombadier in June 1856 but, on 1 May 1857, when the Army Establishment
was being cut back, he was reduced back to a Gunner & Driver, only to be
promoted back to Bombadier one week later.
On 1st April 1858,
Edward was promoted to Corporal and made Sergeant on 1 August 1860. He
served the remainder of his time in this capacity.
reorganisation of the Royal Artillery the Company became 1 Battery 8th
Brigade and was posted to Aldershot. then briefly in Bristol and Ireland
before being posted to Canada in 1862. There is no evidence of
Edward having served in Canada.
On the 25th June 1863
he re-enlisted, this time in the 9th Division of the Coastal Brigade,
presumably to complete the 21 years service that would qualify him for a
pension. This was an entirely home based unit and Edward remained
stationed at Woolwich until his discharge.
At intervals during
his career he qualified for four Good Conduct awards each meriting
additional pay of a penny a day two of which were taken into his pay as
Three of his children
were born in Woolwich: Annie, Emilia and Edward Jr. His first wife
Eleanor died there in April 1869, shortly after the birth of Edward Jr., and it was here that Edward married his
second wife, Jessie Tapp (the sister of his first wife), in March 1871.
The census shows the family living at 29 Engineer Rd, Woolwich:
|Anne A do
He was nominally
discharged on 1 February 1871 after a medical examination at the Royal
Herbert Hospital in Shooters Hill Road, Woolwich (the Army Hospital) and
received his final medical discharge on 21st February having served a
total of 19 years 67 days. He was found to be suffering from
angina as a result of : ".. military service and vicissitudes of climate
..", for more than two years, ".. aggravated by special circumstances
of overwork and anxiety."
originally extracted from his discharge papers at the
National Archives, Kew,
and the 1871 Census)