Alfred Ernest PARKER

Regiment:                Royal Highlanders (Black Watch), 3rd Btn,
                                attached Seaforth Highlanders, 2nd Btn  

Rank & Number:      Captain  

13 December 1880; Aigburth, Childwall,

                        07 November 1914; Belgium (killed in action)  

Buried at Strand Military Cemetery, Belgium
                                Brother-in-law of Alfred Chevallier Parker and
                                Robert G.I. Chichester

was born 13 December 1880 in Aigburth, Childwall, Lancashire to parents Alfred Traill Parker and Harriet Wilhelmina Tinne.  He was killed in action near Ploegsteert, Belgium on 07 Nov 1914, aged 34, and is buried at Strand Military Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium; the  inscription requested by the family reads "Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out".  He is commemorated on Fairlie War Memorial and in the Church of St. Anne, Aigburth, Liverpool, whose founders included his grandfathers Charles Stewart Parker and John Tinne.  

On 24 June 1909 at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, he married Joan Isobel Margaret Bowes Lyon, cousin of the future Queen Mother.  

In the 1891 Census, Alfred, aged 10, is at Fairlie House, Fairlie with parents Alfred T Parker (53, India Merchant and Shipowner, b. England) and Harriet W (47, b. England), siblings Evelyn S (21), Alwyn (13), Winifred M (12) and Alice E (8), and his cousin Alfred C Parker (Alfred Chevallier Parker who is also named on the Roll of Honour).    

On leaving Eton in 1899, Alfred joined the Black Watch and served through the Boer War, receiving the Queen’s medal with three clasps and the King’s medal with two clasps.  In 1906 he was transferred to the 10th Hussars, from which he retired with the rank of Captain in 1911.   

Called up when war broke out, he entered theatre of war in Belgium on 29 Oct 1914.  On 07 Nov 1914 he was severely wounded leading his company against the German trenches, but the fighting was fierce and his men were unable to recover him.  Initially he was reported killed in action, but this was amended to wounded and missing, and from November 1914 until early January 1915 enquiries were made as to his fate.  On 11 Jan 1915, the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade replied, “Captain Parker’s body was found with his identity disc inside the Eastern edge of Ploegsteert Wood.  It was buried by our men”.  However, the rumours that he was still alive became so widespread that in Nov 1915 his brother made enquiries via the Swedish Ambassador in Berlin to ascertain if he was a prisoner, and his widow asked the family to issue a public denial.  He is buried at Strand Military Cemetery.

Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-  

28 November 1914     
Captain A.E. Parker, the Black Watch, who on Friday was officially reported killed in action on November 8, is now officially reported wounded and missing.  

19 December 1914     
Captain A.E. Parker, the Black Watch, is reported wounded and missing.  Captain Parker has South African experience.  He was on retired pay, and was posted to the 3rd Battalion.  

16 January 1915        

News has been received of the death of Captain A.E. Parker, 3rd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, who was previously reported wounded and missing on November 7.  

23 January 1915        
In The Fighting Line; Captain Parker, Black Watch:  Captain Alfred Ernest Parker, Black Watch, who was reported missing and wounded on December 17 was, it is now ascertained, killed in action on November 7 near Ploegstiert.  He was born on December 30, 1880.  He was the youngest son of the late Alfred Traill Parker, of Fairlie, Ayrshire, and of Beechwood, Liverpool, by his marriage with Harriet Wilhelmina, daughter of John Abraham Tinne, of Aigburth, Lancashire.  Captain Parker was a nephew of the late Right Hon. Charles Stuart Parker, of Fairlie, M.P. for Perthshire from 1868 to 1871, and for Perth City from 1878 to 1892.  Captain Parker, who resided at Ragsden, Farnham Royal, entered the Black Watch in 1901, and served in the South African war (decorated).   
He became Captain in 1909, and retired in 1911, when he joined the Reserve of Officers for the Black Watch, rejoining his regiment when the war broke out.  He was the grandnephew of that eminent judge, the late Vice-Chancellor Sir James Parker, who was born in Glasgow in 1801, and his family were long connected with Glasgow.   
Captain Parker married in 1909 Jean Issobel Margaret, eldest daughter of the late Hon. Ernest Bowes-Lyon (third son of the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) by his marriage with Issobel Hester, daughter of the late Harvey Drummond of Iping, Kent, cousin of the Earl of Perth.  Mrs Parker’s only brother, like her husband, is in the Black Watch, in which regiment her cousin Lord Glamis, the Hon. John Bowes-Lyon, and the Hon. Fergus Bowes-Lyon are also serving, while her cousin, the Hon. Michael Bowes-Lyon, Lord Strathmore’s fourth son, is with the Royal Scots.  Captain Parker’s death is now reported officially.    

Extracts from other newspapers:-

Manchester Courier, 25 June 1909

Court And Society: At Holy Trinity, Brompton, yesterday afternoon, Mr. A.E. Parker, of the 10th Royal Hussars, youngest son of the late Mr. A.T. Parker and Mrs Parker, of Beechwood, Aigburth, and Fairlie, Ayrshire, was married to Miss Joan Isobel Margaret Bowes-Lyon, eldest daughter of the late Hon. Ernest Bowes-Lyon, of His Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, and of the Hon. Mrs Bowes-Lyon, of 22, Ovington-square.  The Rev. Wilfrid Cleaver officiated, assisted by the Rev. A.W. Gough.  The bride, who was led up the aisle by her uncle, the Earl of Strathmore, and given away by her mother, wore a princess gown of very soft ivory satin, arranged with a veiling of old silver lace.  There were eight bridesmaids, and Captain the Hon. C.B.O. Mitford, of the 10th Royal Hussars, was best man.    
A reception was afterwards held at 19, Hans-place, lent for the occasion by the Dowager Countess of Strathmore, and among the large number of invited guests were the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, the Dowager Countess of Strathmore, Lady Goschen, Lord and Lady Ampthill, Lady Colville, Lady G. Campbell, Lady Egerton, Lady M. Littleton, Lady Munro, Lady Acland Hood, the Ladies Maude and Anne Lyon, and Sir Claude C.C. de Crespigny.  Later in the day the bridegroom and bride left for Paris, where they will attend the Grand Prix, and afterwards proceed to Brittany for the remainder of their honeymoon.  

Perthshire Advertiser, 2 December 1914

Perth Captain Missing: Captain A.E. Parker, the Black Watch (missing), was on retired pay, and was called up when war broke out.  He was attached to the 3rd Battalion, which has its headquarters at Perth.  

Evening Telegraph, 14 December 1914
Former Perth M.P.’s Nephew Wounded:  Captain A.E. Parker, of the Black Watch, who is reported to be wounded and missing, is a nephew of the late Right Hon. C.S. Parker, for about twenty years M.P. for the county and latterly for the city of Perth.  Mr Parker ceased to be Perth’s M.P. in 1892, when he was defeated by Mr William Whitelaw in a three-cornered contest.    Captain Parker, who was on the retired list, is 34 years of age.  He received his commission in the Black Watch in 1901, not long after leaving Eton, and was promoted captain in 1909.  He was attached to the 3d Battalion of the regiment, having retired from active service in May, 1911.  Captain Parker went through the South African War, and received the Queen’s Medal with three clasps and the King’s Medal with two clasps.  It was the desire of Captain Parker’s uncle that he should join the famous regiment.  The captain’s friends earnestly hope for information regarding his fate.   Daily Record, 14 November 1915   Officer Killed; Captain Alfred Ernest Parker, Black Watch:  Captain Alfred Ernest Parker, 3rd Battalion Black Watch, of Ragsden, Farnham Royal, who was reported missing at the end of November, and wounded and missing on December 11, is now stated to have been killed near Ploegstert on November 7, aged 34 years.   
The youngest son of the late Mr. Alfred Traill Parker, of Beechwood, Aigburth, Liverpool, and Fairlie, he got his first commission in 1901, and his captaincy in 1909.  He retired in 1911, and subsequently joined the reserve of officers of the Black Watch.  He served in the South African War at the actions at Rhenoster River, Wittebergen, and Witport, receiving the Queen’s medal with three clasps, and the King’s medal, with two clasps.

Images © Johan Moors

Back to list of soldiers names


Fairlie Community Association SCIO
Scottish Charity No. SC028785