George Bertie Parker

At the end of 2014, one of the Thame Remembers wooden crosses was laid on George Parker’s grave in New Zealand. So what do we know about George?

– Born in Cowley, Oxford 8 November 1866.

– Only son of George Parker (1833 – 1900), who for many years was Clerk of the University Schools at Oxford, and Sarah Ann Parker (nee Broadhurst) (1844 – 1934). In the 1871 Census they are living on the Iffley Road in Oxford.

– Educated first at New College School, Oxford, and later as a boarder at Lord Williams’s. In the 1881 Census he is recorded as a Boarder, aged 14.

– He matriculated as a Commoner (BA Queen’s College) in 1885 but did not take his degree.

– He obtained his athletic Blue in 1887, representing Oxford University in the Broad Jump.

– September 1888 attested Royal Regiment of Horse Guards (became the Royal Horse Guards in 1892)

Then, according to the extract from ‘Liber Vitae Reginensium’ provided by Michael Riordan, Archivist at Queen’s College, Oxford:

– He left university to enter the service of the British South Africa Company, became the Postmaster of Fort Tuli, and was selected to lay the telegraph from there to Fort Victoria.

– Later he joined the Geldenhuis Gold Mining Company, and after the war with Lobengula he was sent by Mr Cecil Rhodes to Buluwayo to organise the Matabele Police. In 1896, he was a Sergeant in the South African Constabulary.

– During the South African War he served as a Sergeant in Lord Loch’s South African Scouts.

– April 1909 – sailed from London (so had clearly returned to the UK) on SS Ionic, registered as a retired soldier, arriving at Lyttleton, NZ, in November 1909, by which time he described himself as a wool buyer.

– Worked as a wool buyer in New Zealand.

– September 1915 enlisted in the New Zealand Army Supply Corps, giving his date of birth as 8 November 1871 (so lying about his age). His wartime service was spent in New Zealand.

– He died of cancer at the Victoria Military Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand, on 5 April 1917 and is buried at Karori Cemetery.

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