Private William Parke


William Parke (or Park) was born on 1 August 1897 at Monaghan, Kirkinriola, Ballymena, County Antrim, the second of seven children of agricultural labourer John Park and his wife Sarah (née Craig). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at nearby Ballywatermoy with his parents and siblings.

Parke enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 29 and 31 August 1916 (No.2256). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Parke, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Parke was issued regimental number 41459 and posted to C Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Parke was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, arriving back in the UK on 22 November.


William's brother Daniel Parke also served in the war, in the North Irish Horse.