PARKER, Alfred Chevallier
(Service number )
|First Rank||Last Rank||Lieutenant-Colonel|
|Date||3 June 1874||Place of Birth||Waimate, Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Address at Enlistment|
|Previous Military Experience||South Canterbury Volunteers; Commission with Royal Sussex Regiment - 1895|
|Marital Status||Married. 2 children|
|Next of Kin|
|Served with||UK Armed Forces||Served in|
|Body on Embarkation|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
|Military Awards||Mentioned in Despatches (x 2); Distinguised Service Order; Order of the Nile, 3rd Class|
Award Circumstances and Date
MiD - for good service in Egypt, August 1916; MiD - for services in the field, December 1917; DSO - Capt. (local Lt.-Col.) [Alfred] C. Parker, Special List (nephew of the late Lord Kitchener, formerly N.Z. Defence Force, South Canterbury, later of the Egyptian Service, and for a number of years Governor of Sinai, January1918; Order of the Nile, 3rd Class - 1918
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
Soldier, Imperial Force (Lieutenant Colonel)
|Date||27 December 1935||Age||61 years|
|Place of Death||West Field, Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England|
|Notices||The Times (of London), 28 December 1935|
|Memorial or Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials||Fairlie, Ayrshire, Scotland, Roll of Honour|
Alfred Chevallier Parker was the third and youngest son of Harry Rainy and Frances Emily Jane (née Kitchener) Parker, and a nephew of Lord Kitchener. He was born on 3 June 1874 at Waihao, Waimate. His father was a farmer in the district. Harry and Frances had married at Weybridge, Surrey, England, in 1869. By 1871 they were in Dunedin, New Zealand, where their first son, Richard Harry Parker, was born. James Herbert followed in 1872 in Dunedin, Their daughter, Frances Mary Parker, was born in 1875 at Waihao, Waimate. In 1881 Harry and Frances, with their children - scholars James, Alfred and Frances, and seven-month old Ellen Annie Beatrice - were living at Temple Rothley, Leicestershire, England. Harry gave his occupation as Magistrate and Farming 263 acres. The family returned to Waihao and in the 1890s moved to Little Roderick (on the Waimate side of the Waitaki River, between Ikawai and Hakataramea). Mrs Parker was a runholder at Hakataramea in her own right. Harry and Frances later retired to Oamaru. Their family, apart from James and Ellen, seemed to have gone abroad.
In 1891 young Alfred was a scholar living with his uncle at Fairlie House, Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland. In the same household was his cousin, Winifred Margaret Parker. In August 1909 Alfred and Winifred married in the parish church of Fairlie, Ayrshire. His sister Frances was one of the attendants. The presents included a cheque from Lord Kitchener. Much had happened in the intervening years, though. A. C. Parker was approved as acting lieutenant of C Battery N.Z.A. by the Defence Department, in August 1893. He turned out for the Waimate Cricket Club in a match against Timaru on a cold day in December 1894, when Waimate suffered an innings defeat, not helped much by Alfred’s being bowled for zero and three. It was in April 1895 that Lieutenant A. C. Parker, of the South Canterbury Volunteers, underwent examination for a commission in the Imperial Army. The following August the news was received from London that Lieutenant A. C. Parker, of the C Battery, N.Z.A., had passed his examination and had been appointed to the Royal Sussex Regiment, having to report soon after to Ireland where the regiment was quartered. His old company (C Battery) arranged to meet and spend a social hour with him before he departed. He left by the Tainui at the beginning of September 1895. The Royal Sussex Regiment had a fine record of active service, and had taken part in the defence of Gibraltar in 1704. As of 1895 the regiment was on alert for the Egyptian war. A. C. Parker was seconded to the Egyptian Army in 1899 and for many years after served the Egyptian Government.
Alfred’s brother James Herbert Parker served in the South African War with the Second New Zealand Contingent, and there he was killed in action on 1 May 1900 at the age of 27. James, who was a sheep farmer at Little Roderick then Hillgrove in North Otago, was a lieutenant in the Hampden Rifles and served as a corporal with the contingent. Just before his death he had been transferred to Kitchener’s Light Horse and gained the rank of lieutenant. A memorial was placed in St Stephen’s Church, Hampden, and he is remembered on the Palmerston (South) memorial.
The London Gazette of 18 April 1905 carried the announcement – “The King has been pleased to give and grant unto the undermentioned Officers and Gentlemen his Majesty’s Royal licence and authority to accept and wear decorations (as stated against their respective names) which have been conferred upon them b his Highness the Khedive of Egypt, authorized by his Imperial Majesty the Sultan of Turkey, in recognition of valuable services rendered to his highness: - . . . .” The names include that of Capt. Alfred Chevallier Parker, Royal Sussex Reg., preceeded by the award – Imperial Ottoman Order of the Medjidieh, Fourth Class.
While Captain Alfred Parker was with the Egyptian service, his father died, on 12 December 1912 at Cairo, while staying with him. Captain Chevallier Parker was appointed political agent for the North Red Sea Patrol at the beginning of 1915. He was most suited to this post since much of his military career thus far had been in the Sudan and he knew the Arabs well. As of March 1915, when he was given the temporary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, Captain Parker was on special service in Egypt, while his wife and two children were staying in England. He had been serving in Egypt, where he was known as Parker Pasha, for some years before joining the Egyptian Civil Service. For ten years he was Governor of the Peninsula of Sinai where, in 1915, the Turks were operating. He had come to know the Sinai very well. He had commanded the garrison in Nakhi and organised an intelligence network amongst the local tribesmen. Then followed work in the Intelligence Department in Cairo. He had built a fine house in European style at Torm, the scene of the early 1915 fighting. In August 1916 Captain (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) Parker of the Intelligence Department was mentioned in despatches from Egypt for good service. His mother had by this time left Oamaru and New Zealand, for the UK. Again in December 1917 he was mentioned in despatches for services in the field, and he was mentioned for special service on several occasions. In 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Communication from London, dated 8th January 1918, announced “Battle Honours” for numerous New Zealanders abroad serving in Imperial Forces. The Military Section included the following entry: D.S.O. - Capt. (local Lt.-Col.) [Alfred] C. Parker, Special List (nephew of the late Lord Kitchener, formerly N.Z. Defence Force, South Canterbury, later of the Egyptian Service, and for a number of years Governor of Sinai. The Edinburgh Gazette of 9 April 1918 published notice (earlier with errors) of the award of the Order of the Nile, 3rd Class, to El Miralai Alfred Chevallier Parker Dey, D.S.O.
In May 1920, Mrs Chevallier Parker, of the Alexandria Hotel, Hyde Park, was seeking a governess from mid-June – “for girl of nine and boy of seven, Scotland during summer; Egypt winter months; not over 30.” Mrs Frances Emily Jane Parker (Alfred’s mother) died on 10 February1925 in London, predeceased by her eldest son Richard Harry Parker, a captain in the Royal Navy, in 1917, her second son, James Herbert Parker, who was killed in action in the South African War in 1900, and her elder daughter, Frances Mary (Fanny) Parker, an activist for women’s suffrage in the UK and during the war a member of the Army Auxiliary Corps, who died in France in 1924. Mrs Parker was a strong advocate for the interests of soldiers’ wives and she addressed open-air meetings and demonstrations on war related issues. She tried to get every public-house in the country closed at 8 o’clock to reduce the temptations to recruits to drink She was also Commander-in-Chief of the Women’s Signaller Territorial Corps, formed to release telegraphists and other men signallers for the front.
Lieutenant-Colonial A. C. Parker resigned from the Egyptian Frontiers’ Administration in late 1925, not long before he visited New Zealand. During an interview in Sydney, he spoke in support of the Egyptians and stated that reports of corruptness and inefficiency were greatly exaggerated. Alfred paid another visit to Dunedin, where his sister Ellen lived, in April 1927.
Alfred Chevallier Parker died at West Field, Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, on 27 December 1935, aged 61. A memorial service was held at Amberley, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 31 December, several military figures being present. The Times (London) recorded the words of some of his friends – ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Parker, D.S.O., was a sterling friend to many, not only in this country but in the deserts of Sinai, where he was affectionately known as “Barkal” among the Beduin. Among his fellow-countrymen he will long be remembered as “Sinai Parker.” Originally in the Sussex Regiment, he was seconded in 1899 to the Egyptian Army, and for many years served the Egyptian Government with unfading loyalty. . . . . His knowledge of Arabic was profound. . . . . His kindly knowledge of human nature won him their [the Beduin] love and affection . . . .’
He was survived by his wife Winifred, and their two children, Anne Winifred and Anthony Babington. The family had been living there for some years.. By 1939 his wife, Winifred Margaret, with her daughter, had moved into London, where she lived until her death in 1959. Alfred left a large estate in England - £34555. His diaries were published in 1983 - “The Diaries of Parker Pasha: War in the Desert 1914-18 told from the secret diaries of Colonel Alfred Chevallier Parker, nephew of Lord Kitchener, Governor of Sinai, and military intelligence chief in the Arab Revolt”. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. All his war service had been in Egypt.
The will of Alfred Chevallier Parker was proved in the High Court of Justice, his widow named as the executor. Extracts were conveyed to the Dunedin Court, presumably because Alfred owned property in New Zealand, and the Trustees Executors were granted Power of Attorney. His estate in New Zealand was considered to be under the value of £1850. He had signed his last will on 15 October 1935. He bequeathed to his wife his motor cars and motor accessories, all the green stock and effects, all plated articles, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints, furniture, jewellery, and articles of household or personal use or ornament, wines, liquor and consumable stores; he also devised to his wife his property “Westfield”, Minchinhampton. He further bequeathed £50 to each of his godsons. He provided for his son, Alfred Antony Babington Parker, the income from trusts and, on his reaching the age of thirty, the capital. Similar provision was made for his daughter, Anne Winifred Robertson Parker.
Captain Alfred Ernest Parker, his brother-in-law and brother to his wife, was killed in action on 7 November 1914 in Belgium. The names of both Alfreds are inscribed on the Fairlie (Ayrshire) Roll of Honour which hangs in the village hall. Alfred Chevallier Parker had lived there as a teen and it was the home town of his wife. His brother Captain Richard Harry Parker died on 20 June 1917 at the Royal Naval Hospital, Yarmouth, and was buried at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. Richard had enrolled in the Royal Navy at the age of just 13. Frances Mary Parker, his sister, died on 19 January 1924 Arcachon, Bordeaux, France. The youngest of the family, Ellen Annie Beatrix Parker, was the only member to be born in England and the only one to die and be buried in New Zealand. She married Adam Cairns in 1909 in New Zealand and lived thereafter in Kurow, Otago.
NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [07 May 2018]; 1881 England & 1891 Scotland census returns (ancestry.com.au) [08 May 2018]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestrycom.au) [07 May 2018]; Timaru Herald, 24 August 1893, 14 December 1894, 5 August 1895, 17 September 1900, Press, 30 April 1895, 30 August 1895, 5 September 1895, 29 January 1913, 29 March 1915, 16 August 1916, 29 May 1918, South Canterbury Times, 4 May 1900, Otago Daily Times, 5 May 1900, 31 December 1925, 14 January 1926, 7 April 1927, Evening Post, 28 September 1909, 29 January 1913, 26 March 1918, 25 March 1925, New Zealand Times, 28 September 1909, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 1 October 1909, 31 January 1913, Woodville Examiner, 19 March 1915, Marlboroough Express, 6 December 1917 (Papers Past) [08, 10 & 12 May 2018]; The Times (of London), 19 April 1905, 5 May 1920, 28 December 1935, 1 & 3 January 1936 (Gale Newspapers collection) [09 May 2018]; Fairlie's Men of the Great War (http://www.fairliesmenofthegreatwar.co.uk/) [7 May 2018]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [09 May 2018]; UK Probate indexes (ancestry.com.au) [09 May 2018]; Medal Card (UK National Archives, per ancestry.com.au)
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC brnach NZSG
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