PARKER, Rupert Reginald
(Service number 32890)

First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 30 April 1895 Place of Birth Tapanui, Otago

Enlistment Information

Date 28 July 1916 Age 21 years 2 months
Address at Enlistment Willowbridge
Occupation Farm labourer
Previous Military Experience 2nd South Canterbury Regiment
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs W. TOMLIN (mother), Willowbridge, South Canterbury
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9 inches. Weight 10 stone 5 lbs. Chest measurement 35-38 inches. Complexion medium. Eyes brown. Hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6/9. Hearing & colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth good. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. No fits. No absence from work.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 19th Reinforcements, J Company
Date 15 November 1916
Transport Maunganui or Tahiti
Embarked From Wellington Destination Plymouth or Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 16 June 1919 Reason On termination of his period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

23 May 1918 - admitted to 10th General Hospital in France, suffering with Trench Fever; 29 May admitted to Brockenhust Hospital, England; 10 June transferred to 3rd NZ General Hospital at Codford; 20 June transferred to Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch; 22 July discharged to Codford.

Post-war Occupations

Farmer, policeman, prison warder, grocer, labourer


Date 1 March 1956 Age 60 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Memorial or Cemetery Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch
Memorial Reference Block 37; Plot 20
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Rupert Reginald Parker was born on 30 April 1895 at Tapanui, the fifth son of Frank Stanley Parker and Janet (Jane) Ann Bradbury née Cockerill later Mrs Tomlin. Rupert would have started school at Waimate, where his father commenced duty as the police constable shortly after Rupert’s birth. Frank Stanley Parker, born at Akaroa in 1858, was by 1886 was a constable in Dunedin, where the three oldest children were born. In 1886 he suffered a fracture of the right leg when he was assaulted in the execution of his duty. Constable F. S. Parker was appointed a Clerk of the Magistrate’s and Warden’s Courts and Receiver of Gold Revenue and Mining Registrar at Tapanui in February 1890, and also Clerk of the Licensing Committee. In 1891 he was appointed Inspector Weights and Measures, and in 1892 Inspector of Factories and Workrooms. Such was the role of country policemen. At Tapanui three more children were born, Ormond Leslie Parker dying there in infancy in 1892. In June 1895 Constable Parker took charge at Waimate. It was there, in July 1896, that he received a good conduct and long service medal for fourteen continuous years in the force. And it was at Waimate that the youngest child was born. Frank Stanley Parker, constable in charge of Waimate, was involved in the arrest of a prisoner in 1897. In April 1898 he reported that there had been 12 prosecutions under the Licensing Act and nine convictions in 12 months. He went into the hotels in the discharge of his duty. “Easter Sunday was a busy day with the Catholics, who came into town, and the Waimate Hotel was nearest to the church, and they mostly stayed there.”

Following the sale of the Waimate Estate in January 1900, Mr F. S. Parker was offering at public auction a 40-acre freehold farm alongside the Willowbridge railway siding, with fences, crops and a house. Did he own or lease this property? After six years in charge at Waimate, Constable Parker – “an active and efficient officer, not only as constable but also in the offices of clerk of the court, bailiff, clerk of the Licensing Committee, and old age pension registrar” - retired from the service on account of his illness. He acquired a position as court bailiff in Hawera. On 14 June 1901 the Mayor of Waimate presented him with a purse of 84 sovereigns, as a token of their high esteem, and of his long and valuable service in the town and district in many rôles. The next day he left Waimate, returning in October to take Mrs Parker and the family, son Arnold having joined his father in Hawera in August. Frank Stanley Parker died on 26 September 1902, after a long and painful illness, at Hawera where he is buried. After his father’s death, Horace’s mother returned to Waimate. She married William Tomlin in 1904, and they had a daughter Sylvia Muriel Bell Tomlin, born in 1909, and an infant who died at birth in 1905. William died in 1918 and is buried at Waimate. Rupert attended Waimate and Willowbridge schools, along with his sister Ethel and brother Lawrence, after their mother’s return south. In 1920 Janet (Jane) Tomlin went to Christchurch and died on 18 September 1928 while she was living there with her daughter. She is buried in Bromley Cemetery. Her will was drawn up in 1919, named her five surviving Parker children, but not Sylvia Tomlin.

R. R. Parker, a Territorial who had not attended any parades during the past two years, was fined £5 in the Mataura Magistrate’s Court in September 1916. In November an application for a rehearing was granted in the case of R. R. Parker who had been fined for not attending parades whilst in possession of an exemption certificate. The charge was withdrawn by the defence authorities and it was advised that application be made to Wellington for a refund of the fine. This may well refer to Rupert whose older brother, Stanley Hector Parker, was farming at Mataura. He already belonged to the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment.

Rupert Parker enlisted on 28 July 1916, aged 21 years. He was a farm labourer, single, and of Church of England affiliation. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 10 stone 5 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 35-38 inches. His eyes and hair were brown. His sight was satisfactory, and hearing and colour vision both normal, as were his heart and lungs. His limbs and chest were well formed. He was in good physical and mental health, vaccinated and free of all diseases, and had never been absent from work. Rupert Reginald Parker nominated as his next-of-kin his mother – Mrs W. Tomlin, of Willowbridge, South Canterbury. Mrs Tomlin’s husband was one of the first to contribute to the Patriotic Fund, in August 1914. In October 1916 Private Parker incurred penalties for overstaying leave – forfeiting of 7% of pay and concessions and being confined to barracks for 4 days.

He embarked with the 19th Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force per Troopship No. 68 on 15 November 1916 at Wellington, destined for Plymouth, England. From there he marched into Sling on 30 January 1917, posted as rifleman to G Company. On 28 May 1917, again with the rank of private, he left for France. He spent time in the Reinforcements Camp in September-October and rejoined his battalion, before being detached to the School of Instruction on 2 February 1918. On 17 March he joined the 2nd New Zealand Entrenching Battalion. Private Parker was admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station on 20 May 1918, then admitted to the 10th General Hospital at Rouen, France on 23 May 1918, suffering with severe Trench Fever; on 28 May transferred to England per “Guilford Castle” and admitted to Brockenhust Hospital, England; on 10 June transferred to the 3rd NZ General Hospital at Codford; and on 20 June transferred to the Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch; and on 22 July discharged to Codford. From 22 August he spent almost seven weeks at Sling before proceeding overseas again and transferring to the 1st Otago Infantry Regiment, from the Entrenching Group in England on 22 October.

Private R. R. Parker, of Waimate, embarked at London in April 1919 for the return to New Zealand per the troopship “Carpentaria”. His medical examination at Sling before leaving gave him a clean bill of health. He was discharged on 16 June 1919, on the completion of his term of engagement. All of his service was in the Western European theatre of war, for which he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victor Medal. In 1919 he was a farmer at Willowbridge, maybe with his mother. Sometime thereafter he went to Australia. A notice was published in the Victoria, Australia, Police Gazette of 28 December 1923, to the effect that Rupert Reginald Parker, Special Constable, Drill Hall, Melbourne, reported stolen from the Drill Hall ‘a dark-tan folding leather case, 8 by 4in, containing a Masonic apron; 2 Masonic certificates, inscribed “Rupert R. Parker, Highland Lodge No. 46, New Zealand,” and an orange sash, with purple edging. Value £10.’ The New South Wales Police Gazette of 11 January 1928 featured a very different report.

On 31 October 1927 Rupert Reginald Parker, 32, of Lakemba, and Clarice Edith Freeman, 22, of Punchbowl, were patients at the Sydney Western Suburbs Hospital, suffering from cut throats and bleeding freely. A love affair was believed to be the cause of the affray at Punchbowl. Parker and Freeman had “been keeping company” for the past 18 months, but the night before, after an enjoyable day at Cronulla, they argued over the frequency of his visits. It seems that Parker had asked her to marry him but, after consideration she announced her decision not to do so. When Parker went to her home to take her out, she went into a room, he following, and there with a razor he slashed her before cutting himself. Initially Miss Freeman was said to be improving, while Parker was in a serious condition and unconscious, and in the custody of the police. A few days later, Rupert Reginald Parker appeared in the Burwood Police Court, charged with having wounded Clarice Edith Freeman with intent to commit murder. He was remanded till 17 November, bail being refused. On 17th at Campsie Police Court, he was sent for trial on bail of £250 on a charge of attempted murder. Parker confided to the chief police witness that he had known Miss Freeman for about two years and that they were engaged. Miss Freeman said that they had become engaged in April or May. “Former soldier, policeman, and prison warder, Ronald Reginald Parker, aged 32, who is now a club steward, appeared at the Central Criminal Court to-day on a charge of having maliciously wounded his sweetheart, Clarice Edith Freeman, by cutting her throat with a razor.” [Sun, Sydney, NSW, 2 December 1927]. Parker said that he loved the girl and “would not hurt a hair of her head”, and that his health had not been good on account of insomnia. “I thought a lot of the girl and still think a lot of her,” he added [Truth, Sydney, NSW, 4 December 1927]. Medical evidence was also given, that accused was at times possibly “not right in his mind”, that he sometimes suffered from melancholia, and that periodically he would not know what he was doing. The plea for a not guilty verdict on the ground of temporary insanity was rejected. Rupert Reginald Parker, a grocer’s assistant, was convicted of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Rupert Reginald Parker – a prisoner at Afforestation Camp, Tundcarty, native of New Zealand, born in 1895, grocer, 6 feet 2½ inches in height, dark complexion, brown hair and eyes – was discharged on Licence on 9 August 1928. Rupert married Esther Caroline Mundy in 1930 in New Zealand. Esther had emigrated from her native England in 1920. For some years Rupert and Esther lived at Mataura, perhaps close to his brother and family, then moving to Canterbury. In 1949, however, Rupert was in a labourer at a rail construction camp at Seven Hills, New South Wales. He and Esther were also recorded in the Lyttelton electorate, before moving to Oamaru. By 1954 they were in Christchurch, where Rupert Reginald Parker, a labourer, died on 1 March 1956, aged 60 years. He was buried in Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch. His wife died in 1972. His oldest brother, Horace Lancelet Parker, who also served in the Australian Imperial Force under an assumed name – Charles Holdsworth – was killed in action in 1916 in France. Another brother Arnold Leonard Parker served in World War I, also with the Australian Imperial Force and under an assumed name.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [07 September 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5549 0090143) [23 September 2016]; School Admission record (Waimate Branch NZSG); Australian newspapers - Evening News, Sydney, 31 October 1927, The Argus, Melbourne, 1 November 1927, The Advertiser, Adelaide, 1 November 1927, Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, 1 November 1927, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 1927, 3 December 1927, Chronicle, Adelaide, 5 November 1927, Truth, Sydney, 20 November 1927, 4 December 1927, Sun, 2 December 1927, The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 2 December 1927, The Age, Melbourne, 3 December 1927, Maitland Mercury, NSW, 3 December 1927, 10 December 1927, Singleton Argus, NSW, 6 December 1927 ( [03 November 2013; 24 September 2016; 14 April 2019]; New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes ( [08 February 2014]; Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes ( [24 September 2016]; Evening Star, 29 April 1886, Timaru Herald, 30 July 1896, 30 June 1897, 10 January 1900, 05 & 14 June 1901, 2 October 1902, North Otago Times, 16 April 1898, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 13, 15 & 22 June 1901, 22 October 1901, 30 September 1902, 20 August 1914, Hawera & Normanby Star, 27 September 1902, Oamaru Mail, 13 April 1915, Mataura Ensign, 27 September 1916, 25 November 1916, Southland Times, 28 September 1916, 25 November 1916, Sun, 3 May 1919, Press, 5 May 1919, 19, 20 & 21 September 1928 (Papers Past) [07 & 17 September 2013; 09 February 2014; 24 September 2016; 08 & 14 April 2019]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs); Cemetery records for Bromley, Hawera, Howick, Mataura, Ruru, Tapanui, Waimate, Bromley (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery Records; Christchurch City Council) [16 February 2014; 09 April 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [2013]; Australian Electoral Rolls ( [2013]; Wise’s PO Directory, 1897, 1901; NZ Gazette entries; probate record for Janet Ann Bradbury Tomlin (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [10 April 2019]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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