PARKER, Horace Lancelot 
(Service number 2986)

Aliases Enlisted in Australia as Charles HOLDSWORTH
First Rank Private Last Rank Lance Corporal


Date 8 July 1885 Place of Birth Waimate or Dunedin

Enlistment Information

Date 16 August 1915 Age 30 years 1 month
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Miner?
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Ethel KEARTON (sister), Studholme Junction, Canterbury, NZ
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9 inches. Weight 11 stone 2 lbs. Chest measurement 37-39 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes hazel. Hair dark brown. No distinctive marks. Does not present any of the following - scrofula; phthisis; syphilis; impaired constitution; defective intelligence; defects of vision, voice, or hearing; hernia; haemorrhoids; varicose veins, beyond a limited extent; marked varicocele with unusually pendent testicle; inveterate cutaneous disease; chronic ulcers; traces of corporal punishment, or evidence of having been marked with the letters D. or B.C.; contracted or deformed chest; abnormal curvature of spine; or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier. Can see the required distance with either eye; his heart and lungs are healthy; he has the free use of his joints and limbs; and he declares he is not subject to fits of any description. Fit for active service.

Military Service

Served with Australian Imperial Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 9th Reinforcement
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 3rd Battalion
Date 30 September 1915
Transport Argyyllshire
Embarked From Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With 3rd Battalion, AIF

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; 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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 26 July 1916 Age 31 years
Place of Death In the field, France
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Villers-Brettonneux Memorial; Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch - memorial on mother's headstone
Memorial Reference Block 40, Plot 167
New Zealand Memorials Waimate War Memorial (as PARKER H. L.) 

Biographical Notes

Horace Lancelot Parker was born on 8 July 1885 at Opoho, Dunedin, the eldest son of Frank Stanley Parker and Janet (Jane) Ann Bradbury née Cockerill later Mrs Tomlin. Horace and his siblings (four surviving brothers and one sister) were surely educated at Waimate, where their father was the police constable in the 1890s. Horace may well have represented the Waimate District High School in a football match against the Timaru High School boys on 11 August 1900. 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’ 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. Arnold had 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. The three youngest Parker children attended Waimate, Willowbridge and Hannaton schools 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, after Horace’s death and named her five surviving Parker children but not Sylvia Tomlin.

From late 1901 Horace Lancelot Parker was employed in the Bank of New South Wales in Hawera. But just before his father’s death he found himself in trouble. Seventeen year old Horace was charged with having, on 25 August 1902, “received certain valuable securities, namely, cheques for £2 14s 6d, £1, and £2, promissory note for £38 7s 10d £1 notes, 4 £5 notes, and 6 £10 notes, and with fraudulently converting the same to his own use.” The moneys were in transit to the Bank of New South Wales. He was twice remanded on bail. Having shown a constable where some of the notes were concealed, Parker gave an explanation as to how the cheques and notes came into his possession. He claimed that he had destroyed some, and that he had not spent any of the money himself. In connection with this charge, a younger brother, Stanley Hector Parker was charged with having stolen a sum of money from Horace. He had taken it from Horace’s pocket. No criminal intention was attributed to Stanley, who appeared not to realise what he was doing and had not spent any of the money. He was remanded for a probation report. One of those who had sent money to the bank, a postmaster and storekeeper, had shown “wicked carelessness” in not registering the letter as required. Parker was committed to trial on a charge of stealing moneys and securities sent by a bank client. To the Grand Jury in the new Plymouth Supreme Court, the judge commented on the youth of the accused, the oldest of six, and on the scandalous negligence of the informant in sending a large sum of money through the post without registration. H. L. Parker pleaded guilty to theft and was admitted to probation for 12 months. A clergyman of the Hawera Church of England stated that Parker “bore a good character up to the present charge”. The bank accountant also stated that his conduct up to the offence was good. The judge believed the package had been damaged and some money extracted before it came into Parker’s hands. The Hawera constable noted that the prisoner had given him all the information he could to recover the stolen money. A Hawera solicitor explained that Parker could get employment elsewhere in Hawera if he was admitted to probation.

Horace Lancelot Parker attested – as Charles Holdsworth – at Warwick Farm Depot, New South Wales, Australia, on 9 August 1915, aged 30 years 1 month. At the medical examination conducted on 16 August 1915 he came through with flying colours. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 11 stone 2 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 37-39 inches. Of dark complexion, he had hazel eyes and dark brown hair. His sight was good; his heart and lungs healthy; and he had free use of his joints and limbs. He was free of all diseases and defects which may have rendered him unfit for the duties of a soldier. Charles (Horace) gave no address on enlistment. He nominated as his next-of-kin, his only sister, Mrs Ethel Kearton of Studholme Junction, later Willowbridge. Ethel had married Ralph Thompson Kearton in 1915. Just before her marriage, Willowbridge residents expressed their appreciation of the services over a long period of Mrs Tomlin and Miss Parker as postmistress and telephonist. Horace Lancelot Parker (alias Charles Holdsworth) embarked on 30 September 1915 at Sydney, New South Wales per the “Argyllshire”. Private Charles Holdsworth, Australian Imperial Force, deserted from the 11th Reinforcements Reserve Company at Liverpool on 10 October 1915. He was to be apprehended and conveyed to the Provost Marshal, Military Camp, Liverpool. (There appears to be a discrepancy between details and dates.) He had been issued with a jacket and breeches. Only on 30 January 1919 was the warrant withdrawn.

On 21 January 1916 at Tel-el-Kebir he was taken on Strength. On 22 March following he embarked at Alexandria for the British Expeditionary Force and disembarked six days later at Marseilles. In France he was posted to ‘On Command’ from the 3rd Battalion on 3July 1916 and he rejoined his unit from ‘On Command’ on 11 July. As of 18 July Private Holdsworth was appointed lance-corporal. Only eight days elapsed until he was killed in action – on 26 July 1916, just 18 days after celebrating his 31st birthday. Killed in the field at Pozieres, Somme, France, he was remembered on the Villers-Brettonneux Memorial, Somme, France. This memorial is dedicated to soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force who were killed on the Western Front between 1916 and the end of the war and have no known grave. Horace is remembered, too, on the Waimate War Memorial (Parker H.L.), where the names appear below the inscription “Their Name Liveth For Evermore”. The name Horace Lancelot Parker (also known as Charles Holdsworth) is recorded on an Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour card. His name is also inscribed on his mother’s memorial stone in the Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch. His death was also registered in New Zealand. Two New South Wales newspapers recorded that Lance Corporal C. Holdsworth of New Zealand had been killed in action. From August 1916 Horace L. Parker was recorded as having made the supreme sacrifice in the Waimate Daily Advertiser’s regular Roll of Honour. The Otago Witness of 6 September 1916 noted the death in action on 26 July of Private Horace Lancelot Parker, of Studholme Junction, a member of the Australian Forces, and printed a photo. Horace’s mother, sister and brothers inserted an In Memoriam notice in the Waimate Daily Advertiser on 26 July 1918 – “He did his duty.”

The records of 2986 C. Holdsworth were amended to read – “Stated to be PARKER Horace Lancelot” - on 15 July 1920. A Statutory Declaration had been received from Mrs Jane Ann Bradbury Tomlin, of Willowbridge, South Canterbury, New Zealand, which showed that she was the mother and next-of-kin of No. 2986 Lance-Corporal Charles HOLDSWORTH, 3rd Battalion, and that he enlisted under an assumed name – his correct name being PARKER Horace Lancelot. On 15 February 1920, Mrs Ethel. I. Kearton of Willowbridge, S.C., N.Z., had communicated with the Secretary, Department of Defence, Melbourne, with the information required for fallen Soldier No. 2986 Lance Corp Holdsworth grave. She stated that her brother had taken the assumed name because he was rejected one day at a Sydney Recruiting Office as being unfit; that he was passed a few days later at another office and went away as Holdsworth Chas. His relatives wished for his right name to be inscribed on the grave stone, and thanked the authorities in anticipation. A Statutory declaration dated 6 November 1920 was sent to the authorities by Captain Herbert Edward McGowan, Willowbridge, South Canterbury, New Zealand, re No. 2986 L/Cpl H. L. Parker alias C. Holdsworth.

On 28 August 1916 Mrs M. Goodwin of “Apsley”, Martin Street, Crows Nest, North Sydne, wrote to the Minister of Defence, in connection with the name of Lance Corporal C Holdsworth N. Zealand (killed in action), as reported in No. 199 list of New South Wales casualties. Did this refer to Private Chas Holdsworth No. 2986 3rd Battalion D Company, who enlisted in N.S.W. from New Zealand, she asked. The casualty list was printed in at least two New South Wales newspapers at the time. Detailed circumstances were not immediately to hand. In a second letter some ten days later she said that she was mot anxious to know. Did she get an answer? And what was M. Goodwin’s connection?

Horace’s personal effects were sent to his next-of-kin, his sister Ethel Kearton – mirror in case (broken), 3 military books, 1 case, greeting cards, muffler, 2 balaclavas, handkerchief – in June 1917. On 20 September 1920 J. A. B. Tomlin acknowledged receipt of the 1914/1915 Star – “one of the mementos of the gallant service rendered by your son the late No. 2986 Lance Corporal C. Holdsworth (stated to be H. L. Parker), 3rd Battalion, with the Australian Imperial Force”; and on 12 February 1922 J. Tomlin acknowledged receipt of the British War Medal awarded to the late No. 2986 Lance/Corporal C. Holdsworth (stated to be H. L. Parker), 3rd Battalion, the medal having been sent on 20 October 1921 to Mrs J. A. B. Tomlin at Willowbridge. On 23 February 1923 his mother, J. A. B. Tomlin acknowledged receipt of the Victory Medal for No. 2986 L/Cpl C. Holdsworth, 3rd Btn. J. A. B. Tomlin acknowledged receipt of the Memorial Scroll and King’s Message on 12 January 1922. The pamphlet “Where the Australians Rest” was sent to Mrs J. A. B. Tomlinon 26 October 1921, and the Memorial Plaque was also sent.

A letter dated 3 March 1921, enquiring about gratuity, was sent by Horace’s next-of-kin. His brother Rupert Reginald Parker also served in World War I, and another brother Arnold Leonard Parker served in the Australian Imperial Forces under an assumed name - Leslie Arnold Watson, which name he retained for life.


Australian Imperial Force Attestation Papers (National Archives of Australia) [16 November 2013]; CWGC [17 July 2016]; Otago Daily Times, 13 July 1885, Otago Witness, 18 July 1885, 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, 11 August 1900, 13, 15 & 22 June 1901, 22 October 1901, 30 September 1902, 25 August 1916, 17 January 1918, 26 July 1918, Hawera & Normanby Star, 05, 12, 17, 18 & 27 September 1902, 1 October 1902, Star, 18 September 1902, Poverty Bay Herald, 18 September 1902, Taranaki Herald, 1 October 1902, Oamaru Mail, 13 April 1915, Otago Witness, 6 September 1916 [x 2], Press, 19, 20 & 21 September 1928 (Papers Past) [07 & 17 September 2013; 09 February 2014; 08 April 2019]; Barrier Miner, NSW, 27 August 1916, The Land, NSW, 1 September 1916 ( [10 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) [16 February 2014; 09 April 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls (; Wise’s PO Directory, 1897, 1901; NZ Gazette entries; NZ Police Gazette, 1902; probate record for Janet Ann Bradbury Tomlin (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [10 April 2019]; Wikipedia [12 April 2019]

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Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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