Frederick Parker was born in 1891, the 3rd son and 6th child of John, an agricultural worker, and Emma (formally Mitchell), living at Lute House, Winkleigh. The 1911 census describes him working as a horseman at Eascott Farm, Dowland. The Parker family at that time was probably the largest in the village; no less than 17 children were born to John and Emma. The Parker family tree is on this site, as is a photograph of the whole family taken about 1912. No family in Winkleigh contributed more to the war effort than the Parkers of Lute House. Five sons served in the army, 4 returning safely, while Sidney (whose name is preserved on the Memorial Cross and whose story is written on the site) was killed at Passchendaele on 26th October 1917 leaving a young wife and baby daughter.
Together with the records of three of the brothers (Henry, Samuel and Sidney, all of whom served with the Devons) Frederick’s military documents were destroyed with so many others in the London blitz. Only those relating to Eli survived, to enable us to trace his army career, which was spent in India serving in the Royal Field Artillery as a driver. The Brigade was the basic tactical unit of the field artillery of the British army in the Great War of 1914-1918. It was composed of a Brigade Headquarters and a number of batteries of guns or howitzers. At full establishment, a brigade of 18-lbr field guns consisted of 795 men. A battery included normally 70 drivers for the teams of horses, and it is very likely that Frederick chose to serve in the Royal Field Artillery because of his normal farm work as an experienced horseman.
Thanks to the family photos in the 'Western Times' December 1st 1916, we know that Fred was serving in France at that time. We cannot however trace his medal card without knowing his service number. There were many with the name of Fred Parker serving in the Royal Artillery.