|Date of Birth||June 1, 1870|
|Place of Birth||Lambeth, London|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. George James Parker (wife), 428 4th Street North, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Printer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||18th Reserve Battalion|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||428 4th Street North, Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||March 24, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||45|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 4, 1941|
|Age at Death||70|
|Buried At||St. James Anglican Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Private George James Parker was 45 years old, married and a father of four when he enlisted in March 1916. He served in Canada and Great Britain for two years.
George was the son of James Parker and Orpah Fawkes of Lambeth, London, England. James was a bootmaker who was born in London and his wife Orpah was from Gloucestershire. They were married in 1861 and they had at least eight children, all born in Lambeth: Lydia Eliza Mary (1862), James William (1864, died as an infant), Henry Peter (1866), Walter Frederick (1868), George James (1 June 1870), William Charles (1873), James Ernest (1876) and Edith Orpah (1880).
When the 1891 census was taken George was living at home and working as a printer’s labourer. He was married at St. Thomas’ Church in Lambeth two years later, on 22 May 1893. His wife, Mary Ruth Hulford, was born in Lambeth in 1869, the daughter of Henry Hulford and Mary Ann Burgess. George and Mary Ruth’s first two children were born in London: George James Henry in 1894 and Ruth Helena in 1895. By the time the 1901 census was taken they had moved to Kingston-on-Hull in Yorkshire and George was a newspaper printer. A son, Harry Ernest, was born there in 1902.
In 1907 George and his wife and children immigrated to Canada, arriving in Montreal on 17 August on the SS Corsican. They settled in the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Their youngest child, John William, was born in Kenora in 1910. The war started four years later and George and his oldest son both enlisted. George was still living in Kenora at the time but he signed up in Winnipeg on 24 March 1916, joining the 203rd Battalion. He said he was 44 years old, his occupation was printer and next of kin was his wife in Kenora. His battalion trained at Camp Hughes in Manitoba during the summer and headed overseas in the fall. They sailed from Halifax on the SS Grampian on 26 October and arrived in Liverpool about nine days later.
George was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion on 12 January 1917. On 4 February 1918 he was put on command to the 1st Canadian Discharge Depot with a note that he was a bandsman. He returned to Canada in March 1918, sailing from Liverpool on the SS Grampian. On 20 March he was taken on strength at the No. 10 Casualty Unit in Winnipeg and he was discharged from service on 6 April, due to being overage and medically unfit for further war service. His son George James Henry Parker enlisted in January 1915 and served overseas for more than three years. He was married in England in 1918 but sadly returned to Canada as a widower in January 1919. Ruth Helena married Alexander Sturrock Fearn in 1915 and Alexander also served overseas during the war.
By 1919 George and his family had moved to St. James (now part of Winnipeg) and he worked for the Winnipeg Free Press for several years. His son-in-law Alexander Fearn was a baker and around 1925 George and Alexander opened a bakery in St. James called Fearn and Parker Bakers, later known as Fearn’s Bakery. On the evening of 3 May 1941 George was struck by a streetcar as he was crossing Portage Avenue. He died from his injuries the following afternoon at the Misericordia Hospital. His wife Mary Ruth passed away at the Grace Hospitbal on 10 June 1943, at age 73. They are both buried in St. James Cemetery. Their daughter Ruth (1895-1984) and her husband Alexander Fearn (1890-1953) are also buried there.
George and Mary Ruth’s son George Jr. moved back to England in December 1919 and died there in 1973. Harry Ernest became a United Church minister and served as chaplain for the Royal Winnipeg Rifles during the Second World War. He died in British Columbia in 1985. The youngest son, John William, lived in Winnipeg and served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He passed away in Winnipeg in 1993.
By Becky Johnson
Family photo courtesy of Love public family tree on Ancestry.ca.