|Date of Birth||May 18, 1891|
|Place of Birth||Kington, Herefordshire|
|Next of Kin||Carmela Parmeter, wife, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Fireman|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No 2 Tunnelling Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||January 15, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||February 4, 1964|
|Age at Death||72|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Frank Richard (Dick) Parmeter was born on 18 May 1891 in Kington, Herefordshire, England. His father Frank William Parmeter was from Bletchy in the district of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire where his parents, classified as hotel keepers on census documents, operated the Station Hotel and Refreshment Room. His mother Juliet Emma Chapman was from Uppingham, Rutland where her father was a plumber, builder, and painter. Frank and Juliet married in Uppingham during the 3rd quarter of 1888. The couple gave birth to a son John Hume Parmeter during the third quarter of 1889 in Kington, Herefordshire but the baby died during the quarter. The 1891 England census found them in Kington where Frank was listed as a hotel keeper at the Burton House Hotel. Along with Frank and Juliet, six employees were on the census for the hotel including a housekeeper, barmaid, cook, waitress, and housemaid and boots servants. By 1894 the family was in the district of Newport Pagnell where a second son Wallace Augustus was born in June in Bletchy. During the third quarter of 1894, as registered in Newport Pagnell, father Frank died. After his death it appears that the family unit disintegrated. Although the age and place of birth are incorrect, a Juliet Parmeter was found on the 1901 census for St Marylebone, London as lodging at the Annie Wheeler household and working as a barmaid; the children were not with her.
At age 14 Richard was next found on the passenger list of the Ivernia that had embarked from Liverpool and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in mid April of 1906. Coming from the St Edward Orphanage, his final destination was given as Minnedosa, Manitoba, with Arthur Thomas given as his friend/contact. Richard’s brother Wallace arrived in Canada aboard the Victorian in June of 1909, his destination also given as Minnedosa. The boys were to work on the farms in the area. By the 1911 Canada census Richard was working as a ‘wiper in the railway shop’ while lodging with the Linklater family in Minnedosa. Later that year or early in 1912 Richard moved to Kenora, Ontario where he met his bride to be, Carmela Cox. Born in the RM of St Clement, Manitoba Carmela was the daughter of Robert John and Ann (née Fidler) Cox. Carmela and her parents had moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) around 1895 where her father first worked as a teamster and later as an electric lineman. Richard and Carmela married on 30 July 1913 in Kenora. Their first child, a daughter they named Bertha, was born in June of 1914 followed by a son, Frank, in 1915.
Richard signed his attestation papers on 15 January 1915 in Kenora, occupation listed as fireman and next of kin as his wife Carmela. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, CEF was raised in Northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its mobilization headquarters at Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ontario. Recruiting took place during the spring and summer, drawing from Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden, Port Arthur and Fort William. Along with a number of other local fellows, Richard left for Port Arthur in mid June of 1915. He was granted a brief furlough home in early July. In early November the battalion left Port Arthur for New Brunswick on the first leg of the journey overseas. On 23 November 1915, with the 52nd Battalion, Private Frank Richard Parmeter embarked from St John aboard the California. Once in England, the battalion spent 6 weeks of training under British instructors at Witley Camp, and then moved on to Bramshott for 2 more weeks. By late February, Richard was in France.
In early June of 1916 Richard was temporarily attached for duty to the 2nd Canadian Tunnelling Company that had arrived in France that March and by April was in the vicinity of Armagh Wood and St Eloi. Tunnelling companies were engaged in underground work including the digging of subways, cable trenches, saps, chambers, as well as offensive or defensive mining, all very dangerous work. In late December he was granted a leave of absence and upon his return in January of 1917 he transferred and was struck on strength with the 2nd Tunnelling Company on the 27th. In March he was promoted to Lance Corporal followed by a second promotion to 2nd Corporal in late November.
In January of 1918 Richard was granted a two week leave to the UK and while in England he became ill with pleurodynia, a viral disease with myalgia that causes pain in the lower chest as well as fever and headaches. Breathing can be difficult. He was hospitalized in Cambridge where he was to stay for a month and then transferred to the Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park, Epsom to further recuperate. Upon discharge in early August he was granted a ten day sick furlough. By January of 1919 Richard was on his way back home, arriving in Halifax aboard the Olympic on the 17th.
While Richard was overseas their daughter Bertha, not yet three, had died. Once home other children born to the family in addition to Frank were sons Ronald, Wallace, Robert, and George, and daughter Doreen. By 1926 Richard was working for the Department of Lands and Forests, retiring in 1956 as district forest protection supervisor. He joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion in 1930.
Predeceased by Carmela in 1962 who had been ill for quite some time, and following a lengthy illness of his own, Frank Richard (Dick) Parmeter died on 4 February 1964 in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. He was survived by his five sons and daughter and eight grandchildren. Richard and Carmela are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.
Richard’s brother Wallace also served during the war, enlisting in Minnedosa in January of 1915 and going overseas with the 45th Battalion in April of 1916. Once overseas he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Pioneer Battalion which later became the 9th Canadian Railway Troops. After the war Wallace moved to Kenora where he worked as a constable for the Kenora Police Force for a number of years. Survived by his wife and a son, Wallace died in early 1951 in Kenora.
Frank Richard Parmeter is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.
by Judy Stockham
photograph of Dick and Wally: Lake of the Woods Museum Archives
photograph of Carmela, Bertha, and baby Frank: public McMonagle family tree on myheritage.com