On this day in 1917, Francis James Parker (1896-1917) was killed in action in France in the Great War.
James – as he was known – was 20 when he died on April 24, 1917.
A private in the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, he was involved in an attack on – and capture of – Fifteen Ravine near the village of Villers-Plouich, about six miles south west of Cambrai, when he lost his life.
The war diary for 17th battalion shows that officers and men came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire just after 6am in the attack when they were held up by ‘uncut’ razor wire.
Within an hour, amid fierce fighting and bombing, they captured the key German trench in Fifteen Ravine – in the shadow of the Hindenburg Line – and took 40 German prisoners.
The 17th suffered 90 casualties with one officer and 27 men killed.
James, who enlisted at Leighton, Montgomeryshire, was buried at Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers-Plouich.
James’ brother, William Parker (1883-1976), married Mary Arscott (1882-1960) in 1909 in Merthyr Tydfil. Mary was the daughter of Charles Arscott (1858-1926) and Emma Courtney Turner (1854-1899). Charles was the son of Samuel Arscott (1814-) and Mary Ann Courtney (1815-). Samuel was the brother of John Arscott (1807-1879), my great-great grandfather.
Born in 1896 in Aston-on-Clun, Shropshire, James lived at Craven Arms, Shropshire before he went to war.
Fifteen Ravine Cemetery where James was buried. Photo taken on April 6, 2018 by René Hourdry (CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Villers-Plouich20.jpg