In October 2015 the Green Howards Museum was contacted by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and
Compassionate Centre (JCCC). Human remains had been found in a field to the north-
east of the village of Martinpuich on the Somme.
The JCCC wanted to know if we could do anything to help identify this unknown soldier.
We looked at events around Martinpuich between 25 and 27 September 1916.
77 men were lost, whilst an additional 319 Officers and Other Ranks
were either wounded, or listed as ‘missing’. The remains could have belonged to any
one of a potential 396 men.
Through a process of elimination using research and archive information, we produced
a shortlist of 12. To get any further, science needed to play its part. The Forensic team
from JCCC collected DNA from the femur of the remains. DNA was taken from the next of
kin of our shortlisted missing soldiers who had agreed to take part in the process.
The remains were positively identified as those of 3183 Private Henry Parker, born 29th
September 1893 in Weavererthorpe, in the Yorkshire Wolds. He was killed in action, aged
22, during the Battle of the Somme on 26 September 1916.
Shoulder badges, uniform buttons, a belt buckle and clip, bullet and cut throet razor
were found with the remains of Private Henry Parker – these are now on display at the museum.
He was reburied with full military honours in Warlencourt Cemetary in France on 17th
The museum is grateful for the generosity of the Parker family who have donated the
items for display here.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Submitted by Pat Burgess. The Graham family were local to Barnard Castle, they lived on The Bank, where father John had a chemist and grocery business. John Austin was born on 2 March 1872. After his time at school from 1886 until 1889, he took a Electrical Engineering apprenticeship. Later he started an electrical business with his brother – Graham Brothers Electrical Engineers in Middlesbrough. He was secretary of the Saltburn R.N.L.I. and a gifted operatic singer. Serving as a territorial captain, Austin Graham was with the 4th battalion when war broke out in August of 1914. He landed with the battalion at Boulogne on April 18th 1915 when the battalion was almost straight away thrown into the 2nd battle of Ypres. On April 24th Captain Graham and his men had their first taste of action in fierce fighting during the Battle of St Julien. On Whit Monday 1915 the battalion were in trenches astride the Menin Road at Hooge and Austin Graham was badly gassed and hospitalised with his injuries. In early 1918 the battalion were back in the Ypres sector and when the German Spring Offensive opened on March 21st they were in a position close to Hancourt. There followed nine days of fighting on the retreat under the enemy onslaught. A brief rest at Bethune followed this and then on April 8th the battalion was moved up to take part in the Battle of the Lys. By now CO of the 4th battalion Major Austin Graham was…
Submitted by Michael Kent. Joseph Hatton was my dad. I only recently learnt about his early life. Dad never spoke about the First World War. He was born 20 February 1896 in Bradford and had three sisters and two brothers. My dad never told me that grandad was a train driver in the 1890’s, or that I had a half brother born in 1915, that he lost his father in 1919 and his wife, when he was in his early twenties. I do not know what happened or where he went from 1922 until 1950 when he was living in London where I was born thirty years later, in 1952. 10724 Private Joseph Hatton was recruited in Yorkshire in August 1914 and served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (3rd West Riding) as a Reserve. After training in England he was sent to the Western Front in 1915. In May of that year he was poisoned by gas. My dad didn’t die, unlike so many around him who suffered this cruel death, but he was evacuated via Boulogne to Manchester Western General Hospital to recover. He was posted again in December 1915. In March 1916 he was then posted to the 9th Battalion and embarked for France again in April. He had a few days leave in Etaples and then returned to the front. He was wounded in July 1916 by a shell explosion killing many men. Dad lost his hand. He was put on a train back to England….
Paul Goad, a resident of Frenchgate and local history enthusiast submitted his research on one of the families from Frenchgate at the time of the Great War. The Fawcett family lived at 55 Frenchgate, Richmond throughout the First World Ward. John Fawcett, who worked in agriculture and construction, lived here with his wife Elizabeth Grace, daughter Elizabeth Alice and two sons, Christopher and Cyril Edgar. John was born in Castle Bolton in Wensleydale, Elizabeth Grace in Thornton Buckinghamshire and all three children hailed from the small parish of Walburn, Downholme a little way up Swaledale from Richmond. At the outbreak of hostilities Christopher was 20 and Cyril 14. As the eldest, Christopher was the first to enlist on 27th November 2015, three months shy of his 22nd birthday. Prior to enlistment he worked as a butcher, a profession he continued after the war. In January 1916 he joined the 4th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. The 4th DLI were a reserve Battalion and were station at Seaham Harbour from 1915 through to the end of the War. Records confirm that Christopher was based at Seaham from 1916 to June 1918 serving in D Company. A copy of a charge sheet shows that Christopher was late returning from leave on June 12th 1916 for which he was forfeited 1 days pay. In October 1917 Cyril enlisted at the age of 18 years and 1 month, giving his trade as a Motor Driver. Despite his Attestation papers suggesting that he was…