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.
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