James Alfred Parker was commissioned into the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment as a Second Lieutenant on 8th May, 1914.
He sailed with the Battalion to Egypt in September 1914 and served with them there throughout their training and preparation for action. He was promoted to Lieutenant, along with several other junior officers, on November 4, 1914 while serving in Egypt. He landed with the 1/9th in Gallipoli on May 9, 1915 as a Platoon Commander in “B” Company.
He is not mentioned in the Battalion or Brigade war diaries but anecdotal evidence from letters published in the Ashton Reporter indicate that Lieutenant Parker was involved in the bayonet charge of June 18th and temporarily assumed command of B Company upon the wounding, and subsequent death, of Captain Harold Sugden.
Regimental records report that he was invalided to Alexandria suffering from Enteric Fever on July 6, 1915. He spent the next six months in hospital and recovering before rejoining the Battalion in Egypt on January 21, 1916. Just 4-days later he was charged with Disobeying an Order from his Company Commander and detained pending a Field General Court Marshal. The Court Martial convened on February 14, 1916 in Shallufa where he was found guilty and sentenced to 12 weeks hard labour and then to be cashiered. His custodial sentence was commuted to 56 days served and he left Egypt for the UK on March 22, 1916 where, upon arrival, he was cashiered from the Army.
The Battalion evacuated the Gallipoli peninsula on December 28, 1915 and arrived in Alexandria on January 18, 1916 where they entrained for Cairo and then moved to Mena Camp, 10 miles from the centre of Cairo. The 1/9th Battalion war diary states that the Battalion received orders to move to Tel-El-Kabir, 110 km north-east of Cairo, on January 24th, the day before Lt. Parker’s “incident”. Perhaps Lt. Parker was struggling to come to terms with his return to military life in a combat zone, after his experiences in Gallipoli followed by his long absence recovering from his bout of enteric fever, and upon being ordered to move from the safety and security of camp in Cairo decided that he could no longer continue. Whatever the case, it was a sad and ignominious end to his otherwise fine Army service.
WO90/6 Judge Advocate General’s Office: General Courts Martial Registers Abroad provides the following additional details:
Lt. J. A. Parker 1/9th Bn The Manchester Regt (TF)
Trial Date: 14th Feb 1916.
Where Held: Shallufa
Nature of Charge: Disobeying CC
Sentence: Cashiered & 84 days Hard Labour
Remitted: 56 days
The London Gazette of the 5th April, 1916 has the following entry:
Manchester Reg’t. Lieut. James A. Parker is cashiered by sentence of a General Court-Martial. 29th Feb, 1916.