Hector Joseph Parks was born in the spring of 1885, the youngest of five children to William Jacob and Mary Ann Parks. William was a ship’s steward who, when Mary died in 1895, remarried, giving Hector a further two half-siblings.
With William employed at sea, Hector spent a lot of time with his paternal grandparents and, in fact, both the 1891 and 1901 censuses recording living in East London with them. That later document shows that Hector had left school, and was working as a carman for a delivery company.
The next available record for Hector comes thirteen years later, when it is evident that he was among the first to volunteer for war service. He enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment and, while full details of his army career are not available, he soon found himself in the thick of things, arriving in France on 14th August 1914.
Private Parks’ battalion – the 4th – was caught up in skirmishes from the outset of war, fighting at Le Cateau, Marne, Aisne and Hooge. Over the next few years, the Middlesex Regiment found itself at The Somme and Ypres and, while it is not possible to place Hector directly in these conflicts, it seems likely that he would have been involved in a lot of them.
In January 1918, Private Parks was back on home soil, having been admitted to the Auxiliary Hospital at Ashcombe House in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Sadly, the cause of his return to England is lost to time, but, he was to succumb, passing away on 20th January 1918, at the age of 32 years old.
Hector Joseph Parks was laid to rest in Somerset – he is buried in the Milton Road Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare.