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Robert William Parmenter

Local History

Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard

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Lance Corporal Robert William Parmenter

Parmenter Family & Robert William Parmenter

15448, 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment. 


Robert Parmenter was born in Great Cornard on 3rd February 1891.  He was the eldest son of David and Rosena (née Carter) Parmenter and the family lived at The Queen’s Arms, Broom Street, where his father was following in the family business as a brewer at the same premises that his father had built.  Robert’s father was a man of ‘pleasing disposition, well known and highly respected by a large circle of friends.’  He served on various public bodies in Great Cornard including on the Parish Council and as a manager of the village school, today known as The Old School on the corner of Wells Hall Road and Head Lane.


Robert had 2 brothers and 8 sisters.  His youngest brother died at the age 6 from diphtheria.  His brother ‘Ted’ survived serving at the Front but came home suffering from shell shock and was never able to speak again.  The rest of his life was spent in Severalls Hospital in Colchester until he died in 1972.


Robert enlisted, serving with the Suffolk Regiment.  He served in the same battalion as David Chaplin.  Robert is recorded as having first served in a ‘theatre of war’ in France on 23rd February 1915.  The battalion saw action in the Second Battle of Yprés, (22nd  April – 25th May 1915), where it was involved in a major engagement on 24th April.   By the 28th April the battalion had lost almost 400 men.  The battalion also experienced poisonous gas used against them for the first time.


On 16th February 1916 a report in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press listed Robert (Corporal) as wounded and having been taken prisoner. 


Robert died of his injuries aged 25 at 3.15am on 2nd December 1916 at a prisoner of war hospital in Friedrechsfeld Wesel, Germany. A letter from a fellow prisoner of war Sgt. Major P Cullinan to his parents said that ‘he died from consumption and paralysis.  He had been ailing for some time but without suffering.’ It is believed Robert’s lung condition was caused by poisonous gas during an enemy attack. 


The Memorial Service held at St. Andrew’s Church was reported in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press on 17th January 1917 where Robert was described as ‘a member of the church choir and an efficient scoutmaster for sometime, truthful and domesticated and careful of his home duties and liked by those around him.’  An earlier report mentioned ‘the kindly feeling his comrades in prison had for him.’


Robert lies buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany. 


He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.


Photo courtesy of Mr. Steed

©Shirley Smith - Sudbury & District Royal British Legion - November 2008