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Royal Engineers
Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis, 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Robert Parkin was born in the town of Crook in County Durham in 1889. Robert was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James William Parkin of 7 Croft Avenue in Crook.

After the start of the Great War of 1914-1918, Parkin enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Darlington in County Durham. He was posted to the 88th Field Company, Royal Engineers as a Driver, Regimental Number 80268. The 88th Field Company was one of the Royal Engineer units assigned to the 13th Division, one of the first New Army Divisions to see combat during the war.

The 88th Field Company was formed at Tidworth in August of 1914 under the command of Major L.C.A. de B. Doucet, R.E. The company proceeded to Aldershot in February of 1915. As part of the 13th Division, Driver Parkin and the 88th Field Company landed at Gallipoli in July of 1915.

While at Gallipoli, Parkin saw action in the landing at Sulva and the subsequent battles at Sari Bair and Sulva between the 6th and 10th of August 1915. He also took part in the action at Scimitar Hill on the 21st of August 1915. During the month of August 1915, the command of the 88th Field Company passed to Captain E.U. Grimshaw, R.E.

On the 23rd of August 1915, following the battle at Scimitar Hill, the 88th Field Company was sent to North Beach to construct piers in shallow water for the evacuation of wounded. On the 30th of September, Parkin and his company were transferred from Anzac to Sulva. From this date, until the date of its evacuation from Gallipoli, the 88th Field Company worked on a multitude of tasks including water supply, construction of huts for winter quarters, improving beach landing areas, protection for piers and other general engineer works. This work was continued until January of 1916 when the company was evacuated from Gallipoli and proceeded to Egypt.

Following a short rest in Egypt, the 13th Division was sent to Mesopotamia. It was there that Driver Parkin and the 88th Field Company took part in the actions along the River Tigris from the 6th of January to the 22nd of April 1916. In the following year he saw action in the Battle of Kut from the 9th of January to the 24th of February 1917. He also participated in the Battle of Baghdad from the 25th of February to the 10th of March 1917.

According to Soldiers Died in the Great War, Robert Parkin died of unknown causes in Mesopotamia on Thursday, the 31st of October 1918. At the time of his death he was a Lance Corporal. The location of Parkin’s grave is unknown; however, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission his death is commemorated on Face B of the Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial in India.

For his service during the Great War, Parkin was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The British War Medal, named to Parkin when he was a Driver, is the subject of this research report.


1. Royal Engineer Honours and Awards. The Royal Engineer Journal, Chatham, Kent, 1925-1932.

2. History of the Corps of Royal Engineers. The Institution of Royal Engineers, Chatham, Kent, 1952.

3. Hayward, J.B. Soldiers Died in the Great War. Part 4, The Royal Engineers. J.B. Hayward & Son, Polstead, Suffolk, 1989.

4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site, July 1999.