VAD Hannah Louisa Parker


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Hannah Louisa Parker
Nursing Member, War Hospital

Early life
Hannah was born on 3rd February 1889 to Thomas and Martha Parker nee Humphrey, who had married in 1883. They had seven children in total, though I have not yet established details of two who died in infancy.

In 1891 the family lived at Back Leeming, Oxenhope and Thomas was a bookkeeper. Two year old Hannah had older siblings Thomas Percival (7) and Mary Jane (3) and younger brother George Humphrey (four months). By 1901 they lived at Holmfield in Oxenhope and had another daughter, Helena, who was 5.

Parker children between 1891 and 1901. Hannah Louisa is on the right side

By 1911 Thomas had changed his occupation, now a worsted mill manager. His son Thomas was a worsted foreman overlooker, perhaps they worked together. Hannah's occupation is listed as a dressmaker.

War service
VAD records show that Hannah worked as a nurse at the war hospital from January 1917 until March 1919.

On 21st March of that year 'Louisa Hannah' Parker, a nurse, was on the passenger list of the SS Bohemian arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The address of her nearest relative (father, Thomas Parker) is Holmfield, Oxenhope. She was travelling with her fiancée, Earl Roderick Brown, to live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I have not found their marriage record, though on the 1920 US census, Hannah Louisa Brown is living with her sister and brother-in-law in Grand Rapids, and she has an infant daughter, Kathryn. Earl, a welder, is at a different address but with several men - presumably a 'live in' job where wives and babies weren't allowed.

Earl's details are a little mixed - he appears to have been born in Michigan to an American father and Canadian mother. He joined the British army and was with the 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment - on his service record he gave his address as Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, but joined in Colwyn Bay. He suffered a gunshot wound and compound fracture and was sent to a war hospital... in Keighley. It seems a reasonable assumption that this is how Hannah and Earl met as the Keighley War Hospital Register confirms he was a patient at Morton Banks Hospital between 10th September 1917 and 8th October 1918, so he was there for over a year which suggests his wound was quite serious and this is confirmed in his service record which states it was a gunshot wound to his left leg with a compound fracture and he was awarded a disability pension.

The Keighley War Hospital register entry for Sgt. Earl Roderick Parker

Later life
Hannah sailed back to England via Quebec, arriving 1st August 1926 with three children – Kathryn I (7), Thomas W (5) and John F (4), Earl followed in October of that year. Earl and Hannah are on the 1939 Register at Holmfield with Hannah’s mother Martha, now widowed, and two other hidden names. I have managed to establish that their son Thomas Earl William Brown joined the RAF and fought in Burma, China, and India, and was an aircrew member at the Battle of Britain and in North Africa. He was awarded the Star for Participation in the Battle of Britain, the Kings Commendation for Brave Conduct, and numerous other medals for his service. He then joined the US Army Air Corp in 1943 and was discharged in 1945. He served 28 years with the Wisconsin Air National Guard, and would eventually become a tennis umpire, refereeing at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Hannah died on 3rd April 1957 and was interred at Oxenhope Cemetery. There is a U.S., Reports of Deaths of American Citizens, indicating that she must have become a citizen during her years there. Earl must have returned to the USA sometime after, as he died in 1984 and was interred at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, Texas.

Source information:
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index,1837-1915
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
Keighley War Hospital Register - held at Keighley Library
1939 England and Wales Register
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 (parents)
UK, British Army World War One Service Records,1914-1920
Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963
1920 US Federal Census
UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947
Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records,1867-1952 (son)
U.S., Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974
findagrave.com (husband)
Thomas Brown Obituary - Brevard, North Carolina | Moody-Connolly Funeral Home & Crematory (frontrunnerpro.com)

2 Responses

  1. I may be related my grandfather was a Parker from oxenhope
    • Carole Hodge
      Hi Andrea, thank you for contacting us. Please could you tell me who your grandfather was? I will look into it for you. Regards, Carole

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