12/2815 Private John Wilmot Parkin – New Zealand Machinegun Corp

John Wilmot Parkin was born on 2nd June 1891[i] in the Bakewell District, Derbyshire, England the son of Wilmot and Florence Jane Parkin.  John was one of 12 children and the family immigrated to New Zealand in 1913.  Wilmot and the family settled in the Whangarei area where Wilmot worked for the Whangarei Acclimatisation Association[ii].

John, prior to the declaration of war, found employment as a medical attendant at Porirua Hospital[iii] but when he
entered military camp on 15th April 915 he had moved back to the family at Whangarei.

12/2915 Private John Wilmot Parkin entered camp as a member of the 6th Reinforcements,
Auckland Infantry. The 6th Reinforcements left New Zealand on 13th August 1915 for Egypt.
Training in Egypt was short as on 29th September 1915 he joined the 1st Battalion, Auckland
Infantry on Gallipoli. Private Parkin remained on the Peninsular until the final evacuation
returning to Alexandria, Egypt on the 29th December 1915[iv].

Private John Wilmot Prkin 6th Reinforcements 1915 

The New Zealand Expeditionary Force underwent a period of retraining and reinforcements
prior to service in France. Private Parkin was transferred to 2nd New Zealand Machinegun
Corp on 1st March 1916. On 6th April Private Parkin with the 2nd NZ Machinegun Corp was shipped to France.

In France the New Zealand Division was moved to a ‘quiet’ sector to train for the Western Front conditions. There was
a build up to the NZ Division’s commitment to the Battle of the Somme. On the 15th September 1916 the first NZ troops went ‘over the top.’ The 2nd NZMGC was in support of the 2nd Brigade as it looked  to take the Switch trench, near Flers.  On the first day of the battle Private Parkin was wounded, possibly when a German barrage hit the reserve areas and machinegun sections.

2nd NZMGC section in France 

On 15th  August 1916 Privyae Parkin was admitted to the 36th Casualty Clearing Station he was assessed and sent to  the rear and was admitted
to the No 8 General Hospital on 19th August 1916. Assessed and
stabilized he was loaded on the New Zealand Hospital Ship Maheno
on 23rd August 1916 and shipped to England arriving at the
No1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst on 24th August 1916.
Private Parkin’s military files indicate it was a severe wound, left knee.

Private Parkin remained at Brockenhurst until 26th October 1916 when he was transferred to the NZ Convalescent Hospital. Hornchurch. It was not until 2nd March 1917 that Private Parkin was considered fit enough to return to service
at the’ Hostel ‘ London. Private Parkin returned to Hornchurch on 24th July 1917 ‘on command.’ It is probable that
Private Parkin was engage in cooking at the Hospital on 17th October 1917 he was sent to the School of Cookery.
Bethnal Green and when the course was completed to the NZMGC Depot at Grantham, 29th November 1917.

Private Parkin was appointed as cook on 30th January 1918, the wound to his knee sufficient to prevent him from
active service. It was during his service as a cook at Grantham Depot that he meet and Helen Peacock who he married
on 11st August 1918.

On 28th October 1918 Private Parking was transferred to the Torquay Depot where he was medically examined and declared medically unfit. The medical records are not clear but he had issues with his feet.

On 24th December 1918 Private Parkin was repatriated to New Zealand on the the transport Briton. There is a note indicating that his wife Helen was also on board.

On arrival in New Zealand Private Parkin was given another medical examination where he was provided with two
pairs of special boots for his two issues, granted leave and finally discharge from the army on 26th February 1919
‘ as no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received.’

John and Helen returned to Whangarei where John ran a tannery and was a stock buyer. John  was appointed as a
Ranger for the Whangarei Acclimatisation Association.

The couple had at least two children[v] and Private Parkin serviced in the Home Guard at the start of WWII being
supplied a special pair of boots so he could march.

John Wilmot Parkin died in Whangarei on 2nd March 1956

With the Machine Gunners in France and Palestine 1915 – 1919: NZETC
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

Private John Wilmot Parkin - 6th Reinforcements 
2nd NZMGC group – private collection
2nd Auckland in Switch Trench – National Library

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 12/2815 Private John Wilmot Parkin
[ii] Obituary Wilmot Parkin, 25th June 1936, New Zealand Herald
[iii] Casualty Lists, 17th October 1916, Auckland Star
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 12/2815 Private John Wilmot Parkin
[v] Archives Archives New Zealand Military Files: WWII 1/2/458 
2nd Auckland in Switch Trench September 1916