George Hoskins Irton Parker

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Commander (retired) George Hoskins Irton Parker, D.S.O. (15 September, 1881 – 23 October, 1929) was an officer in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Born in Gosford, Cumberland, the son of Charles A. Parker, M.D., Parker gained four months' time on passing out of Britannia in July 1897. He joined Repulse in the Channel Squadron for a year and then Hood in the Mediterranean for a little over a year, at which point his father reported he was suffering from diphtheria. It took just two weeks to beat this infection. Parker was then placed in Minerva and then Mars. He left her on 15 July, 1901 to attend the Royal Naval College.[1]

Parker was invalided from Indefatigable with asthma on 29 April, 1903. He returned by packet steamer and was found fit 24 July.

Parker was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 30 September, 1903 while receiving instruction in navigation. On 25 November, he completed his studies and received a six month appointment to Empress of India to assist her navigating officer. He took his new skills to the torpedo gunboat Jason as navigating officer, where he received positive evaluations from Captain John Hercules Robertson as a very good navigator, pilot and executive officer. This appointment was abbreviated when Parker was found to be suffering from symptoms of strychnine poisoning on 5 July at Chatham Hospital. While he was still convalescing, in November 1904 he was injured in a shooting accident. One must wonder what was going on here![2]

On 27 April, 1905, Parker declared himself fit, but on 9 June the Admiralty directed that he be sent to Plymouth Hospital to have his fitness to serve afloat determined. One week was needed for them to declare him fit for service afloat. He was given an appointment in Blenheim. In April, 1906, he was sent to Triton to work for two years in surveying.[3]

On 27 March 1909, Parker was discharged from a new appointment in a ship whose name cannot be read to half pay, suffering from insomnia.

Parker was appointed in command of T.B. 25 on 18 August 1911 and then promoted to Lieutenant-Commander on 30 September, 1911.[4]

In March 1912, T.B. 25 collided with T.B. 29. The fallout of this misfortune is not contained in Parker's service record, but the reader is enjoined to examine "NL 3548". Parker was appointed in command of the Acorn Class destroyer Nereide on 10 April, 1912.[5]

In February, 1913, Nereide suffered damage on a passage from Invergordon to Leith that was found to be through a lack of judgment, etc. on the part of Parker, incurring the displeasure of the Admiralty. Worse, he grounded her on 21 June. In November 1913, he failed to call on the captain of the French Template:FR-Ibis when she paid a visit to Leith. This "act of discourtesy" elicited Their Lordships' "severe displeasure."[6]

In November 1913, Captain (D), Second Destroyer Flotilla Reginald Tyrwhitt graded Parker's general conduct as being very good, but called him "dilitory[sic]" and was "not recd for further service in [illeg]". But in March 1914, Captain Farie, who had superseded Tyrwhitt in December 1913 recommended Parker and declared that he was, in fact, a good destroyer officer.

In May 1915, Captain (D), Fourth Destroyer Flotilla Wintour called Parker a "good seaman" and "very shrewd & tactful."

On 10 August 1916, Parker was admitted to Shotley Hospital with a "chronic Segund[?] on neck[?]" He was found fit on 7 September. On 13 October, 1916, Parker was admitted to the hospital ship Garth Castle with acute gastritis. A series of hospitalisations were required before he was found fit on 28 February, 1917. Parker was then appointed in command of the second class protected cruiser Iphigenia.[7]

In January 1918, Captain (D), Sixth Destroyer Flotilla Tomkinson noted that Parker suffered from "drink disease", but that he was capable of self restraint if his failing were known. He was not recommended for special advancement. Parker was appointed in command of the monitor M.27 on 1 February, 1918, but another evaluation at the end of the month said that he was slow, lacking in zeal and ambition. He was subjected to quarterly reports on his performance, to monitor his drinking. Parker did well enough *ndash; he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre and was brought to notice by Vice-Admiral, Dover for operations off the Belgian coast.[8]

Post-War

Parker's valuable services in command of M.27 continued in operations against Bolshevik forces in 1919, being mentioned in despatches and "highly recommended for promotion" by the Senior Naval Officer, White Sea. His monitor, however, had to be abandoned when the Dvina River's level ran low enough that navigation back to sea became impossible. Parker did not get the promotion quickly, but he was awarded a D.S.O., gazetted 12 December, 1919. His final evaluation, from Captain Edward Altham, reads, "Exceptionally fine offr. Good Seaman & Leader of men. Displayed cool courage & enterprise during operations." The evaluation closes with a final observation that must have been satisfying to Parker's sense of professionalism: "Strict teetotaller."[9]

Parker was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 24 June, 1920 and was promoted to the rank of Commander on the Retired List on the occasion of his fortieth birthday on 15 September, 1921.[10]

Parker died at age 48 of a combination of heart of lung ailments.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Robert A. Wilson
Captain of H.M.S. Thorn
18 Jan, 1910[11][12] – 24 Aug, 1911[13]
Succeeded by
Francis E. H. G. Hobart
Preceded by
Sydney L. K. Lawford
Captain of H.M. T.B. 2
24 Jan, 1910[14][15] – 18 Aug, 1911[16]
Succeeded by
Myles A. Blomfield
Preceded by
Frederick A. Warner
Captain of H.M. T.B. 25
18 Aug, 1911[17] – 10 Apr, 1912[18]
Succeeded by
Charles L. Fox
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. Nereide
10 Apr, 1912[19][20] – 10 Apr, 1914[21]
Succeeded by
James F. Dewar
Preceded by
Eric Q. Carter
Captain of H.M.S. Nessus
19 Sep, 1916[22][23] – 29 Nov, 1916[24]
Succeeded by
Robert L. Burnett
Preceded by
Kenneth A. F. Guy
Captain of H.M.S. Iphigenia
Mar, 1917[25] – 1 Jan, 1918[26]
Succeeded by
Edward W. Billyard-Leake
Preceded by
Michael Barne
Captain of H.M.S. M.27
1 Feb, 1918[27][28] – 16 Sep, 1919[29]
Succeeded by
Vessel Lost

Footnotes

  1. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  2. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  3. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  4. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  5. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  6. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  7. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  8. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  9. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  10. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  11. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  12. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 400.
  13. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  14. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  15. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 400.
  16. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  17. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  18. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  19. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  20. The Navy List. (April, 1914). p. 349.
  21. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  22. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  23. The Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 396f.
  24. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  25. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 394s.
  26. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  27. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/180. f. 181.
  28. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 838.
  29. Hepper. British Warship Losses in the Ironclad Era: 1860-1919. p. 152.