yeovil at War

Robert Parmiter

Died from dysentery in Burma

 

Robert Parmiter was born in Yeovil in 1893, the son of accountant Thomas Parmiter (1853-1934) and Susanna Mary Carver née Guppy (1953-1934). Robert was the youngest of the Parmiter's five sons; Edward Thomas (1880-1972), Francis (1881-1980), William (1888-1980), Henry (1890-1907) and Robert. In the 1891 census the family lived at 12 Camborne Grove. I couldn't fine the family in the 1901 census, but in the 1911 census 18-year old Robert was a patient at Walton Park (hospital), Walton in Gordano, Somerset. Robert gave his occupation as a shop messenger for the Co-operative Stores. The family later moved to 14 Great Western Terrace.

Robert was a member of the Territorials and consequently was drafted soon after the outbreak of war. He enlisted at Taunton, joining 2/5th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. His Service Number was 2903.

The 2nd/5th was a duplicate of the 5th Battalion, formed at Taunton in September 1914 as part of the 135th Brigade, 45th (2nd Wessex) Division. Initially stationed on Salisbury Plain, then moving to Bath. On 12 December 1914 the battalion deployed to India, where the Division was broken up and the battalion remained in India, being attached to the Burma Division.

In fact life must have been pretty quiet in India and Burma during the Great War - the Regimental History of the Somerset Light Infantry doesn't even mention the 2nd/5th Battalion after about 1916.

Sadly, Robert suffered from severe dysentery while in Burma. He died on 11 June 1915 at Sale Barracks, Rangoon, Burma (today's Myanmar). He was aged just 22.

In its edition of 25 June 1915, the Western Gazette reported "Lance Corporal Robert Parmiter, of the 5th Somerset Light Infantry died on June 11th at Sale Barracks, Rangoon, Burmah, India, from dysentery, he was aged 22, and the fourth son of Mrs T Parmiter, of 14 Great Western Terrace, to whom sympathy is extended. This is the first death reported amongst the Yeovil “Terriers” although two or thee men from the surrounding district have died.

The Western Gazette's edition of 16 July 1915 further reported "Mrs Parmiter, of 14 Great Western Terrace, has received a letter from Captain Ward Jackson. 2/5th Somerset Light Infantry referring to the death of Lance Corporal Parmiter, her son, whose death was reported recently. Lance Corporal Parmiter was in Captain Ward Jackson’s Company and in his letter the officer says:- “He was one of my Company and will greatly be missed by us all. He was much respected by his brother N.C.O.’s and liked by the men, and was a promising N.C.O., always cheerful and anxious to do his duty under any circumstances. Lance Corporal Parmiter was a great credit to you and his country, and died just as much for his country as any other soldier who dies on the battlefield.” Captain Ward Jackson adds that the dead corporal was buried at Maymyo with full military honours. Another letter from Sergeant RS Ostler was also written on behalf of the deceased’s platoon, saying that he was exceedingly popular with all his platoon and by all with whom he came in contact.

Robert Parmiter was interred in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Mingaladon, Myanmar - Grave 27.J.8 and his name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.

 

gallery

 

Staff pose for a group photograph outside the Yeovil & District Co-operative Society's new premises in the Triangle in 1906. Could the lad at right be Robert Parmiter, who worked there as a shop messenger?

 

The British Barracks at Rangoon, Burma.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Robert Parmiter. 

 

Taukkyan War Cemetery, Mingaladon, Myanmar

Taukkyan War Cemetery is the largest of the three war cemeteries in Burma (now Myanmar). It was begun in 1951 for the reception of graves from four battlefield cemeteries at Akyab, Mandalay, Meiktila and Sahmaw which were difficult to access and could not be maintained. The last was an original 'Chindit' cemetery containing many of those who died in the battle for Myitkyina. The graves have been grouped together at Taukkyan to preserve the individuality of these battlefield cemeteries Burials were also transferred from civil and cantonment cemeteries, and from a number of isolated jungle and roadside sites. Because of prolonged post-war unrest, considerable delay occurred before the Army Graves Service were able to complete their work, and in the meantime many such graves had disappeared. However, when the task was resumed, several hundred more graves were retrieved from scattered positions throughout the country and brought together here. The cemetery now contains 6,374 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 867 of them unidentified. In the 1950s, the graves of 52 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War were brought into the cemetery from the following cemeteries where permanent maintenance was not possible: Henzada (1); Meiktila Cantonment (8); Thayetmyo New (5); Thamakan (4); Mandalay Military (12) and Maymyo Cantonment (22).