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Biography of Samuel Parkes VC
Baptised St Editha’s Church, Tamworth, December 24th 1815. His mother Mrs Lydia Parkes and his father Mr Thomas Parkes.
Enlisted in the 4th Kings Hussars (also known as the 4th Light Dragoons) July 28th 1831.
He was private Samuel Parkes No 635. At one time promoted to GCP but reduced to the rank of private November 1848 and remained a private for the rest of his service which totaled 26 years and four months.
In 1839 took part in the Afghanistan campaign and awarded the Ghuznee Medal for his part in the storming
of the Fortress of Ghuznee.
Awarded the VC by Queen Victoria at Hyde Park 26th June 1857. Deed listed in the citation.
Discharged from the Army 1st December 1857.
Married Anne Jeffry 13th February 1858 at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London.
Became Warden at Hampton Court Palace. Then Constable for the Hyde Park Constabulary. Finally becoming Police Inspector of the Hyde Park Constabulary.
Died 15th November 1864.

When Parkes was finally disarmed after his gallant action, he was taken prisoner by the Russians and remained a prisoner for precisely a year. On release he was initially Court-Martialled but it was found that No. 635 Private Samuel Parkes of the 4th Light Dragoons was not taken prisoner by the Enemy through wilful neglect of duty on his part and that he returned as soon as regularly exchanged. It was therefore recommended that the said prisoner No. 635 Samuel Parkes of the 4th Light Dragoons receive the whole of the arrears of pay that may be due to him. A number of survivors of the charge at Balaklava gave statements as to Parkes’ conduct on that Day. These reports ultimately led to the greatest honour that can be bestowed on a member of the British Armed Forces.

The award of, “The Victoria Cross”. Following his return to the Regiment, Parkes was presented with the newly fashioned Crimean medal, with bars for Alma, Sebastopol and Balaklava and the general service medal awarded to all those present in the Crimea by the Turkish government. He also had four good conduct medals, this In addition to his Ghuznee medal for his part in the Storming of the Ghuznee Fortress makes Parkes a very highly decorated soldier indeed. He was discharged from the army in 1857 first took up residence in lodgings at Marble Arch, London.

It was from that place he set out to receive his Victoria Cross. Samuel Parkes then obtained a warrant to serve in the Hampton Court place as a warden. Residence was then taken in a cottage at Stanhope Gate, Hyde Park. This warrant was cancelled on the 7th January 1858 and replaced with another warrant to become a member of the Hyde Parke Constabulary. He was finally appointed Inspector of that force.

The second warrant was returned on the 2nd December 1864 - simply saying, “Man Dead”. By this time he was laid to rest in an unmarked, paupers grave at the Brampton Cemetery, South West London with but one person present at the burial service.

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