I was pleased to bring another Parkes research to a conclusion. This time it was Sydney Ernest, who is buried in Shrapnel Valley, ANZAC. (More pictures below.)
He was a regular soldier and highly regarded:
Quote from TROOPER BLUEGUM AT THE DARDANELLES by Oliver Hogue
Sid Parkes was small and slight, so small that he was almost rejected by the medical examiner. He had to show his South African record, and remind the doctor that giants were not wanted in the Light Horse, but light, active, wiry horse- men. So he just scraped through and went into camp. I remember him at Rosebery Park. Not much over five feet three, only about nine stone, but active and strong. He knew his mounted drill like a book, and he knew how to handle men; so he soon got his three stripes — and stuck to them. The men liked him. The officers appreciated him. We saw several other sergeants made and unmade, but Parkes of B Squadron was a fixture.
Already he had seen four years’ peace service, and eighteen months’ active service in South Africa with the New South Wales Mounted Rifles. So he brought the lessons of his previous experience to bear on his new job. On parade he did his duty well. Off duty he was a humourist, and as care-free as a schoolboy. On the transport he entered into all the fun going. In Egypt he played the game. Somehow, I always thought Parkes would come safely through the war. We joked together the night we first went into the trenches, never anticipating ill. Yet he was the first man of the regiment killed in the trenches. A sniper’s bullet came through a loophole and killed him on the spot.