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Infantry Sergeant
Edward Roland Parker (from Coventry)

The old English infantry, the most tenacious, the most steadfast in the world. It had the most glorious past possible: it was the infantry of Malplaquet, of the Peninsular wars, of Waterloo, the infantry of Marlborough and of Wellington. We have often learnt — to our cost — that it held against all the assaults, against all the charges. It was disciplined and traditional, proudly holding on to the memories of glorious times, marching slowly behind the flags whose colours had always flown above it, to the music to whose tempo it had always marched. All that, the world knew, and that under the storm that hit it, it would play an important part. And in fact, in the rush of the first weeks, all the great British regiments, with heroic names, were ready to be killed without faltering. But who would have thought that after these old faithful troops, would come more and more others, made up of all those free men come to defend liberty? Who would have thought that that new army would be able to adapt so quickly to modern warfare, flexible, responsive to all the demands. The soldiers of Ypres, Messine, Vimy, Cambrai, have shown the enemy that faith in the justice of a cause, in the honour of the nation, was able to sweep away all the prejudices, all the routines and create in a few months an irresistible force.

Postscript
Eugène Burnand's biographer (René Burnand) noted how Sergeant Parker declared his activity back home as a Sunday school superintendant, and used material from 'Les Paraboles' (The Parables), a widely published book that was copiously and beautifully illustrated by Eugène Burnand.

In a letter to the artist on returning home fit and well in March 1919, he used a letterhead RE Parker, Ladies' and Gent's taylor, 206 Gulson Street, Coventry, and signed himself Roland E Parker.

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