Ancestor of the month

Charles Parker Schwabe

Charles Parker Schwabe was the son of Kate Parker and Charles August Schwabe. Kate, whose family came from Lichfield, Staffordshire, was daughter of schoolmaster and musician John Thomas Parker. The family lived in Sussex for a while - both Kate's elder and younger sisters were born there. However, Kate herself was born in Walsall. Whatever the circumstances, after Charles and Kate married it was in Sussex that they lived, where Charles was manager of the Albany Hotel, Hastings. Charles Parker Schwabe, their first child, was born a year later.

In 1901, Charles was at school in Tunbridge Wells, and we then lose sight him until the 1st World War. This must have been a difficult period for a family with a name like Schwabe. Charles senior (who was German by birth) died in 1915, but Charles junior served in the British forces and is listed as a Captain on the General List. Toward the end of WW1, he was serving in North Russia where an inconclusive campaign was waged against Bolshevik forces well into 1919. This campaign was largely forgotten by a Britain exhausted by the greater conflict of the Western Front, and embarrassed by the unsuccessful intervention in Russia.

Charles obviously distinguished himself in this campaign. Mentioned in despatches, he was then awarded the Military OBE for his services in a campaign for which no medal was issued.

After the war, Charles lost no time in changing his name. A deed poll of June 1919 records his intention to henceforward use the name Charles Schwabe Parker. His retention of the middle name suggests this might have been a matter of social acceptability rather than a rejection of his origins. His mother Kate had already reverted to the name of Parker by deed poll in 1918.

Charles now returned to his work as a consulting chemist, based in Bolton. We can trace one more detail of his career through an unusual genealogical source - in 1953 he applied for a patent on a process for forming elastic synthetic textiles.

Unusually, what I know of Charles' life is pieced together with hardly a glance toward the usual sources and records; I have not found any records relating to a marriage, birth of any children, or his death. Charles' life was an individual one, recorded in individual ways.