Charles Michael Parkinson (died 14th January 1919)
“Charlie” Parkinson was one-time Sgt. Major of the Volunteers, having been one of the original members of the Corps., before that he had been in charge of one section called the Sandsiders and later he became Cadet Captain.
His death, like many that winter, was very sudden and was brought about by the influenza pandemic which hit the Island, and the rest of the world from January 1918 to December 1920. Also known as Spanish flu it was responsible for the infection of 500 million people and the deaths of 50 to 100 million people (3 to 5% of the world’s population).
A report entitled “Mortality Record” in the Isle of Man Times for Saturday 25th January 1919 gives an insight into this terrible time in history:
The mortality returns for last week were heavy, reaching at one period seven deaths in thirty-six hours. On Sunday there were no less than six interments in the Borough Cemetery, among them being two sisters, aged 22 and 17 years, who had fallen victims to the plague. Miss Christian K. Gelling, who lived at 16, Allen Street., died on Wednesday, and her sister, Miss Ruby Gelling, a few hours later, while other inmates of the house are also ill.
Among the victims on Sunday was Mrs Gell, widow of the late Robt. Gell, builder, of Douglas, and sister of Councillor Quirk. She died on Sunday morning, just before the funeral of her son-in-law, Mr Charles Parkinson.
On Saturday, the four-year-old child of Mr Jas. Kinley, Hatfield Grove, Douglas, a Naval Reserve man, who was home on leave, died from influenza. On the following day his wife died, while Kinley himself, while being removed to the hospital in the ambulance on Tuesday, died before he reached that institution. Three young children are as a consequence left orphans. Mr Kinley's eldest son is serving in the army in France.
There were four deaths in Douglas on Monday due to influenza, and since the epidemic commenced over thirty deaths were recorded up to last Saturday. This is a very large percentage in an Island where the average death rate is about 14 per 1,000 of the population. The returns for the current week are not yet made up, but we are given to understand that no improvement is expected.”
On the day of Mr Parkinson’s funeral the weather was bad but there was a very good attendance. His body was conveyed at 2pm from his residence in Stanley Terrace on an A.S.C. wagon to St Thomas’s Church where Rev. R B Jolly officiated. The Town Band were present as were a large number of Volunteers and boy cadets.
The burial took place at Douglas Borough Cemetery and the firing party at the graveside was provided by the Sandsiders.
The headstone has beautifully gold highlighted Knox motifs which have inevitable worn over the past 99 years.
Unfortunately, and I believe very recently, an adjacent grave stone has fallen and badly damaged the front surround of the grave plot.
Fortunately the grave has been repaired and regilded by T E Cubbon Ltd. Monumetal Masons with the input of The Archibald Knox Forum and the cost being met by descendants of Mr Parkinson.
The first 2 photographs show the renovated grave as it is now
The next 6 photographs below show the deterioration over the past 40 to 50 years.
The main erosion has been on the gold lettering and the Celtic motifs near the base of the headstone.
The elongated Celtic wheel cross is the same as on the John Collister grave but on the Parkinson grave it is picked out in gold and looks as though a wreath is around the wheel. There are also gold Celtic motifs near the bottom of the cross.
The last 2 other photographs below show the damage caused by the falling of an adjacent headstone.