Hopetoun farmhand 'Lofty' remembered | Anzac Day

HOPETOUN farmhand Lawrence Parks was one of many Wimmera men killed in the First World War.

Norm Miller is Mr Parks’ first cousin twice removed.

“Basically I’ve been doing family history for 25 years,’’ he said.

“There is a tremendous amount of stuff on the internet. The First World War records are marvellous.” 

Mr Miller said Mr Parks, standing at 183 centimetres, was a giant for the era.

“For those days he was very tall and his nickname was Lofty – in the early 1900s he would have been a ruckman.”

After enlisting in August 1914, Mr Parks landed at Gallipoli the next year and was wounded.

Mr Miller said he survived Australia’s most famous campaign of the war – where more than 8000 Australian soldiers perished – and went on fighting until 1918.

“Lawrie fought at Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines and Passchendaele but he didn’t make it to the time when his battalion was out of the line of fire when the war ended,” he said. 

On July 1, 1918 at Sailly le Sec, a piece of shrapnel slammed into his upper thigh and abdomen.

He died in London later that year with a Red Cross worker holding his hand.

“The most pathetic part of it was when he died his relatives didn’t know for weeks,” Mr Miller said.

“They didn’t know that he was suffering because they just sent a telegram saying he was injured.”

Mr Parks’ body lies in a grave in Brookwood Military Cemetery in Pirbright, England.

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