Walter Norman Parnaby (1886-1973)

WW1 Chaplain

Walter Parnaby served as a Chaplain from 1916-19, having joined up in 1914 as a private soldier in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), with the 2nd East Anglian Field Ambulance.

Walter was born in Castleford, Yorkshire, the son of John William Parnaby, a grocer’s assistant and Primitive Methodist local preacher, and his wife Frances.  Walter’s call to preach came while he went with his father on his preaching appointments. He worked first as a furniture salesman, and was then accepted to train as a minister at Hartley College, Manchester.

He was ordained and served one year in the Colchester circuit, but felt the call to service overseas. In 1914 he entered Livingstone College in preparation for the mission field, but when war broke out his plans were changed.

Like most of the students in ministerial training at Hartley College, he felt challenged to join his contemporaries at the Front, and joined the East Anglian Field Regiment as a stretcher bearer.

He saw service in France, Egypt and Salonika, and after the war, in 1919, he came to Aldershot, where he worked with another chaplain, T B Heward of the Aldershot Command. He left Aldershot in 1924 and continued as a much loved circuit minister until his death at the age of 87.


Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1923, p879

Serving in France, PMMS 75th Report, 1918

Obituary in PM Minutes of Conference, 1973, p151

M A Collier and R M Sherwood, Primitive Aldershot, Stoke-on-Trent, 2010, p198-199


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