Richard Parker PINSENT (1893–1915)
© Marlborough College
See also David Hume Pinsent, Richard’s older brother, killed in 1918
Richard Parker Pinsent was born at Harborne, Staffordshire in 1894, the second son of Hume Chancellor Pinsent (born in Devonport in 1857) and Ellen Frances Parker (born in Claxby, Lincolnshire in 1866). His parents were married in the Hambledon registration district in the third quarter of 1888 and had three children:
- David Hume Pinsent (born at Edgbaston, Warwickshire on 24 May 1891)
- Richard Parker Pinsent (born in Harborne, Staffordshire on 21 March 1894)
- Hester Agnes Pinsent (born in Harborne, Staffordshire in 1899, registered fourth quarter).
At the time of the 1901 census the family was living at 16 Lordswood Road, Harborne, Staffordshire, and the family of five had the same number of servants (a cook, nurse, under nurse, parlourmaid, and housemaid). Richard was then seven years old, and his father was working as a solicitor. By 1905 they had moved to Bennetts Hill, Birmingham.
Richard went to boarding school: first to St Andrew’s School at Eastbourne, and then to Marlborough College in September 1908, joining his brother in Boarding House C2 (where the Housemaster was T. C. G. Sandford).
From Balliol College War Memorial Book
(2 vols), 1924, p. 144. Book is online here
The family was away from home at the time of the 1911 census: Richard’s mother was staying with her daughter in Eastbourne at the home of her stepsister, Miss Mary Murray Parker (63), while his father and brother David cannot be found. Richard (17) spent census night at Marlborough College.
Richard left school in March 1913 and in October that year went up to Balliol College, Oxford, where he was awarded the Williams Science Exhibition; but he only completed one year there, as he enlisted as soon as the war started.
Around the beginning of 1915 the Pinsent family had moved to Glenfield on Foxcombe Hill.
From 1901 to 1908 Richard’s mother was the only woman member of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feebleminded, and from 1901 to 1913 she was chairman of the Birmingham Special Schools Sub-Committee. Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue
In the First World War Richard Parker Pinsent joined a training camp in early August 1914 and obtained his commission the next month. He served as a Second Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and went to France in July 1915.
The Balliol College War Memorial book states: “When the war called him to the Army, though he was happy in it, he looked forward ardently to returning to Oxford to complete his time”; but he never came back, as he was killed in action at Richebourg St Vaast at the age of 22 on 9 October 1915.
He is buried in the Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue (Grave III. A. 3).
Left: Photograph of Richard Parker Pinsent’s grave in France. The text reads:
[Emblem of the
Royal Warwickshire Regiment]
ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGT.
9TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 22
GREAT HEARTS ARE GLAD
WHEN IT IS TIME TO GIVE
This is one of the 40% of war graves that bears a personal message at the end (for which the family had to pay 3½d per letter).
The photograph of the Le Touret Cemetery (above) and of Richard Pinsent’s grave (left) were kindly supplied by the British War Graves project
Richard Pinsent is remembered on the war memorial at St Leonard’s Church in Sunningwell. It is likely that he is listed on Marlborough College memorial, and his name on the Balliol College memorial (with his date of death given as 8 rather than 9 October) is shown below:
A brass plaque in Wootton Church reads:
IN MEMORY OF
RICHARD PARKER PINSENT
2ND LIEUT. ROYAL WARWICKHIRE REGT
WHO WAS KILLED IN THE TRENCHES IN FRANCE
ON 9TH OCTOBER 1915
AGED 21 [should be 22].
ERECTED BY THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF HIS COMPANY (C)
His friend, Lieutenant Sandford Ward, of the same regiment is remembered on a brass plaque immediately underneath, and beneath that is another brass plaque to his brother David.
Administration was granted to his father on 11 December 1915, and his effects came to £190 5s. 11d.
Richard Parker Pinsent’s father endowed an annual Chemistry Prize at Marlborough College in his memory (as well as a Mathematics Prize in memory of Richard’s brother).
The address of Richard’s parents is given as 8 Chelsea Court in London just after the First World War, but they appear to have kept a house on Foxcombe Hill too.
The address of David’s parents is given as 8 Chelsea Court in London just after the First World War, but they appear to have kept a house on Boars Hill too for a while.
Richard Parker Pinsent’s parents
- Hume Chancellor Pinsent died at the age of 62 on 20 January 1920 and is buried in Wootton churchyard. He was still living at Foxcombe Hill at the time of his death.
- Ellen Frances Pinsent (Dame Ellen Pinsent from 1937) was a mental health worker, and the Dame Ellen Pinsent Special Primary School in Birmingham is named after her. She also wrote four novels. She is not listed under Sunningwell in Kelly’s Directory from 1922, but she came back by 1930 to live at Rough Lea on Boars Hill, and she was still there when she died at the age of 83 on 10 October 1949. She was buried in Wootton churchyard with her husband.
- Hester Agnes Pinsent married Edgar Douglas Adrian on 14 June 1923. He later won a Nobel Prize and was President of the Royal Society, while Hester was a mental health worker and was created a DBE in 1965. She died on 20 May 1966. They had three children: Anne Pinsent Adrian, who married the physiologist Richard Darwin Keynes, and then twins: Richard Hume Adrian, 2nd Baron Adrian (1927–1995), and Jennet Adrian (born 1927), who married Peter Watson Campbell.
- CWGC: Pinsent, Richard Parker
- Wikipedia: The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers
- Wikipedia: David Pinsent (Richard’s brother)
- Wikipedia: Ellen Pinsent (Richard’s mother)
- The Times, 11 October 1949: obituary of Richard’s mother
- Wikipedia: Hester Adrian, Baroness Adrian (Richard’s sister)
- Balliol College War Memorial
- Balliol College War Memorial book, 2 vols (1924), p. 144: Richard Parker Pinsent