There is an error in this article - it was the 7th and not the 9th North Staffords that formed part of Dunsterforce. I also believe (but I might be wrong) it was the 7th Worcesters and 7th Warwicks not the 9th as also stated.
I have one of only two DCMs awarded to soldiers in the 7th North Staffords for the Battle of Baku (Battle of the Dirty Volcano) - the citation is highlights the brutal fighting they experienced.
---14010 Corporal Thomas Parkes DCM, 7th (Service) Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment
Thomas Parkes was from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. It is currently unknown when he was born or when he enlisted into the Army but it is likely to have been when the 7th Battalion (a New Armies formation) was first formed in August 1914 as part of K1. The Battalion was attached to the 39th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division.
He first served in the Gallipoli campaign landing in Cape Helles sometime between the 6th and 16th July 1915 taking part in the Battles of Dari Bair, Russell’s Top and Hill 60 before being sent to Sulva Bay. The Battalion was evacuated from Suvla on the 19th/20th December and moved back to Helles where it was again attacked by the Turks on the 7th January 1916. On the 8th/9th January the Battalion was finally evacuated with the rest of the Division but was to be posted to Port Said where it was posted to defend the Suez Canal on the 31st January.
Following the Gallipoli campaign the 7th Battalion was to serve in Mesopotamia forming part of the forces being assembled to relieve the besieged garrison Kut-al-Amara. After the failure to relieve the Kut garrison the 13th Division took part in the Battle of Kut-al-Amara (December 1916 to February 1917), the capture of the Hai Salient (25th January to 5th February 1917), the capture of Dahra Bend (9th to 16th February 1917) and the passage of the Diyala (7th to 10th March 1917). Following this the Battalion took part in operations to consolidate the positions around Baghdad which had fallen to the British on the 11 March and the Second and Third Actions of Jabal Hamrin (18th to 20th October and 3rd to 6th December respectively).
On the 1st July 1918 the 39th Brigade was detached from the 13th Division and sent to Baku (as part of the North Persia Force) arriving at the Dunsterforce HQ on the 24th August. It was here at the Battle of Baku (also known as the Battle of the Dirty Volcano) on the 26th August that Corporal Parkes was to win his DCM. The following explains what happened:Citation (LG 25-02-20)
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Stafford Hill, nr Baku, on the 26th August1918. During the advance to capture a hill he led his men with great coolness and ability under heavy fire, thereby contributing largely to the success of the operations. Later, when his Officer had been killed, he took command and held out until only four of his man were left.”
Only two DCMs were awarded for this action (the other going to Private A. Kelly) and the Battle is extensively documented in the 7th Battalion History in the chapter “The Battle of the Dirty Volcano. In this history the comments of the Turkish Commander-in-Chief, which were passed to the Brigade-Major of the 39th brigade, are recorded – these comments relate directly to Corporal Parkes: "The British troops holding the Mud Volcano against our attack on August 26th last put up a magnificent resistance. They fought until there were only five severely wounded left alive. One of these was an Officer, and he died shortly afterwards. The British troops continued to fight after the position had fallen, and when overpowered and disarmed, fought with their fists against armed men. I attacked with one Battalion of 500 men and, owing to the stubborn resistance encountered, my casualties were very severe and I had to bring up more guns. Your men put up a very fine fight."
Sometime after the award of his DCM Corporal Parkes was made an Acting Warrant Officer Second Class – his DCM being named to Corporal while his BWM & VM named A.WO.CL.2.Medals
Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-15 Star, War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal.