Thomas Heazle Parke (1857 - 1893):
Thomas Parke was born in Drumsna, County Roscommon, and was reared in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Roscommon. He graduated from the College of Surgeons in Dublin and was appointed to a post in Ballybay, County Monaghan. In 1881 he joined the British army and served in Egypt. He offered to accompany H. M. Stanley in his African explorations and became the first Irishman to cross the African continent. During the expedition Parke bought a pygmy girl. For more than a year they travelled together and she nursed him through malaria. He was forced to leave her behind eventually because her eyes could not adapt to sunlight after the darkness of the forest. When Parke returned home he received an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Among his published works are My Personal Experiences in Equatorial Africa and A Guide to Health in Africa. When he died in Scotland his coffin was brought back to Ireland and drawn on a gun carriage from the Dublin docks to Broadstone station. A statue of him stands outside the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street, Dublin, and he also is commemorated by a bust in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
||27 November 1857
||10 September 1893