WE'VE featured many incredible Dorset people over the past few weeks on these pages.

But none of them have had an ongoing campaign to raise money for a permanent gravestone in their memory.

But this is the case for First World War hero, footballer Fred 'Bassie or Spider' Parker, who was born in Chickerell on June 18, 1886 and went on to play for Weymouth and Portland. He currently lies in an unmarked grave in New Southgate Cemetery in London.

When Fred left Dorset he went on to play in London and was the first footballer to sign up for the Footballers' Battalion.

He was the captain of Leyton Orient, then known as Clapton Orient, which became the first English football team to sign up en-masse for the First World War following a meeting at Fulham Town Hall in December 1914, and Fred even met with Prime Minister H.H Asquith to discuss his ideas of the formation of a Footballers’ Battalion.

Brave Fred signed up for the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment, 17th Service Battalion (1st Football Battalion) eventually becoming a colour sergeant in 1915.

Three of Fred's team-mates from Clapton Orient died in the Battle of the Somme.

Fortunately he survived the war and returned to the club where he played until 1922 – racking up a career total of 336 appearances and 34 goals.

Fred's talent as a footballer was apparent in those early days when he was living on Portland, working as a carter and playing his football for Portland Prison Officers and Grove United, having joined them from Gordon Athletic.

He joined Weymouth for the 1903 to 04 season – as a forward – and scored nine goals in 22 appearances before he joined Salisbury City on a professional contract in 1907.

He was the first player to be substituted off of the field when, on April 4 1904 in a game against Clapton, he picked up an injury and the London club allowed Mabb to replace him.

It seems Fred made a massive impression on the Clapton management as he signed for the club shortly after he joined Salisbury.

Having made his debut at Leeds City he went on to play for the club right up until the Great War, captaining them on many occasions.

The 1911 census shows Fred's occupation as 'professional footballer' and that he and his family lived in Hackney, London.

It was after attending a meeting at Fulham Town Hall on December 15, 1914 when Fred became the first English-based footballer to enlist.

After his successful stint at Orient after the war, Fred became player-manager of Folkestone until 1930, when he applied for the FA to allow him to play again – but as an amateur – for Dover.

Away from football he worked as a porter at London’s King’s Cross Station and as a cleaner in government offices (1939 Civil Registration).

Fred's death is registered in December 1962 – in St Pancras, London. He was buried in New Southgate Cemetery – the grave being unmarked and the subject of a campaign by Leyton Orient FC, which began last year, to raise funds for a suitable memorial to be erected.

As for the Footballers' Battalion as a whole, a memorial to them was unveiled in 2010 in Longueval in France. It was attended by members of the Football Supporters' Federation and representatives of more than 20 clubs. It had been paid for through donations received from football supporters having been promoted by former professional footballer and SAS soldier Phil Stant.

A granite memorial to the three Clapton Orient players who died in the Battle of the Somme whilst members of the Footballers' Battalion was unveiled in 2011 in northern France. More than 200 Leyton Orient supporters travelled for the unveiling, which commemorated the lives of Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott.

Thanks to Nigel Biddlecombe for bringing the remarkable story of Dorset-born Fred Parker and other members of the Footballers' Battalion to our attention.