1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Percy James Parr

Contributed by: Nick, on 2008-11-05

Percy James Parr
First Name Percy James
Surname Parr
Year of Birth 1880
Year of Death 1917
Regiment Royal Fusiliers
Place of Wartime Residence Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Percy James's Story

This photo was taken in a studio in Cambridge when my Grandfather Percy James Parr was on leave before going back out to Ypres. He died on June 7th 1917 in the battle for Messines at Oostaverne. Previously a full time soldier in the Sudan, he had come out of the reserve to rejoin the Royal Fusiliers. His hand resting on the shoulder of my uncle Tom, (who died in WW2), his name is on the same memorial in St John's Cambridge. My mother is seated on my Grandmother Jessie's lap, she went on to remarry a soldier from Ely, called Alf Ireton, they had two more children, They both died in the early 1960s before I arrived, my mother always maintained that Alf was a proper kind and generous father to her, and would never entertain the idea of taking a down a framed photograph of Percy down from the hallway at their house in Cowper Road "because he deserved to be remembered" which I thought was pretty cool for the 1920s.

he deserved to be remembered

I coveted the photo for years when I lived with my Mum, which I suppose I should qualify: it sat in an old battered gold plated frame on the mantlepiece. I share my birthday with Armistice day, and every year some time around armistice, the death plaque and medals would come out and be passed around, with an accompanying story about how "your grandad disappeared". So it left an indelible mark around something that's quite important to a 6 year old.

Other memories

Nick, Norwich 2008-11-07

I should really add something about Percy's death, He actually died during the attack on the Messines Ridge in the vicinity of Oostaverne in Flanders, following the mining operations which took place in the morning of the 7th of June 1917, 21 mines were exploded along the length of the Salient. The attack was deemed a total success, comparitively speaking very few British men died, the same can't be said for the Germans, who were annihilated, and those who survived were disorientated by the blast. This must have meant little to the families of all those who perished, and the eventual outcome was The Third battle of Ypres or Pascchendaele, probably one the most vile battles in this sector over the whole war.

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