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Wilfred Wharton Parr


Captain Wilfred Wharton Parr, M.C. - Killed in action 8th May 1917 - Gloucestershire Regiment 12th Battalion Aged 44. Son of the late Rev. Robert Parr. Husband of Katharine, of Bathford, Somerset. Enlisted 1914, Commissioned Feb. 1915. MC New Years Honours 1917. "B" Company. Killed at Fresnoy. Listed on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais. MC (London Gaz. 1 Jan. 1917) Letter from Capt. C.S. Petheram to Mrs Parr, "B.E.F. May 12th 1917, Dear Mrs Parr, It is with the deepest regret that I have to write and tell you that your husband, Captain W.W. Parr, is missing. He took his Company over in a brave attempt to gain, by an immediate counter-attack, some ground which had been lost. The last seen of him was by an NCO who saw him walking about among his men, helping and encouraging them. His men absolutely worshipped him, and would follow him anywhere. Every single officer loved him, and he was absolutely the life and soul of the Mess, always he was ready to make jokes at any time. When I first joined the Battalion in Sept. last I was posted to his Company, and was his only subaltern for a long time. I went over the top first with him, and stayed with him nearly all the time in this Battn. In this way I may say that I got to know him, and count him as one of the best friends I have ever had. I am now commanding the Company he last took over, and shall endeavour to run it on similar lines to what he did. I do not know what to say, Mrs Parr, to give you any hope. I leave that to God and the future. I can only sincerely console with you in such especially distressing circumstances. I he is dead, he died, as he always lived, like a hero, and if he is alive - I cannot hold much hope of that - no one will be more glad than I. If I can do anything to help in any investigation, or can assist in any way out here, please command me. Believe me, Yours very sincerely, C.S. Petheram."

Thank you to Dean Marks for the above picture

Back Row (L-R): 2Lt.R.H.Lemon, 2Lt.R.E.Machon, 2Lt.R.Hosegood, 2Lt.E.R.Atkinson, 2Lt.B.S.Cole, Lt.E.A.Robinson, 2Lt.T.A.Wilmot, 2Lt.J.P.Webb, 2Lt.A.G.Poole, 2Lt.S.Lloyd, 2Lt.N.F.Rider, 2Lt.H.E.Lambert, 2Lt.J.M.Pearce. Middle Row: Lt.H.E.V.Sants, 2Lt.W.W.Parr, 2Lt.F.E.Gurney, 2Lt.R.J.Fitzgerald, 2Lt.P.N.Logan, 2Lt.J.H.Allen, 2Lt.W.H.Fitzmaurice, 2Lt.A.V.Shewell, 2Lt.H.D.Copper, 2Lt.G.S.Lewis, Lt.H.St.G.Slight, Lt.C.Barrington, Lt.C.D.Fowler, 2Lt.A.R.Clare-Smith, 2Lt.G.E.R.Gedye. Front Row: Capt.T.B.Bingham-Hall, Capt.H.A.Colt, Capt.A.W.Clifford, Capt.R.J.Kerr, Maj.C.B.Lee-Warner, Maj.W.A.R.Blennerhassett, Col.W.E.P.Burges, Capt.J.L.Likeman, Maj.W.B.Stansfield, Maj.F.Wilson-Fox, Capt.H.P.Leschallas, Capt.A.Hooper, Lt.E.H.Burris, 2Lt.G.R.A.Beckett.

Above 12th Gloucestershire Regiment in Bristol in 1915 with Wilfred Wharton Parr in an almost identical pose to the Dean Marks photo.

Above taken at Wensleydale, Yorkshire around July 1915. Captain Wilfred Wharton Parr (Killed in Action 8th May 1917), Captain Jack Purnell Webb (Son of Alfred Purnell Webb and Marion Alice Webb, of 37, Shadwell Road, Bristol. Born at Old Cleeve, Somerset. Scholar Jesus College, Oxford, October, 1912, II. Class Honours Classical Mods., 1914. Killed in Action 22nd August 1918), Lieutenant Roy James Fitzgerald (Son of the late William Crowthers Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Fitzgerald, of Wellington, New Zealand; husband of Jean Fitzgerald, of 152, Beecham Rd., Reading. He was wounded and captured at Fresnoy 8th May 1917. He escaped. He transferred to the RFC/RAF and was killed as an observer in a Bristol F2b Fighter on 1st July 1918). Image courtesy of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.

Above Parr's name on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais.

Captain Wilfred Wharton Parr National Archives Military Papers Ref. WO339/27667

Clifton Bristol Coal Merchant.

Stow & Co.

12, Lincoln’s Inn Fields

London W.C.2

Dear Sir 16.02.1939

The late Temporary Captain Wilfred Wharton Parr MC 12th (Service) Battalion- Gloucester Regiment

The Trustees of the Will of a late client of ours are proposing to sell certain property and it is necessary for us to have the best possible evidence of the death of Captain Parr who was one of the Trustees.

Messrs. Clarke, Sons and Press, solicitors of Bristol, forwarded to us many years ago an attested copy of a letter issued by the War Office dated 25th of February 1918 of which we enclose a copy.

We think it is possible that at this date you may have more detailed information as to the date and place of death of Captain Parr, and if so we shall be much obliged if you will furnish us with a certificate either direct through Somerset House on payment of the usual fee.

Yours faithfully

The Secretary

War Office


Missing 08.05.1917

Crown Princess of Sweden failed to get any information.

Wife: Margaret Wollastin St Marys Wooten-under-Edge

Born: April 30th 1902 (?)

Enlistment: Age 34 years 11months ( Dean Marks has evidence that he was actually 42 when he enlisted i.e. outside the age limit for active service at the front, but he bullied the authorities into letting him in. Perhaps there is another story here!)

Height: 5 feet 8 inches

Weight: 168lbs

Mother: Henrietta 2, Aspley Road, Clifton

Telegram: to Mrs Parr, Flax Bourton, Nr Bristol.

Regret to inform you that Captain W.W. Parr Gloucester Regt. Reported missing May 8 th. This does not necessarily mean either killed or wounded. Further news sent immediately on receipt.

Parr, Wilfred Wharton Captain Gloucester Regt.

Concerning the above named, we have received from Sergeant Maurice Carter 37843 “B” Company 12 th Battalion, same Regiment, interned at Soltau, the following statement, dated March 29 th 1918:

“Killed, actually seen” Probably amongst killed.

Probate of Will. 18.05.1918

Estate: W W Parr Rock Cottage, Flax Bourton, County of Somerset

Captain 12 th Gloucester Regiment

Died on or since 8th May 1917 in France

Grantees: Katherine Margaret Parr-widow.

Gross value: £4083.12.11

Scarborough Evening News Saturday May 19th 1917


Captain Wilfred Wharton Parr MC Gloucester Regiment, second son of the late Reverend R. Henning Parr, first vicar of St Martin's, Scarborough and Mrs Parr of Clifton, has been missing since May 8th.

Above St. Martin's, Scarborough.

Excerpts from the book 'Bristol and the Great War'

On May 4th ( 1917) the battalion relieved the 1st Canadian Battalion in the trenches to the east of Fresnoy which had been captured only the day before. The captured village and its defences had not yet been consolidated and the enemy seemed to regard it as a position of the highest importance and one which they were determined to recapture. The Gloucesters were heavily shelled and bombarded by aeroplane and on May 8th the enemy made a fierce attack.

The enemy opened an exceptionally heavy barrage on the lines and battalion headquarters at 3.45 am, when there was a thick mist which made observation difficult even at fifty yards distance. By four o'clock there was no doubt about the matter; the enemy were attacking in force. It was afterwards learned that they had brought up the Bavarian Division with the object of re-capturing the village and its defences. The preliminary barrages had taken a heavy toll of the Gloucesters even before the German infantry came on; in fact "A" Company had practically ceased to exist before the infantry attack began and the brunt of the attack was borne by "B" Company. Captain Parr of that company was last seen surrounded by the enemy and fighting desperately with a shovel. The remnants of these two companies stood their ground valiantly and, though surrounded, fought to the last.