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William Edward Parr was born in Ashton, Preston, on 24 July 1888. His father, William b. 1868 in Great Ecclestone was a coal miner and navvy; his mother was Emma Eckersley b. 1867 in Wigan.

A photo of William Edward Parr in the mid-late 1890’s.

William had two younger sisters, Annie and Ethel. In the 1890s the family moved to Alston near Longridge where William met his wife Jane Marsland (b. 1887 in Dilworth). The two were married in 1908 and the following year had a son, Albert Edward. William had started work as a tenter at the age of 12 or 13 and it seems that shortly after they married the Parrs moved to Lostock Hall where William presumably worked in the mill. Sadly their records in the 1911 Census haven’t yet been found.

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Albert Edward and his mother, Jane Marsland. William’s photo was superimposed because they did not have any photos of the three of them together (Rita Parr)

William joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at the same time as fellow villagers, Tom Hilton and William Hibbert. 6th (Service) Battalion L.N.LAN.R. was part of Kitchener’s New Army and was created on 8 August 1914. The three men almost certainly enlisted together in February 1915, and they arrived with other reinforcements from England at Suvla Bay on 14 November 1915, 6Bn having first arrived in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. By the time the new draft arrived in November, the decision had been taken to abandon the campaign and evacuate the Gallipoli Peninsula, but it would be an enormous and dangerous task to evacuate 80,000 men, with all their equipment and stores, from open beaches, under attack from an active and enterprising enemy. However, the Battalion did manage to withdraw and in mid-December sailed for Moudros on the Greek island of Lemnos. Around this time, British forces near Baghdad, in Mesopotamia, had come under severe attack and it had been decided that reinforcements, including 6Bn, would need to be sent.

A month later they transferred to Egypt where they were re-equipped for their new theatre of war. They left Port Said on 14 February, arriving at Basra on 5 March, where they transferred to river boats and proceeded up the River Tigris to Sheikh Saad where by 1 April they formed part of a British Army of 30,000 men and 127 guns whose objective was to relieve the British and Indian troops besieged by the Turks in the city of Kut-al-Amara. The British had some initial success in an attack from 6-9 April, during which William Parr was missing presumed killed – alongside Tom Hilton. William was 27 years old.

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The handkerchief William gave to his wife, Jane.

During this action, 6Bn had 7 men killed, 6 officers and 79 other ranks wounded, and 4 officers and 165 other ranks missing. Ultimately, however, the attempt to relieve Kut was a failure; the city surrendered on 28 April, after 24,000 men had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner in trying to bring it aid. The loss of Kut has been described as “the most abject capitulation in Britain’s military history.” The army commanders were replaced, the army reorganised and re-trained and a new campaign was launched, eventually leading to the capture of Baghdad on 11 March 1917.

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The Victory Medal awarded to William Edward Parr

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The 1914/15 Star medal awarded to William Edward Parr

After the War, William’s wife and son emigrated first to Canada, where she met and married Joseph Metcalf in 1921, and then moved to the US.

William is remembered on the Lostock Hall Memorial.

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Rank: Private
Service No: 21224
Date of Death: 09/04/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 27.
Memorial: BASRA MEMORIAL

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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5 Responses to 21224 PTE. W. E. PARR. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Linda Mary Parr says:

    So pleased to have found this information and a big thank-you to the people who put this together. William Edward Parr was my late Fathers Cousin and my first Cousin. All so sad and no grave to visit.`

  2. Linda Mary Parr says:

    Thank-you to Mr Bill Brierley.

  3. Rita Parr says:

    My father was Albert Edward Parr son of William Edward Parr, my grandfather. So happy to have this information. I have a picture of William and I have his medal. Would love to hear from Linda Mary Parr. Thank you Bill Brierley for this family history.

  4. Bill Brierley says:

    I’m so pleased that this article has been picked up by members of William’s family, especially if Rita and Linda get in touch as a result. Rita, are you able to scan the photo and send it either to me or to Paul, the owner of this site? It would be lovely to add it to the article.
    Best wishes,
    Bill

    • Rita Parr says:

      Hi Bill,
      If you send me your email address I will be glad to send you the photo. Linda and I have been in touch. I am so happy to have all the information in your article.
      Rita

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