10501 PTE. S. V. PARR. SCOTS GDS.
Stephen Valentine Parr was born on 27 April 1893 at Station Road, Croston and baptised at Croston on 25 June. His father was Robert Parr (b. 1864 in Tarleton), a railway platelayer. His mother was Ann Alice Valentine (b. 1867 in Croston). Robert and Ann were married in Leyland in 1885 and they had 11 children, 10 of whom survived infancy: Jane (b. 1885), Hugh (b. 1888), James (b. 1889), Robert (b. 1891), then Stephen, Charles Thomas (b. 1895), Harry (b. 1898), Isabel (b. 1900), John (b. 1904) and finally Sidney (b. 1906). The Parr family moved to Lostock Hall in 1905 and according to the 1911 Census they lived at 7 Heskin Terrace, Lostock Hall (on Leyland Road, between Coote Lane and Harold Terrace). Robert was a railway platelayer ganger (foreman). He, Ann and eight of their children, ranged in age from 21-4, lived in a five room house. In 1911, Stephen was 17 and, like his father, a railway platerlayer for the Lancs and Yorks Railway.
The Scots Guards was a popular regiment among the men from Lostock Hall. Those who were killed were: James Fairclough, Fred Sholliker and George Buck who joined 1st Battalion; Joe Hardman, Fred Buck, Tom Sanderson and Stephen Parr who were all in 2nd Battalion. Joe Hardman’s service number is 10504, Stephen’s is 10501, so they obviously joined up at the same time, in 1914. Stephen and Joe both landed in France on 7 February 1915. So Stephen served through Neuve Chappelle in 1915 (where Joe was killed), Festubert in 1915 (where Fred Buck was killed), and The Somme in 1916 (where Tom Sanderson was killed).
The photograph (provided by Stephen’s nephew and niece) shows Capt Wooldridge’s squad in November 1914 and Stephen is in the picture.
In May 1917, 2Bn Scots Guards were at Cartigny, near Péronne, on the Somme, engaged in rest and training but at the end of the month they moved to new billets near St. Omer. Here, on 7 June, they heard of the attack on Messines. They were not involved but they knew that they would soon be moving to the Ypres Salient. They continued with their musketry practice but also began rehearsing trench attacks and in the middle of the month they moved to Herzeele, close to the Belgian border. From 23-30 June, they dug trenches to resemble those they were preparing to attack and continued to practise. On the evening of 22 July, they moved to the front line and into trenches at Boesinghe, north of Ypres. As they were occupying the trenches to relieve the Grenadier Guards, they were subjected to heavy shelling with mustard gas, and the shelling continued with gas and otherwise, throughout the 23rd.
The War Diary states that 4 officers were hospitalised from the effects of gas. 4 other ranks were killed, 12 wounded and 120 hospitalised due to the effects of gas. Stephen Parr was among those killed. The newspaper article, citing a letter to Parr’s parents, says Stephen was killed instantaneously when a shell burst in his trench. He was 24 years old (CWGC incorrectly records his age as 23).
Service No: 10501
Date of Death: 23/07/1917
Regiment/Service: Scots Guards, 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: VII. G. 16.
Cemetery: DUHALLOW A.D.S. CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Robert and Ann Alice Parr, of 7 Heskin Terrace, Lostock Hall, Preston.
Some of Stephen’s brothers also served in the War.
James Parr‘s attestation form has survived. He enlisted with the Royal Engineers on 10 December 1915. He is 261533 CPL. J. V. PARR. He served with 269 and later 277 Railway Company of the Royal Engineers. He married Alice Butler at Farington St Paul’s in February 1916 and a year later he was posted to France. In 1918 he was promoted to Corporal and finally demobilised in October 1919.
It’s possible that Charles Thomas also served in the Royal Engineers, 87263 PTE. C. T. PARR. If this is correct, he enlisted on 26 April 1915 (he would have been 20) and discharged due to sickness on 25 September 1916.
Harry is almost certainly 680826 PTE. H. PARR, a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. His service number fits into the band assigned to the men from Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge who enlisted in May 1915 (although that year Harry would only have been 17 so he would have had to lie about his age).