We Have Our Lives

Wilfred Parr
  • Born Clifton, 1873
  • Died Arras, France, 8th May 1917
  • Age44
  • RankCaptain
  • RegimentGloucestershire
  • Unit12th Battalion

Wilfred Parr

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Wilfred Wharton Parr was born in Clifton in 1873. His parents, the Rev Robert Henning Parr and Henrietta Parr had moved there from Scarborough, where Robert was vicar at St Martin’s Church, before he was born. Robert died in 1888, when Wilfred was only 15.

At 3:45am on the morning of the 8th May, and in mist so thick the soldiers could not see more than about 50 yards, the Germans commenced a very heavy barrage on the trenches where Wilfred was positioned. After this bombardment the 5th Bavarian Division attacked in overwhelming numbers. Intense fighting followed, and those on the front-line managed to check the first assault, but at great cost. Counter-attacks were then made by the British, and this was what led to the death of Captain Parr, leading his men over the top in an attempt to regain lost ground.

Wilfred was last seen surrounded by the enemy and fighting desperately with a shovel. His body was never recovered from the battlefield or identified and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing.

Captain C S Petheram, a fellow officer of the 12th Battalion. He wrote to Captain Parr's wife, "Every single officer loved him, and he was absolutely the life and soul of the Mess, he was ready to make jokes at any time. When I first joined the Battalion in September 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 Battalion. 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 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. If 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”.