We Have Our Lives

Hardy Parsons
  • Born Rishton, Lancs, 13th June 1897
  • Died Epehy, France, 21st August 1917
  • Age20
  • RankSecond Lieutenant
  • RegimentGloucestershire
  • Unit14th Battalion

Hardy Parsons

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Hardy Falconer Parsons was born in Rishton, a small Lancashire town in-between Blackburn and Accrington. He moved to Bath as a boy, and later to Bristol to study medicine at Bristol University. Hardy lived at 54 Salisbury Road, opposite our current Canon Precentor's house. By the time Hardy was 20 year old, he was a Second Lieutenant for the Glosters, and was part of a ‘bantam’ regiment – a regiment of men who were all below the normally-required height for service.

On the night of the 20th of August 1917, Hardy was in charge of a bombing post – an area of a front line trench from which grenades were thrown. Grenades became a central part of both sides’ armouries from 1916, the Allies alone using over 100 million hand-grenades. An attack that night on forced back the bombers holding Hardy’s post, but he refused to retreat, and single-handedly fought back against the Germans, who were armed with flamethrowers, rifles and grenades of their own. He continued to hold up the enemy with grenades until he was severely wounded, and badly burned by the ‘liquid fire’ of the German flamethrowers. He died of his wounds the following morning, and received the Victoria Cross posthumously. He was buried at Villers-Faucon Communal Cemetery.