Lest We Forget
P*rr*tt Civilian War Deaths
The thought of soldiers dying during warfare does not surprise us; but it is sometime forgotten that civilians have been victims, too. Where would we find details of World War 2 civilian deaths? The answer lies, surprisingly perhaps, with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. As well as recording military deaths it lists 67,000 civilian victims around the world. To use their search facility, go to www.cwgc.org/debt_of_honour.asp and when filling in the search form click on the arrow alongside ‘Force’ and select the last option, ‘Civilian’. Remember that the list does not sort phonetically – if you type in PARROTT it will only search for that precise spelling.
All war deaths are tragedies but when searching under PARRETT I found 3 children of the same family who died together in Bootle. They were Brian (2), Frank (6) and James (10) sons of George Trapnell Parrett and his wife Margaret Rose Parrett; the boys died together in a raid at 43 Wordsworth Street, Bootle on 3 May 1941.
Another heart-rending loss occurred in 1943 in in Torquay in Devon, over 200 miles from the dangers of the area around London. The church of St. Mary the Virgin which gave its name to St. Marychurch, a parish on the outskirts of Torquay, was destroyed by enemy action on Sunday May 30th 1943 in the early afternoon.
Children had begun to arrive for Sunday School and most of the girls were already inside the church, some with the woman who had brought them – the boys were still playing outside the door. Inside, the Sunday School teachers were waiting to start their classes when aircraft flew in from the sea and bombs began to fall.
When the raid was over and the full enormity of the event was realised, would-be rescuers came from far and wide, making frantic attempts to move tons of masonry, metal, timber and glass with their bare hands but in spite of their heroic efforts, the last of the bodies was not recovered for another 48 hours.
Amongst the young victims were Mary Lilian Perrott (12) and her twin brother Harold Frank Michael Perrott. (In some accounts his name is given as Michael Frank Perrott). They were the children of Frank Burt Perrott and his wife Lilian S. Parrott, of 28 First Avenue. Michael was taken to Torbay hospital but died there the same day; it is believed Mary died at the scene of the bombing.