The Gallant Alfred Parratt
Hilary Blanford (member 960) recently found a newspaper article from the Surrey Advertiser dated 21st October 1916 – and titled ‘Corporal A. Parratt’s Gallantry’ – which reads as follows:
We recorded a fortnight ago the death from wounds of Corpl. A. Parratt, K.R.R., son of Mr. and Mrs. Parratt, South End, Ockham. Mr. and Mrs. Parratt have now received from major E. C. Musgrave, commanding the battalion to which their son belonged, a letter in which, after expressing his sympathy, he says: “He is a great loss to the battalion, as by his unfailing cheerfulness under all conditions, and his great bravery, he set a very good example to the other men. I have always considered him quite one of the best men in the battalion. For his gallant work at the time be got the wounds from which he died, I recommended him for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the next highest reward a soldier can earn to the V. C. I am most pleased to say that this was awarded to him, and if you will apply to the Rifles’ Record Office, Winchester, it will be forwarded to you, and you should also apply to them for his pension. Enclose a card which is a further record of his gallantry, and I hope this and his decoration will help you to bear the grief of his loss”. The card states that the Major-General of the division had received a report of the gallant conduct of Corpl. Parratt on September 17th, during an attack near Morval, and wishes to congratulate him on his fine behaviour.
Further research from Hilary yielded a CWGC entry recording that he was a Lance Corporal in the 12th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (service number 1486) who died on 26th September 1916. Hilary also found his Distinguished Conduct Medal citation which reads as follows:
R/1486 L./Cpl. A. Parratt, K.R.R.C. (LG 14 Nov. 1916). For conspicuous gallantry in action. When the enemy delivered an attack, he, with two others, stuck to his post with great courage and determination. Later, he made repeated rushes over the open to bomb an enemy trench until he was severely wounded.
A further search of the British Newspaper Archive unearthed an announcement in the Surrey Advertiser on 9th October of “death from wounds” of Alfred Parratt on 26th September. This matches with an entry for ‘Alf Parratt’ in Ancestry’s ‘UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’ collection, which is extracted from official War Office lists of casualties.
With this information it was possible to establish that he was the son of Jim Parratt and Sarah Annells who was born in Tilford, Surrey, in 1885. His father was an agricultural labourer and later a carter. Of four children born to the couple, two others survived infancy – Rose Ellen Parratt and Harriet Fanny Parratt.
Alfred’s parents were both born in Farnham and a search of our records reveals more than a dozen P*rr*tt Society members (past and present) with Parratt ancestry in this area. According to a number of Ancestry family trees Alfred’s father, Jim, was the son of David Parratt and Mary Bryant. To the best of my knowledge we have not had any members directly descended from this couple.
One website – www.theygavetheirtoday.com – has some inaccurate information referring to Alfred as ‘A V Parratt’ whose name appears on a memorial plaque at Guildford Station. In fact this refers to Albert Victor Parratt (born 1900, Guildford) the son of Thomas Parratt (another Farnham native) and Isabella Strudwick.
Alfred is buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen.
Alfred’s name on the War Memorial in Ockham