Allen Parr, Private 16243, 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
Killed in action 15th August 1915 at Gallipoli, Turkey, aged 27
Allen Parr was born in 1888 and baptised at the same time as his baby sister Alice on 23rd March 1892 at St Peter’s Church, Congleton, the son of Martha Ann and John Parr, a fustian cutter of 5 Lion Street, Congleton.
Allen’s mother died in January 1896, and his father died four years later in July 1900, so John and Alice were orphaned at the ages of twelve and eight. In 1901, Alice was living in Spring Street, Congleton with her uncle, Arthur Brookes, while thirteen year old Allen went to live at 8 Napier Street, Rochdale with his uncle William Parr, and found work there as a cotton doffer.
By 1911, Allen was lodging at 20 West Terrace, Fegg Hayes, Stoke on Trent and was employed as a waggoner in a coal pit (a person who pushes the coal tubs along the rails in a coal mine).
Allen’s sister Alice married William Walsh in Macclesfield in 1915.
Allen was living in Macclesfield when he joined the Lancashire Fusiliers at Bury, Lancashire with service number 4460, later transferring to the 6th Battalion, Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers with service number 16243.
The Battalion was at Basingstoke when orders were received on 9th July 1915 to prepare for service at the Dardanelles. They left by train at 2am on 12th July and arrived at Keyham at 1pm, making camp at Pull Point, Devonport, overnight and embarking aboard SS Canada the following day. The ship sailed via Malta and Alexandria to Mudros harbour on Lemnos, arriving there at 2.30pm on 27th July.
The Battalion left Mudros at 7pm on 31st July, arriving at Mytilene (on Lesvos) on 1st August, where they remained until 6th August, when they embarked on minesweepers Snaefell and Honeysuckle for Gallipoli.
The Battalion landed at Salt Lake Bay, Gallipoli on 7th August 1915, moving from there to Hill 53. On 10th August the Battalion moved to Ala-Baba Hill to rest, and on 13th August took up a position in support trenches at Karakol Dagh.
At 5pm on 15th August the Battalion moved up to construct reserve trenches at Karakol Dagh when the Turks opened fire. The exchange of fire continued intermittently until daybreak at 4am, when the Turkish Infantry began a heavy bombardment of hand grenades and bombs, resulting in heavy casualties and causing the Battalion to retreat by 50 yards. Allen Parr was one of the 10 officers and 210 men killed, wounded or missing during this exchange.
Allen’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 29 September 1916:
MISSING SOLDIER’S FATE – IN THE LANDING AT SUVLA
Mrs A. Walsh, 1 Victoria Yard, Macclesfield, has received a War Office intimation stating that “as no news has been received of your brother, Private Alan Parr, Royal Irish Fusiliers, who has been missing since 15th August 1915, the Army Council have been regretfully constrained to conclude that he is dead and that his death took place on or since August 15th 1915.”
Private Parr was a native of Congleton, being the son of the late Mr John Parr, Lion Street. He was 28 years of age, and received his education at the Wagg Street Day School, and also attended the Sunday School there. Private Parr enlisted on the outbreak of war, and was formerly employed in a cotton factory at Rochdale. He was drafted out to the Dardanelles fourteen months ago. Private Parr took part in the Suvla Bay landing and was reported missing a month later.
Private Allen Parr has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 178 to 180 on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Allen Parr, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.