Charles Parr, Lance Sergeant 14530, 11th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 4th July 1916 in Somme, France, aged 35
Charlie Parr was born in Macclesfield on 18th April 1881, the son of Sarah Ann and John Parr, a silk throwing steward of Macclesfield. In 1891, nine year old Charlie was living at 5 Boden Street, Macclesfield, with his parents, siblings Emily (16), Harry (14), Frank (12), John (7), Edith (5) and Ernest (8 months), and his grandfather Samuel Parr. Charlie was later known as Charles.
On 29th November 1897, at the age of 17 years 7 months, Charles enlisted with the 4th Cheshire Regiment, receiving service number 3736. At that time he lived at 12 Lord Street and was working at a fishmonger’s shop. Evidently he decided that life in the Militia did not suit him and obtained a discharge by purchase on 8th June 1898.
According to De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, Charles enlisted in the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars on 11th September 1899, served in the 1901-2 South African War and was awarded the Queen’s Medal with five clasps. He then served with the army reserve for seven years from 30th September 1904.
Charles married Tilley (Matilda) Hampson on 7th January 1906 at the Methodist Church, Macclesfield. On 29th August 1907 Charles obtained employment as a horse driver with the Macclesfield Co-operative Society, later becoming one of their foreman chauffeurs. He was also at one time secretary of the Macclesfield branch of the Carters’ Union.
Charles and Tilley were living at 46 Pickford St, Macclesfield in 1911, and their daughter Edith was born the following year on 5th December 1912.
Charles enlisted with the Cheshire Regiment on 3rd September 1914. He stated that he was employed as a motor driver and had previously served with the 8th Hussars for 12 years. He was described as 5 feet 8½ inches tall and weighed 138 pounds with a 34 inch chest, fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. He said that his religion was Wesleyan.
Charles joined the Cheshire Regiment as a private but was rapidly promoted to Acting Sergeant on 19th September 1914, eventually attaining the rank of Company Sergeant Major on 5th September 1915, shortly before leaviing Southampton for France on 23rd September 1915. However, he was court-martialled on 15th December for being absent from 11am 9th December 1915 until 4.30pm on 10th December 1915 and reduced to the rank of Corporal, not regaining the rank of Sergeant until the following May.
Charles was wounded at Vimy Ridge on 3rd July 1916 and died of his wounds at Albert the following day.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 4th August 1916:
A KEEN AND BRAVE SOLDIER – SERGT. C. PARR DIES OF HIS WOUNDS
We regret to announce that Sergeant Charles Parr, 11th Batt. Cheshire Regt., son of Mr John Parr, of 129 Park Lane, Macclesfield, several members of whose family are serving with various branches of the military forces, has succumbed to wounds received in France during the “big push”. Official notification of his death reached the late Sergeant’s wife, who resides at 46 Pickford Street, on Friday and Mrs Parr has also received the following letter from Sergeant-Major Harvey, 11th Cheshires:
“I regret to break the sad news to you of the death of your husband and my old friend…. I saw him when he was carried from the charge, but he was beyond knowing anyone. Poor Charley! I could not help but admire him at Vimy. He was a very brave man indeed. He was Sergeant sniper and had accounted for a great many Germans. At Vimy he lived and slept with me. Out of 20 of his men only two are left and his officer is killed.”
… Sergeant Parr was formerly secretary to the local branch of the Carters’ Union, in which office he was succeeded by Sergeant Clowes, a fellow employee at the Co-operative Society, who was killed in action at Gallipoli last year. Much sympathy is felt with the widow and family in their heavy loss, which is the second bereavement they have sustained in the war, the late sergeant’s nephew, Private Wilfred Brough, 14th Cheshires, being killed in action a month or two ago.
Two other sons of Mr John Parr are serving, while his son-in-law, Farrier-Sergeant Archibald Poole, a native of Congleton, was with the Australian forces in the Dardanelles, where he was wounded. Mr Parr’s other two sons met accidental deaths, one being killed on the railway at Manchester, and the other by a fall into the hold of a vessel at Vancouver.
His death was also reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 29th July 1916:
SERGEANT C PARR
News has been received in Macclesfield of the death on July 4th of Sergeant C Parr, of the 11th Cheshire Regiment.
Alderman J C Bailey recently received a letter from Corporal Hall, of the Royal Engineers… “I saw the stretcher-bearers taking Sergeant Parr from the lines. I did not have a chance of seeing if he was badly hurt…” Since then Mr W Thorneycroft, of the Gardener’s Arms, Parsonage Street, has received a letter, written on July 18th, from Sergeant J Pownall: “I suppose you have heard of Charlie Parr getting killed. I heard the news and made it my business to find out. At last I found his grave in a little churchyard, just behind the firing line, and he is at rest with a lot of my old chums of the 11th battalion.”
Sergeant Parr commenced work with the Cooperative Society on August 29th, 1907, as horse driver, and on the Society adopting mechanical traction he was transferred fromt he horse vehicle to the motors. He continued to drive the various successive motors of the Society until the outbreak of war… He was a highly-prized employee, who was entrusted with much important work, and his loss is greatly deplored….