Trooper Henry William Parsons

Henry William Parsons © British Newspaper Archive

Thank you to Patricia Brazier for the following research.

Henry was born in Brockham in 1893; his parents are Charles and Eliza.

In the 1891 census, before Henry was born, his family are living in Jubilee Cottages in Brockham. Charles; his father; is a gardener and Henry has three older siblings, Florence aged 9, Walter aged 5 and Amy Louisa aged 3. Also living with them are James Percud, Eliza’s father and William Percud, Eliza’s brother.

When the 1901 census was taken the family is living at Coleshill Farm in Brockham. Charles is still a gardener, Florence and Amy are still at home, Walter has left and is working as a Drapers Assistant in Croydon.  Henry is 8 and at school. Henry now has a younger brother Frederick John who is 5 years old. Also living with them are Eliza’s father and brother and a boarder Thomas Giles.

In the 1911 census the family are living in Root Hill in Brockham. Henry is now 18 and working as a gardener with his father. Florence, Amy and Frederick are still living at home.

On the 22nd July 1915 Henry’s younger brother Frederick was killed in France whilst serving with the Queen’s Royal West Surrey.

In May 1916 Henry joined the Household Battalion which was formed from the Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards and after training arrived in France in November.  In January 1917 Henry and five comrades were in charge of a Lewis gun, they were buried up to their shoulders in a shell hole for eight hours before being rescued. Four of his comrades died.  Henry survived, but suffered from Trench fever. He spent time in four hospitals in France, before eventually arriving back in England in March where he was treated in Wandsworth Hospital. He then had ten days leaved at home in April, and returned to France in May.

The Surrey Mirror of 12th July 1917 reported his death noting that he was killed by a shell bursting in the trench he was occupying, on 23rd June 1917. He was killed instantaneously. 

Henry William Parsons Death Notice © Dorking Advertiser

“The deepest sympathy is felt by everyone who knows the family with Mr. and Mrs. Parsons, of Bushberry, Brockham who again to mourn the loss of a deeply loved son. On July 22nd July 1915, their youngest son,  Pte. Fred Parsons Queen’s R.W.S. was killed while practicising bomb-throwing, and the parents have just received from the Record Office at Windsor the sad intelligence that their second son, Trooper Henry William Parsons, Life Guards who is 24 years old and umarried, was killed in action on June 23rd…  Trooper H. W. Parsons… after training became one of the of the Household Battalion formed from the Life Guards and The Blues, who were reviewed by the King in Hyde Park on Nov. 2nd preparatory to their departure for France.

Henry William Parsons Death Notice © Dorking Advertiser

Trooper Parsons was a young man of great promise, and was the right-hand of his father, who was in the employ of Messrs. Cheal and son the eminent landscape Gardeners.  The sons of Mr and Mrs Parsons are fine specimens of English manhood.  Trooper Parsons was 6 feet 5 inches in height, his younger brother Fred Parsons 6 feet 6 inches and an elder Brother Walter Parsons, now living in Australia was 6 feet 4 inches.  Since the beginning of the war 19 young men connected with Brockham have given their lives for King and country.

Henry William Parsons Death Notice © Dorking Advertiser

Mr. and Mrs. Parsons and family have received numerous letters of condolence from sympathising friends and from Messrs. J. Chenl and Sons, Crawley by whom the deceased was employed before joining the Army, being especially touching and consolatory. 2nd Lieut. H. T. Blackburn, No. 2 Company, Household Battalion, writing in France on July 5th (letter received on 10th) says : “Please accept my sincere sympathy in your great loss, your son was killed on the 23rd June by a shell bursting in the part of the trench he was occupying. He and a friend were killed instantaneously, and three others were wounded. His late Company are aware that they can ill afford to lose such men.”

Henry is buried in Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux. This cemetery is 8 Kilometres east of Arras. His parents requested that “Peace, Perfect Peace” be put on his headstone.  Henry’s war gratuity of £7.55 Shillings was sent to his father, along with his medals and plaque.

Henry’s sister Florence married Ernest Bettesworth in 1911. She died in 1918.  Amy Louisa married Alec McClennan – Bond also in 1911. 

Charles died in 1929 and Eliza died in 1945.

Born Betchworth, Surrey
Lived Betchworth, Surrey
Son of Charles and Eliza Parsons of Bushberry, Brockham
Enlisted Pangbourne, Berkshire
Regiment Household Battalion
Number 1082
Date of Death 23rd June 1917
Place of Death France
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 24
Cemetery Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux, Pas de Calais
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