Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gunner Ellis Alexander Parr - Featherston Memorial

Ellis Parr was born in the Wairarapa the eldest son of Thomas and Annie Parr.  At the time of enlistment he was working as a railway clerk in Newmarket, Auckland.  He embarked with the Auckland Mounted Rifles as part of the 4th reinforcements on 8 January 1916.  Ellis Parr had a busy war he was wounded twice and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field.  His citation from the London Gazette is below:

London Gazette, 16 August 1917, p8430, Rec No 841: At Messines on 7th June 1917. During the operations on the Messines Ridge this man was a member of F.O.O.'s party. They laid, and for hours endeavoured to maintain communications under very heavy shellfire. For a period of twentyfour hours they were continually working on the wire, repairing breaks until communication was finally established. On the 29th June, volunteers for a similar task were called for - this man volunteered and was again included. When one of his party was wounded Gunner Parr, assisted by three others, carried him under heavy fire to a dressing station. His coolness and gallant conduct during the whole period was a splendid example to the other men.

On 30 October 1917 his luck ran out and he was killed in action at Ypres aged 26 years.  He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium. 

Private Ellis Alexander PARR, who was recently reported wounded, is a member of a family which is doing its share in the war. His home is at Petone, Wellington, and he has two brother, Rupert and Mark PARR, in the fighting lines, while his father is a member of the garrison at Samoa. All the male members of their household are in khaki. Ellis Parr is well known in rowing and football circles in Auckland, where he was a clerk in the loco department of the railway service at the time of his enlistment. [AWN 12.04.1917] 

The extract above taken from the Auckland Weekly News once again demonstrates the contribution and sacrifice New Zealand families made to the war effort.

Ellis's father and two brothers survived the war.  The words below were added to a memorial notice printed in the Evening Post by Ellis Parr's siblings, they are adapted from a poem written by an 11th century Persian philospher Omar Khayyam. 

Lo! Some we loved , the noblest and the best
Have one by one crept silently to rest

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