Private Arthur Parrett (or Parrott)

Regiment: 2/4th Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire) Regiment
Service No.: 201632
Date and place of birth: 3rd qtr 1891 at Iping, nr. Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 13 July 1916 (aged 24), probably near Fromelles, France.

Private Arthur Parrott (the spelling of the surname is somewhat variable) was born in Iping in 1891, the son of a bricklayer. By 1911 he was working as one of the gardeners in a large local house. He enlisted into the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire) Regiment and was killed in July 1916 during the first phases of the Battles of the Somme soon after he left England.

Family background

Arthur Parrott’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1891 in the registration district of Midhurst. From the 1901 census we find that he was born in Iping, the son of Allan Bridger Parrott (1866-1945) a bricklayer and his wife Elizabeth née Luff who was herself born in Iping in 1870. The family was living in Milland Road, Chithurst and Arthur was the eldest of six children. Although the family’s roots in the area are significant, Arthur’s parents had been living in Battersea at the time of the 1891 census soon after their wedding and before Arthur’s birth.

The 1911 census shows us Arthur Parrett(sic) living as a boarder in a house with three other young men and they are all listed as “Domestic Gardeners” working for the Rt. Hon Florence Elizabeth Viscountess Massereene and Ferrard at Milland Place, not far from Iping.

Arthur Parrett’s residence was given on his army papers as Leighton Buzzard and it seems that he or his family had moved away from the Sussex area between 1911 and the date of his death.

Military service

He enlisted as Arthur Parrett at Reading into the 2/4th Battalion of the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire) Regiment. This was a unit of the army formed at Reading in November 1914 as a second line unit. As such the battalion was moved around England for some time before eventually being sent to France at the end of May 1916.

Death and commemoration

The Division of which this battalion was part was concentrated in the area of Mervile-Gonnehem-Busnes-Thiennes in northern France and was then sent to take part in the attack at Fromelles which was undertaken to try to draw the enemy’s attention away from the main attack on the Somme further south. The war diaries of the 2/4th Battalion reveal that on 13 July 1916 (the date of Arthur Parrett’s death) a raiding party made an attack during which one officer was killed, three were wounded and one was listed missing. Of the other ranks, six were killed and a further twelve were listed missing.

The division itself suffered heavy casualties during the main attack a few days later on 19 July when no significant gains were made. The body of Arthur Parrett was not recovered and his name was placed on the Loos Memorial. He is also listed on the Iping war memorial.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project