30-year-old Armourer-Corporal Edwin Baskerville Parry was killed in action on 1st October 1918 whilst serving with the 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry. He was born in Birmingham on 11th December 1887 and was the eldest of the four children of parents Edwin (a builder) and Annie (née Tanner) who had married in Edgbaston in April 1887. It was Edwin’s second marriage, as his first wife, Caroline, had died in 1884, aged 31, leaving him with a young son, Arthur Edwin Parry (1875-1955).
The family moved to “Brookside”, Old Station Road, Hampton-in-Arden around 1908, with Edwin (senior) becoming a well-known local builder. His second wife, Annie, appears to have died in 1904, aged 43, and he died in 1921, aged 69.
After Edwin’s death, it seems his son Barry Sullivan Parry (1875-1937) continued to live at “Brookside”, as newspapers report his sudden death from a duodenal ulcer there in 1937. His widow, Miriam, and their son, Cecil Trevor Parry (1926-1989), were recorded as living at Brookside, Old Station Road, in 1939.
The Parry family had connections with Hampton-in-Arden at least into the 1950s, as Arthur Edwin Parry’s name appears on Monumental Inscriptions for the village in 1955.
Information kindly given to us by Edwin Baskerville Parry’s great-niece is that he was known as Baskie and was a scholar at The College, Cleobury Mortimer, where he is recorded on the 1901 census, aged 13. After leaving school, he was apprenticed to a timber firm in Burton-on-Trent.
Baskie’s mother apparently left him some money when she died in 1904, and Baskie decided to run away. It was five years before the family heard from him again – he wrote from Victoria, British Columbia, where he was living happily, having worked his way across Canada on the railway and as a lumber jack.
He volunteered for service in the Canadian Infantry on 4th February 1916, giving his age as 28 years and one month, and his occupation as a pipe fitter. His Canadian service record notes that he was hospitalised for three days in Winnipeg in May 1916 suffering from suspected diptheria.
He sailed for England in October 1916, departing from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 4th October 1916 and arriving in Liverpool on 13th October 1916. He proceeded to Witley Camp, Surrey having been appointed Acting Lance Sergeant but then spent time in hospital in December 1916, suffering from German measles.
During his time in England he was reunited with his family at Brookside before being sent to fight in France. His sister, Rosalind, told of how proud she was of her gallant brother in his kilt and little Glencarry hat with ribbons hanging down at the back. He would sing The Maple Tree for Ever to her piano accompaniment.
On 26th October 1917 Acting Lance Sergeant Parry reverted to the ranks at his own request for the purpose of proceeding overseas and, two days later, he was transferred from the 11th Reserve Battalion to the 16th Battalion.
He arrived in France on 28th October 1917 and joined his unit on 15th November 1917, being promoted Corporal and appointed Armourer Corporal on 18th February 1918.
He was killed in action and is buried at Canada Cemetery, Tilloy-les-Cambrai, France. Canadian records indicate that he was killed by enemy machine gun fire shortly after leaving the “jumping off” trench during the attack at Cuvillers. His great-niece tells is that it was devastating for the family when they were notified he was killed in action and his father Edwin never got over it.
Having left the area, he is not commemorated on Hampton-in-Arden war memorial.
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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