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The first to fall....

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Aug 2014 9:04    Onderwerp: The first to fall.... Reageer met quote

The first to fall: Mystery remains over death of 17-year-old British soldier who was killed just two weeks after the start of WWI

John Parr died after he set out on a reconnaissance mission on his bike
The teenager was the first of nearly a million British soldiers to lose their life
His grave will be visited by Prime Minister and Royals tomorrow
A ceremony will be held to mark the anniversary of the start of the war

As the nation reflects on the centenary of the start of First World War tomorrow, there is one name that will be forever associated with the early part of the conflict that shaped Europe's path - John Parr.

The teenager was the first British soldier to die in the war, which would end up taking the lives of almost a million more of his countrymen before it ended in 1918.

Tomorrow, his grave at St Symphorien military cemetery in Belgium will be visited by Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge for a special ceremony.

Private John Parr, 17, set off on his reconnaissance bike on the lookout for German troops amid the rolling farmland and woods south of Brussels in August 1914. It was the last anyone saw of him.

No pictures of him exist, and little is known about his short yet significant life.

Parr was born on July 19 1897 and grew up in poverty with 11 siblings - five of whom died before they turned four - in Finchley, north London.

His father was a milkman and his mother did laundry for wealthier families and also acted as a midwife.

During tomorrow's ceremony Iris Hunt, one of Parrís great-nieces, will stand by his headstone to read a letter sent by the teenager's mother, Alice, in a desperate bid for information about her son.

The 75-year-old treasures a photograph from the 1940s of herself, aged about two-and-a-half, holding her great-grandmother's hand.

She told the Sunday Telegraph: 'In that picture, I am holding her hand. So I feel that I am guiding her back to where her son was.

'He was a young lad, so perhaps it was a simple adventure, not knowing what he was getting himself into. It would have been quite exciting.'

Mystery surrounds the circumstances of Parr's death. Military experts suggested his death may been an accident at the hands of his French and Belgian allies.

On the night he died, Private Parr is believed to have been at least 10 miles away from members of the German cavalry.

Jon Cooksey, a military author, told The Sunday Times: 'There was no German soldier around to shoot at him. John Parr must have died either as a result of friendly fire or an accident.'

He said opposition troops would have rushed to take credit for the death, because of their eagerness to be commended and praised for their actions.

Parr was last seen on the night of August 21, three weeks after war had been declared, when he was sent out to look for missing platoons.

Mr Cooksey, who studies German troop patterns, added: 'No contact with the British Expeditionary Force near Mons had been reported that day.'

Meanwhile King Philippe of Belgium attended Thimister Cemetery in the country's Walloon region today. He paid tribute to the monument of Cavalier Fonk, the first Belgian soldier to fall in the war.

The last British soldier killed in action was Private George Ellison. He was shot at Mons, just before the official ceasefire at 11am on November 11, 1918.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2714698/The-fall-Mystery-remains-death-17-year-old-British-soldier-killed-just-two-weeks-start-WWI.html

zie ook:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/11008175/A-mothers-anguish-over-the-first-man-to-fall.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Aug 2014 9:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

zie http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=15286
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