Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Harold Parry (1896 - 1917) - British

With many thanks to Lynne Sidaway who suggested I research this forgotten WW1 poet, and to John Vallance, Archivist at Queen Mary’s Grammar School for additional information.  

Harold was born one of twins in Bloxwich, Walsall, West Midlands, UK on 13th December 1896.  His parents were David Ebenezer Parry, a mining engineer and colliery manager, and his wife Sarah, nee Arkinsall.  Harold's siblings were:  Donald b. 1891, Dorothy, b. 1892, and Victor, his twin.

Educated initially at a local preparatory school, Harold went on to Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall, where he joined the Cadet Corps, wrote poetry and excelled at cricket and football.   He went on to study at Oxford University.

Harold volunteered to join the Army in January 1916 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.   Transferred to the 17th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Harold was posted to the Western Front, where he continued to write poetry.

From a commemorative Display at the
Queen Mary's Grammar School

Harold was killed on 6th May 1917 at Ypres and was buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium.   He is also commemorated in Field Road Cemetery, Bloxwich.

Harold Parry’s WW1 poetry collection “In Memoriam Harold Parry” - Parry's Poems and Letters, with a Foreword by Geoffrey P. Dennis, was published by W.H. Smith in 1918.

"Tommy's Dwelling"

I come from trenches deep in slime,
Soft slime so sweet and yellow,
And rumble down the steps in time
to souse "some shivering fellow".

I trickle in and trickle out
Of every nook and corner,
And, rushing like some waterspout,
Make many a rat a mourner.

I gather in from near and far
A thousand brooklets swelling,
And laugh aloud a great "Ha, ha!"
To flood poor Tommy's dwelling.

Sources:  Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War – A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), p. 249.

Find my Past, Free BMD, 

John Vallance, Archivist at Queen Mary’s Grammar School