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Private John Parr, Deceased

1897 - 1914


To most folk today, such

Is the fickleness of fame

He is remembered for 

His fate, but not by his name.

Too young to have enlisted

He should not have been there:

He lied about his age just in search

Of his guaranteed three square.


The First Commonwealth casualty

At aged just seventeen,

Who knows what life he may have had

Or what he might have been.

Sent to scout out the enemy

He was left on his own

To hold off their advance 

While his companion had flown


 To report the contact, 

The where and when,

And Private John Parr

Was never seen alive again.

There is some doubt as to whether 

He was killed by fire of friend or foe

One of those mysteries of war the 

 Truth of which we will never know.


Buried at St Symphorien cemetery just

South east of Mons, when at that stage,

He was stated to be twenty, for then

Nobody knew he’d falsified his age.

By sheer coincidence 

This young hero who had lied

Is buried facing the grave of the last 

British soldier known to have died.


One of those lions led by donkeys

In the three cousins’ war,

An even of such a scale

Not seen before,

Whose consequences 

Will still not go away,

Leaving  the seeds of many of those 

Grievances still being fought over today.





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Private John Parr, Deceased