Published By Joan Zorn
Herbert Parsons was born in Oswestry in 1886 and baptised 24 Aug 1886. It is possible his father was William Parsons a skinner from Dunstable. In 1881 William and Elizabeth Parsons live on Willow Street married but no children. By 1891 Elizabeth is living on her own with Herbert and a younger sister Elizabeth Jane (baptised Jul 1889), no father was listed for either child. They were living at 88 Willow Street (4 Jones’s Cottages) their mother works as charwoman and lists herself as married and head of the household. The family still living in the same house though now there are 2 more children Lilian (b 1893) and Thomas (b1897) and there is a lodger David Jones, a corporation road worker from Llansantffraid. By 1911 David Jones is foreman at Oswestry sewerage works and living at 2 Welsh Walls with Elizabeth, now a widow, as his housekeeper and the 2 youngest children live with them. The children are listed as illegitimate on 1911 census and curiously given that Elizabeth was born in Oswestry she is listed as British by parentage. Elizabeth and David married in summer 1912. At some point they moved to 47 Castle Street, Oswestry.
Herbert worked as a brick labourer (1901) and as window cleaner (1911). In November 1906 Herbert had a child by Rose Davies, The Cross Keys, Selattyn – however, he seems to have abandoned her and the next year Herbert married Mary Annie Dickson. Rose would later take legal action and was granted an Affiliation Order by Oswestry Magistrates Court to have stoppages from his army pay for the child’s upkeep. Although documents are difficult to read it seems that Rose’s child would go into a Doctor Barnardo’s Home, and she would later marry to become Rose Rogers and live at Swan Lane. Herbert and wife, Mary, would have 3 children: Hilda May (1907), Maggie and Wilfred Herbert (1912). They lived at 7 Arthur Street, Oswestry. By 1918 it would seem that Mary had died and Herbert’s mother, Elizabeth was the guardian for the 3 children.
In May 1912 Herbert enlisted as a territorial in 4 Bn KSLI as Private. It is also likely that he had previously served in the regulars – Private 1598 Bn KSLI, but details are unclear. At the outbreak of war he went with the 4 battalion to India and then to Hong Kong before returning to France in July 1917. Herbert spent periods in hospital at Hong Kong with a knee injury and with dermatitis. The sickness reoccurred when in France and in September 1917 he was shipped back to the UK and was admitted to Military Hospital at Ashton-in-Makerfield where he stayed until January 1918. In May 1918 he was given leave which he spent in Leeds. On the last day of his leave he was taken ill again, this time with bronchitis. Also, in September 1918, as a consequence of his health, it is probable that he was downgraded to medical category B and was transferred into the ASC as a motor driver at Motor Transport Depot at Sydenham. The ASC was a non-combatant unit and was often a posting for men no longer physically fit for a combative role. By October 1918 he had been admitted to Davidson Road Military Hospital, Croyden suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy. He died at 6.30pm on 31 October 1918; his mother was with him when he died. His army pension was paid to his mother, Elizabeth Jones, as guardian of his children. Herbert also asked that his medals be given to his son, Wilfred, when he came of an age and would be able to value them. Herbert was awarded the Victory and British War medals. Herbert is buried at Oswestry Cemetery, grave U102.
Same grave U 102 – his mother Elizabeth Jones died 1922 age 63 buried 5th July 1922 address 47 Castle Street and her husband David Jones died 1920 age 56 buried 2nd July 1920 address 47 Castle Street