Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 3, 1885
Place of BirthDerby, Derbyshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMother: Elizabeth Parry. 26 Radbourne Street, Derby, England
Trade / CallingLabourer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439228
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 29, 1923
Age at Death38
Buried AtNottingham Road Cemetery, Derby, Derbyshire, England

Parry, William

William Parry was one of many recent immigrants to Canada to answer the call to service in the Great War.

Born in Derby, Derbyshire, England on April 3, 1885, to James and Elizabeth Parry, he was one of nine brothers and sisters listed in various census from 1881 to 1901 — Mary (1877), Elizabeth (1878), Sophia (1882), James (1883), William (1885), Ann (1887), Jane (1889), Kate (1890) and Olive (1895). Three other siblings died in infancy.

In the 1911 census William was living at home and gave his occupation as engraver (Brassplate) with the Midland Co.

In 1913 William came to Canada to work at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company flour mill in Keewatin, Ontario, arriving June 30, 1913 aboard the Lake Manitoba and taking the CP Rail train from Quebec to Keewatin. He gave his occupation as machine hand on the passenger list entry.

William Parry signed his attestation papers for the Canadian Expeditionary Force on May 21, 1915 during a local recruiting drive for the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion. After training in Kenora, Port Arthur and Valcartier, he shipped to England with the battalion in November of 1915, arriving in France in February 1916.

Almost immediately, chest problems that had affected him most of his life surfaced, requiring several stays in hospital before returning to his unit in the spring of 1916. He was hospitalized again several times in 1917 for influenza and suspected tuberculosis, before finally being sent back to England in January of 1918 where he was assigned to the Manitoba Regimental Depot. Numerous hospitalizations followed for the rest of the war and he never returned to his unit in France. He was invalided to Canada in March 1919 with a diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis for treatment at Toronto’s Spadina Hospital.

While lab tests were negative for Tuberculosis, doctors making entries in his medical file noted he presented classic symptoms for the disease.

He was discharged as unfit for service April 29, 1919 with treatment for T to continue.

He was not deemed eligible for a disability pension as his condition was not attributed to his time in service. One entry in his medical file noted he had suffered bronchitis as a child and was subject to colds and chest problems prior to his military service requiring him to  ‘layoff for a few days’.

William Parry returned home to England to his parents home in Derby sailing aboard the Melita from St. John, New Brunswick and arriving at Liverpool on Dec 19, 1920.

His Veteran’s Death Card notes he died there on March 29, 1923 with the cause of death being Pulmonary Tuberculosis (secondary) Broncho Pneumonia. He was interred at Nottingham Road Cemetery in Derby.

While William Parry is not recognized as an official war death in Canada’s Books of Remembrance which stopped entering war related deaths in 1922, his mother was awarded a Memorial Cross medal,  Plaque and Scroll in 1924,  presented to mothers, spouses or nearest next of kin of those killed in the war by the Canadian government. His medal card, which also notes his eligibility for the Victory Medal and British War Medal, carries the notation: ‘Death due to war service’. He is commemorated on various memorials in Keewatin.

by Bob Stewart

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