Private John Parr, Middlesex Regiment

Pte. John Parr's grave at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Belgium

Pte. John Parr’s grave at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Snapshot of the Great War 21 August 1914

John Parr is believed to be the first British soldier killed during the Great War on 21 August 1914. Parr served with the 4th Battalion Middlesex Regiment and is thought to have been killed while on a reconnaissance mission. However, there has been growing debate about his fate which is sure to be of considerable discussion on this the 100th Anniversary of Pte. Parr’s death.

Rather than debating what may or may not have been his fate on this day I prefer to remember back to my 2006 visit of Parr’s gravesite at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery located southeast of Mons, Belgium. The day was a memorable visit to this historical area in the vicinity of Mons focusing in on three consecutive days of the Great War. Parr was 17 years of age at the time of his death.


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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