Alfred Parris (known as Jim) was born in Borstal on 13 December 1890, to his parents Mark and Isabella. He was baptised at St Matthew’s Church on 15 February 1891, and lived at 24 Sidney Road.[SMRH]
On 3 March 1908, when he was 17 years old, Alfred volunteered for six years of service with the Buffs’ Special Reserve. At his medical on 5 March 1908, Alfred was 5ft 2ins tall, with blond hair and blue eyes, and he was passed as fit for service. His regimental number in the Buffs was 8887.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Alfred was still living at home with his mother, who was then 53, widowed and working as a laundress. Isabella Parris was originally from Whiteparish in Wiltshire. Alfred’s oldest sister, also Isabella, was also living at home, as she had been widowed less than a year into her marriage; his older brother, Frederick, was unmarried and also living at home. Frederick was working as an oarsman, whilst Alfred was a labourer at the cement works. The youngest daughter, Lily, was aged 14 and no occupation was recorded for her – she may well have still been in school. Mark Parris was originally from Cooling, and at the time of the 1901 Census, was working as a general labourer.
Alfred was discharged from the Buffs on 10 April 1912, as he was about to join the RAM Corps (his regimental number was then 6325). Joining the RAMC took him to Aldershot, where he attended the training college and achieved Third Class in his Army School training. At his medical in April 1912, Alfred had grown two inches and had also acquired various tattoos. He was declared fit for service in the RAMC.
However, he did not remain in the RAMC, as his war grave records him as being a Driver in the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, with his regimental number now 98450. The De Caville Index lists him as being in the 55th Division Ammunition Column, of the Royal Field Artillery. Alfred would have been helping to get ammunition to artillery.
Alfred was killed in action on 28 August 1917, aged 26. He is buried at Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Click here to see a photograph of his grave. Alfred was awarded the British War Medal in 1920.
Alfred’s page on the Every Man Remembered project is here.
References and links:
Local archives and objects:
City of Rochester Roll of Honour
Friends of Medway Archives, De Caville Index
St Matthew’s Roll of Honour
Census 1901: Class: RG13; Piece: 726; Folio: 11; Page: 13
Census 1911: Census 1911. Class: RG14; Piece: 3889; Schedule Number: 196
British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO). War Office: Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ (Microfilm Copies); (The National Archives Microfilm Publication WO363); Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies; The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls; Class: WO 329; Piece Number: 259
Military-Genealogy.com, comp. UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
St Matthew’s Roll of Honour
Patricia Allen and Alison Robinson; with additional research by Kate Bradley