William Peter Parsons was killed in action on 8th June 1917, although original records indicate that he too may have died on the 7th. Born in Ifield in November 1881 to Nathan and Mary Parsons, his father was a plumber from Charlwood.
In the 1901 census, we know William was a bricklayer’s labourer and enlisted in East Grinstead, initially serving with the Royal Engineers, service number 179524. He was married to Elizabeth and had three children, all living at Oak Cottage, 32 Hazelwick Road in Three Bridges.
He took part in, and was a casualty of, the fighting on the first day of the Battle of Messines. This battle was an offensive conducted by the British Second Army, on the Western Front in West Flanders, Belgium, with the objective of capturing German defences. He was killed in action on 8th June 1917, although original records indicate that he may have died on the 7th.
He was 36 when he died and is listed then as Private 34657 William Peter Parsons of the 9th (Service) Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was first buried where he fell, then later, in the Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery.
His entry at the the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) site is here and the documents that you can view from there, illustrate how the vast amount of war dead, and their relatives, were dealt with after the war.
His widow Elizabeth paid 5 shillings and 6 pence to have nineteen letters engraved on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission gravestone. It reads ‘Sleep on Beloved, Sleep’.