PARTON, John Wallis

Worcestershire. 01 April 1917

Jack Parton was born at Wordsley and was the eldest son of Henry and Emma Parton. The family moved to Stourbridge and lived at 4 Norton Terrace, Stourbridge, and later at 93 Ivanhoe Street, Scotts Green, Dudley. He attended Old Swinford Hospital from the age of 8 and was apprenticed to a stone mason when he left. In 1914 he worked for Major Green at Beech Tree House. Before the war he had been a Territorial soldier in the Worcesters and in August 1914, virtually to a man, they volunteered to serve abroad. They formed the 1/7th Battalion in the 48th (South Midland) Division and crossed to France in March 1915. For most of the next two years they were on the Somme sector of the Western Front. Until June 1916 this was a quiet part of the front line but on the 1st July the Worcesters were engaged in the first day of the battle. After the Somme was over the troops had to endure a very unpleasant winter and then the Germans withdrew to the newly fortified Hindenburg Line. The Worcesters were ordered to follow up. They moved cautiously forward, entered the battered town of Peronne which was completely empty of German troops and did not meet resistance until they neared Epehy. Orders were then given to attack the village on the night of the 1st of April. Along with the rest of their Brigade the battalion advanced in the dark at 2 a.m. without artillery support in order to keep an element of surprise. They reached their assault positions just outside the village at first light. The German defenders were overwhelmed at the point of the bayonet. Many surrendered but a few still resisted in Malassise Farm. Sergeant Jack Parton was in D Company which captured the farm. Nine Worcesters were killed and among them was Jack Parton. It was two years to the day after his arrival in France. Capt. G. Wallace, who was awarded a bar to his MC as a result of the attack, wrote to Mrs Parton, 'He was killed gallantly leading his men to the attack, which, thanks largely to the bravery of your son and of others like him, was a complete success. I am not writing empty words when I say that his loss to myself, to his comrades, and to his company is one which we shall never be able to replace.' He was 25 years of age and is buried at Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery (3 A 8). He is commemorated on the Stourbridge, Oldswinford church, Lye and Wollescote, Lye church and Old Swinford Hospital Memorials. His youngest brother, Albert, was killed in action on the 7th June 1917.

Commemorated at:

Stourbridge Mary Stevens Park

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Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, West Midlands, United Kingdom

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