Parsons, Desmond Clere


He was the sixth and youngest son of the Hon. Richard Clere Parsons, of 48, Prince’s Gardens, London and of Agnes Elizabeth Parsons, the youngest daughter of John Frederick La Trobe-Bateman of Moor Park, Surrey. One of his older brothers, the Reverend Laurence Edward Parsons also attended the school (E, 1897-1902). Before coming to Winchester he was at “The Grange”, Folkestone: he was a House Prefect in his last year and stood on Dress for Commoner XV. He went to Trinity College Cambridge in 1909, graduating in the Historical Tripos and winning the First English Declamation Prize. He worked for a time on the staff of the Glasgow Herald.

At the outbreak of war he obtained a commission in the Irish Guards and when the 2nd Battalion was formed in July 1915 was gazetted to that battalion.  From 3rd October 1915 he was acting Captain in charge of No 2 Company.  He was wounded on September 13th, but refused to leave the line, and fell two days later at Ginchy while leading his company into action. He was mentioned in Despatches after his death.   His commanding officer wrtoe of him:  I shall always look upon him as one of the finest men I have ever met – such an example to us all to do the right thing. In his short time as a soldier he had become most efficient, and managed his company like an old hand. He was a loss which the British Army and the nation can ill afford.

Parsons was not the only Wykehamist to die that day on the Somme: ten others were killed or mortally wounded, including Captain Arthur Innes Adam (Coll.1907-1912, 1/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment); Lieutenant Raymond Asquith (Coll.1892-1897, 3rd Grenadier Guards), the son of the Prime Minister; Lieutenant-Colonel Eric William Benson MC (A1901-1906, 9th KRRC); Major Charles Blair-Wilson (I1908-1913, 42nd Canadian Infantry); Lieutenant George Macpherson (I1909-1915, Heavy Section – Tanks – Machine Gun Corps); Lieutenant Warine Frederick Martindale (B1907-1912, 1st Scots Guards); Lance Corporal 73832 Henry Mark Ruddock (H1908-1913, 28th Canadian Infantry); 2nd Lieutenant Evelyn Godfrey Worsley (A1898-1903, 3rd Grenadier Guards); 2nd Lieutenant Geoffrey Wilfrid Penfold Wyatt (D1909-1915, 1st East Kent Regiment); and Lieutenant Raymond Gilbert Hooker Yeatherd (F1904-1908, 2nd Dragoon Guards).

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Parsons
  • Forenames or initials: Desmond Clere
  • House: E
  • Years in School: 1903-1908
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: Irish Guards
  • Date of Birth: 2nd February 1890
  • Date of Death: 15th September 1916
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer C5
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: GUARDS CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS: Grave XII.R.7