Ernest’s father was a minister, and he was born in Lucknow, India. He enlisted without completing his degree, and fought in the Royal Field Artillery.
Ernest Edward Parson was born in Lucknow, India, in 1894. His father was Rev Joseph Parson, who had met and married his American mother in India ten years earlier. Ernest was the second of their four sons. In 1898 the family returned to Britain.
‘At times reckless’
Ernest went to Kingswood School in Bath, a Methodist foundation. He was selected for the first rugby team and it was noted that ‘he plays a very keen, though at times reckless game’. In 1911 he gained a Natural Science Scholarship at New College Oxford, where he joined the University Officers’ Training Corps.
Enlisted in January 1915
Ernest enlisted in January 1915, apparently without quite completing his university degree. He joined the 124th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and arrived in France in April 1915. Details of his next two years are not known, but in 1917 he was a Lieutenant at Arras, where a major British offensive in April achieved the longest advance since the start of trench warfare, followed by more stalemate. There were heavy casualties on both sides, and Ernest was wounded.
He died on 1 June 1917, aged 23, and is buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, Boisleux-St Marc. He was awarded the Military Cross, and the citation states:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When acting as Forward Observation Officer, the infantry were held up by machine guns and bombers at a strong point. He organised an attack and succeeded in capturing 17 prisoners and a machine gun.