PARTON John Wallis
Regiment : 1st/7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
Service number : 200679
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : Killed in action aged 26 on 1st April 1917
Buried : Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery, France, Grave III. A. 8.
Birthplace : Wordesley, Staffordshire, resident Wollescote, Worcestershire, enlisted Kidderminster, Worcestershire
Memorial : Stourbridge Old Swinford Hospital School
Also appears on : Stourbridge War Memorial. Lye and Wollescote War Memorial. Lye Christ Church Window. Old Swinford St Mary's Church as Wallace Parton with the additional information: Sgt. Worcs.
Additional information on the memorial: Worcestershire Regiment. Killed in action 1 April 1917. Age 26.
John Parton was born on 12th May 1891, the son of Henry Thomas and Emma Parton of Old Swinford, Worcestershire. He entered Old Swinford Hospital on 20th June 1899 and he left the school on 17th May 1905 when he was apprenticed to Jas. Harris & Son, Stonemasons of Old Swinford.
John Parton enlisted on 1st September 1914 and arrived in France on 1st April 1915. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a gardener by Major G.H. Green, Beech tree House, Old Swinford. According to a letter written by Captain Geoffrey Wallace to Mrs Parton, John was killed in action whilst gallantly leading his men to the attack. He was buried the same evening and his grave was carefully marked.
Source for additional information: Old Foleyans Remembered Casualties of WW1 published by the Old Foleyans Association, October 1998.
The following information has been researched by the Black Country Society:
Jack Parton was born at Wordsley, the elder son of Henry and Emma Parton. The family moved to Stourbridge and lived at 4 Norton Terrace, Stourbridge. 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 quiet, but on the 1st July the Worcesters were engaged in the first day of the attack of the four month battle of the Somme. After the Somme battle 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 give to attack this village on the night of the 1st 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 Military Cross 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.