Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Born at Ashton Under Lyne, Lancashire in 1897, William Archie was a late arrival on the scene at Portsmouth. That he came to Portsmouth at all was almost certainly due to his father's work as an engineer and millwright - skills that were in great demand in the Dockyard as Britain's Dreadnoughts were under construction.
Archie Parsons had been born at Exeter in 1872 and married Bessie Emma Christopher at Saddleworth in Yorkshire in 1895. Bessie had been born in Dorchester in 1875. The couple were living at Ashton Under Lyne by the time that William was born and stayed there long enough for a second son, Albert to be born the following year. The move to Portsmouth happened sometime in the 1900s and in the 1911 census they were listed as living at 16 Hellyer Road, off Highland Road, Southsea. One more son, Christopher, had been born after the arrival in Portsmouth.
William Archie was 17 years old at the outbreak of the Great War and would have already been a member of the Royal Navy serving as a signalman. In November 1914 he was aboard HMS Bulwark which was ripped apart by a powerful explosion on the morning of the 26th whilst she was moored near Sheerness. Only 14 of her crew got out alive; William Archie Parsons was not among them.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Ordinary Signalman William Archie Parsons, (J/24088), Royal Navy, HMS Bulwark, died 26/11/1914, age 18. Named on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 3). Son of Archie M. and Bessie E. Parsons, of 16, Hellyer Rd., East Southsea, Hants.
William Parsons is also commemorated on the Trinity Methodist Church WW1 Memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
September 2014