Sergeant Andrew Parsons

2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment,

Died of Wounds, 28th June 1916,

From Cashel, Co. Tipperary,

Aged 21

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Andrew was born in May 1895 in St. Mary’s, near the Rock of Cashel, to John and Bridget Parsons. The 1901 Census gives us a more fuller picture of the family. Living in the townland of Loughnafina, Cashel, we have John (40) a general servant, Bridget (36) also a general servant, Edward (20) a general labourer, then Willie (11), Andrew (6) and Bridget (4), complete the family. This was house number four of six in the townland. Very basic country dwelling, something like a lodge or outhouse leased to him by his neighbour and landlord, who being more well-to-do and prosperous has come to some sort of arrangement in using the two men of the family for work in and about his property.

Andrew enlisted into the 2nd battalion the Leinster Regiment at Clonmel around August/September 1914, right at the very start of the First World War.This was in no doubt hastened,by the fact that his elder brother Willie, a Royal Munster Fusilier since 1909 and an original member of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), was killed during the famous rearguard action at Etreux on 27th August 1914.

Following his period of training firstly at Fermoy and then at Cambridge in the UK, the battalion arrived in France on 10th September. Andrew was not part of this initial deployment. He arrived over a month later on the 25th of October after the battalion had suffered terrible casualties at Premesque ( 434, of which 155 were killed).

He was now part of the 73rd Brigade in the 24th Division. We pick Andrew up in June 1916. Barely twenty years of age he was now a Sergeant and his rapid promotion augured well. He has seen action at Hooge during the summer of 1915 and in front of Messines in April 1916. The battalion was still in Belgium now, as all others gathered up for the push on the Somme. Andrew went on leave for a few days in June before returning to the front line at the end of the month.

Men of the 2nd Battalion The Leinster Regiment Photo from www.oldsite.leinster-regiment-association.org.uk
Men of the 2nd Battalion The Leinster Regiment
Photo from http://www.oldsite.leinster-regiment-association.org.uk

The end of June found the battalion occupying trenches along the Kemmel to Wyschaete road. A quiet sector considering what was to go on elsewhere on the Somme a few days later. The war diary reveals little information regarding the 27th/28th June. From what I can make out is that battalion were about to be relieved on 28th by the 7th Northants. The war diary for the 28th mentions that the last few days in the trenches there was shelling from whizzbangs, trench mortars bombs and rifle grenades, frequently. It seems fair to assume that sometime during the early morning of the 28th, one of these shells/bombs has exploded near Andrew, fatally wounding him. He lived for a few more, hours dying at 12.30 in the casualty clearing station.

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Andrew is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.

“HE SAW BEYOND THE FILTH
OF BATTLE, AND THOUGHT DEATH
A FAIR PRICE TO PAY
TO BELONG TO THE COMPANY
OF THESE FELLOWS”

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