Blaisdon, Gloucestershire, England: The Unreturned Returned

Harold Burcher Jones was a Territorial; it meant that when war broke out, he was immediately called up. He became a Private and then promoted as unpaid Lance-Corporal in the 1st/2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment. He arrived in France on November 5th 1914.

He had leave back at home in January 1916 and was expecting to go on another period of leave when he was killed in action on January 28th 1917. He was just 21 years of age.

Harold was a stretcher-bearer and according to one of his pals, was killed when bandaging an injured comrade, who was also killed. They were buried side by side with wooden crosses marking their graves.

Harold was the son of Martha and Daniel Jones of Woodgreen, Blaisdon in Gloucestershire. His father was a gamekeeper. Before being called up, Harold was a shunter for the Great Western Railway at Crumlin High Level, Monmouthshire.

On February 18th 1917, his friends and family paid tribute to him with a memorial service at Blaisdon Church.

On the gravestone of what is probably his baby sister, Margaret is the memorial to Harold.

HaroldBJonesBlaisdon

Also to Harold B. Jones

Who was killed in France

January 28th 1917 aged 21 years

HaroldBurcherJonesBlaisdon
Harold Burcher Jones

 

In 1920 his remains were reburied at the A.I.F. Cemetery at the village of Flers south of Bapaume in France. He along with six other 1st/2nd Battalion Monmouthshire soldiers were moved. His remains lie next to the graves of at least another fourteen unknown British soldiers taken from the battlefields of the Somme. But one thing is certain one of those six Monmouthshire boys was the comrade Harold tried to help when he was killed.

In 1921, his mother wrote to ask if she was entitled to a war plaque and scroll for the loss of her son; she had received his 1914 Star but was hoping to receive something that she felt that after her boy’s death she was entitled to. I can only hope that she did.

 


 

Lance Corporal Frederick Thomas James Parslow served with the 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.

FredParslowBlaisdon
Frederick Thomas James Parslow

Fred Parslow joined his group in May 1916 and went to France in October attached to the Gloucestershire Regiment. On November 17th 1916, he had been in the trenches less than an hour when a shell exploded. The shrapnel hit his legs causing major injuries to his thighs. Despite receiving treatment at the base hospital, Fred was sent back to Britain on November 24th. He arrived at Bangour Hospital in Edinburgh for treatment and care, but septic poisoning set in. Lance Corporal Parslow died at Bangour Hospital in Edinburgh on December 18th 1916 from wounds received in action. He was 39 years old.

His body was transported home where his body was laid in the Church at Blaisdon before being buried on December 23rd 1916, two days before Christmas. His father was the sub-postmaster and the family lived at the post office; his father had died in June 1915. He had been working as a carpenter.

BlaisdonChurch

Fred was buried in the shadow of the church, where he lies still. The church where he had worshipped, been a bell-ringer in the village, where he had lived all of his life. The assistant overseer for the villager, like his father before him. The muffled bells pealed as the villagers said goodbye to one of their own. The only time he had left home was when he joined up; but at least he did return. They could bid their farewells in the place where he came from.

ParslowBlaisdon

 


 

BlaisdonView

There is a joint war memorial plaque for both of the major world wars inside the church. A church which sits on a prominent position with glorious views across the river valley below down to the Severn. It is quiet and only the gentle wanderings of dog-walkers disturb the landscape.

BlaisdonWarMemorialPlaque

The stone cross war memorial sits down below on the lane. It is sat back staring down at passers-by daring anyone to ignore the solid reminder of the cost of war. Both Fred Parslow and Harold Jones are named upon it. Members of both the returned and unreturned army of Blaisdon.

BlaisdonWarMemorialBlaisdonWarMemorialdetails

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