A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Events - Indian Railway Accident -
- 30 August 1916 -


A collision between an Indian railways passenger train and a goods train resulted in the deaths of two artillery NCOs, one of whom was associated with Ventnor.

Event details


Staff-Sergeant T Morris writes : "A shocking accident happened between Ambala and Saharunpur, on the main line to Lucknow, last night (30th August 1916), when a mail train ran into a goods, with the result that Sergt-Major W J Parr (Ventnor) and Bomdr. A R Richards were killed. Both non-commissioned officers belonged to the 2nd Wessex Brigade R.F.A., and were on their way to Mussoorie for a month's holiday when the accident happened. They were travelling in a through carriage next to the engine, Sergt-Major Parr and Bomdr. Richards occupying the lower sleeping berths. Bomdr. Gordon, who was also in the same carriage, had a most miraculous escape, and undoubtedly owes his life to the fact that he was sleeping in an upper berth. The funeral, which was an imposing one, for both were accorded full military honours, took place the following afternoon. The coffins, draped with Union Jacks, and covered with floral tributes from sorrowing comrades, were taken to the cemetery on two gun-carriages, drawn by teams of selected black horses belonging to the 1/6th Hants (Bournemouth) Battery. The drivers of the gun-carriage on which the body of Sergt.-Major Parr rested were Sergts. Scott, Dodge, and Sleeman, with Sergt. Lander as No. 1. A firing party and band were provided by the 1/6th Hants (Portsmouth) Battalion, and at the conclusion of the "three volleys" the "last post" was sounded by the massed bugles of the same battalion. The whole of the arrangements were in the hands of Sergt. Tom Lander (Christchurch) who did everything that was possible, and the proceedings from start to finish went off without a hitch. Mention ought to be made, too, of the way the 1/6th Hants Battery as a whole turned out and paid tribute to the men of the Island Brigade. Sergt-Major Parr, who is well known in Ventnor, was for many years the permanent staff-instructor to the 4th Hants Battery. He was a good and pains-taking instructor, and it is not too much to say that he was mainly responsible for the efficient state the battery was in at the outbreak of war. Of smart soldier-like appearance, he was looked up to and respected by the men under him. A good horseman, a keen shot, in fact, an all-round sportsman, he was always ready to take an active part in anything going on. A soldier of the old school, he died as he had lived, in harness. Great sympathy is extended to his sorrowing widow and family. Bomdr. Richards was a very promising N.C.O. and had been for some time pay-sergeant to the Depot. He formerly belonged to the 1/5th Hants Battery, and had been invalided from Mesopotamia. He captained the Depot cricket team, and was not unknown in football circles. He was very popular amongst his brother non-commissioned officers and was the life and soul of the office. Much sympathy is felt for his parents who have lost so promising a son in the prime of his life."

Article taken from : The Isle of Wight County Press 23 September 1916

Those who died
and Name
BornReferences Pension record card

From an album kept by
Gunner John Harold Meader,
courtesy of Sharon Beddard

click to enlarge
Battery Sergeant Major      
William John Parr
Benares, East Indies      CWGC record ...

click to enlarge
Acting Bombardier
Arthur Ryman Richards
Oxford CWGC record ...

click to enlarge


Friday, September 15, 1916 Page 1

As the result of a railway accident in India, the death was announced last week of Sergt.-Major Parr, who will be remembered as having been associated with the Howitzer Battery in Ventnor for several years. A fine soldier - keen in his work and courteous with all he had dealings with - his death will be deeply regretted and sincere condolence will be extended to the widow and family in their bereavement. Sergt. Parr had been on active service since the outbreak of war.


Friday, October 6, 1916 Page 5

Mrs. Parr, 1, Hawthorne Villas, Park View, Ventnor, desires to return thanks for the many kind expressions of sympathy she has received in the death of her husband, Sergt.-Major W.J. Parr. - October 5th, 1916


Friday, August 24, 1917 Page 2

In loving memory of my darling husband, Sergt.-Major W.J. Parr, killed in railway collision in India, August 30th, 1916. - From his loving wife and children.


Friday, August 30, 1918 Page 2

PARR. - In loving memory of my darling husband, Battery S.-M. W.J. Parr, who died in India August 30th, 1916. Sadly missed by his sorrowing wife and children.


Friday, October 18, 1918 Page 2

Another death is that of Mrs. Parr, of Dudley Terrace, who succumbed to the effects of an operation in London, last Friday. She was the widow of Sergt. W.J. Parr, formerly instructor of the Howitzer Battery at Ventnor, who it will be remembered met his death as the result of a railway accident in India in 1916. Four young children are thus bereaved.

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Page last updated : 16 June 2013 - thanks to Janet Griffin for additional newspaper research


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