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This blog post has been contributed by Susan Martin, a volunteer working on the Queen Street project.


John Parry Thorne was born in Wolverhampton in 1888, the younger son of George Rennie Thorne and Susan Mary (nee Jones). John had an elder brother, George, and elder sisters Margaret and Mary. George Rennie Thorne (born 1853) was a solicitor and preacher (Wikipedia says he was a baptist). He was mayor of Wolverhampton 1902-1903, JP and chairman of South Staffordshire Joint Smallpox Hospital from its formation. He twice stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a Liberal before being elected in the Wolverhampton East by-election on 5th May 1908, winning by eight votes. At the time of his election he was in favour of free trade, old age pensions, restriction of working hours for miners, women’s suffrage and Irish home rule. He sat in parliament until 10th May 1929.

In 1891 the young John Parry was living in Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton and in 1901 the family was at The Gorge, Ettingshall. He was educated at Tettenhall College and then followed his father and became a solicitor. On the 1911 census he was living in Goldthorn Road, Wolverhampton with his brother George who was also a solicitor, sister Mary and a servant. His parents and sister Margaret were in London.

John Parry attested in Walsall on 21/9/1914 joined the 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment as a private (Regimental number 9394) 5ft 9ins tall, brown hair, grey eyes, and disembarked in France on 5/3/1915. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 13/6/1915. On 28/2/1916 he was on instructional duty bomb throwing at Prouville when a defective bomb burst just as the pin was being withdrawn. He was two yards away and received splinters to his right temple and several over both hands and both legs. All the wounds were small and superficial. He travelled back to England on 3/3/1916 on the hospital ship Munich. On the 4/4/1916 he attended a medical board at Lichfield and he was assessed as fit to resume service. The first day of the Somme offensive (1/7/1916) saw the Battalion take part in the attack at Gommecourt. John was killed in action and his body never recovered. His soldiers effects came to £66 6s. John Parry is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 7B), Tettenhall College Roll of Honour and the Queen Street Congregational Church Roll of Honour. Sadly, the Wikipedia entry for his father says his father had two daughters with no mention of John Parry (or his brother).