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Remembered Today:

Captain Cyril Parry Royal Welsh Fusiliers RFC RAF DFC dob 1895


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clivefarmer

Advice need on the above .His MIC does not record his DFC or campaign medals .He first served by 1915 in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers according to the MIC but I cannot find any trace of his service before he transferred to the RFC . Neither can I locate the equivalent of the RFC/RAF war diaries for the relevant period.  The Squadrons he served in were the 56th and 60th . The MIC does not specify what battalion of the RWF he served in. It seems unusual for a private soldier to gain a commission in the RFC I think .  Generally any help on his service details would be welcome .

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  Familiar problems - Have a better go at it later.

 

Army personnel transferring to  RFC, then RAF-  Yes, dead easy for the RAF stuff but army very frequently a problem.   Commonest problem seems-for me at least-is service after the war and for some reason the army service file goes awry-even though Ancestry/FMP are full of piddling RAF cards.

 

Quite often army service is notional before assignment to RFC. Seemed to have been the rule that men were commissioned into one regiment- with the actuality the Colonel of the Regiment never laid eyes on them -BUT immediately seconded to RFC. God knows why but this notional commission into another regiment seems to have been used for a long time before direct commission to RFC/RAF came along. Will be interested in what the air experts say when they come along and keeping my fingers crossed along with you.

 

   Could his first service in 1915 have been the notional allocation to a regiment under the Derby Scheme call-ups to attest at the end of 1915???  

Best wishes

Mike

V60

 

Although Kew is closed and his file is not digitised I presume  this is it.  (Not helped by my latent anti-cymric belief that half the middle class in Wales are called Cyril Parry :wub:)     So we may have to wait until The National Archives opens again. If it is him, then even the archive entry holds a clue- Normally, with "commissioned up" then it includes previous service  at a rank stated even in the entry for his officer file- None here which suggests his connection with RWF was notional- perhaps to Army  Reserve- anyway. 

    Out of interest, what was he doing from the outbreak  of war until he joined in 1915??

 

On Squadron "war diaries"-  well, not really done along the lines of the standard infantry battalion ones (the ones that are free at the moment)  but the combat reports are useful. There is also a file of combat report file at TNA for a 56 Squadron officer- a certain Captain A.Ball....   No prizes on that one.

 

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clivefarmer

Hi Mike   I had assumed the  RWF part of his service was actual rather than notional . He lived in Wrexham 1911 and the census has him as an apprentice draughtsman in the local steelworks and it is likely that he continued his apprenticeship until his war service . He would have been 20 in 1915 . There is a note on his RAF papers that he gained a prize for engineering but googling  for the name of the prize produces nothing probably the award has long been defunct . The steelworks closed down in 1990 .

 

This one is not going to be easy I think . I have found a nice photo of him after the award of the DFC so I am making some progress .

 

Thanks for your comments so far 

Clive 

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47 minutes ago, clivefarmer said:

Hi Mike   I had assumed the  RWF part of his service was actual rather than notional . He lived in Wrexham 1911 and the census has him as an apprentice draughtsman in the local steelworks and it is likely that he continued his apprenticeship until his war service . He would have been 20 in 1915 . There is a note on his RAF papers that he gained a prize for engineering but googling  for the name of the prize produces nothing probably the award has long been defunct . The steelworks closed down in 1990 .

 

This one is not going to be easy I think . I have found a nice photo of him after the award of the DFC so I am making some progress .

 

Thanks for your comments so far 

Clive 

 

     His commission application in the officer file should nail it, if there.  Standard "commissioned up" applications have past and current service as two of the questions- and the "current address" is  usually a dead giveaway-  if in the Ranks, then it is usually something like "Private  620008 Bloggs, J.   c/o 6th Royal Loamshires, Catterick Camp"  Time will tell- Nil desperandum.

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clive_hughes

His name does not appear on the list of WW1 officers of the RWF which is held by that regiment's museum.  

 

Looking at the MICard, it says he first served overseas as 200108 RWF, so in fact an Other Rank, who was commissioned on 29.8.17.  The number block is consistent with someone in the 4th (Denbighshire) Battalion RWF (Territorial Force), which renumbered its personnel starting at 200001 at the start of 1917.  If so he looks to have been a 1914 or even earlier soldier, since the numbering was calculated on the grounds of length of service.  

 

It might also suggest he hadn't been deployed abroad until after early 1917, if that was his number on landing in France.   The 1914 embarkation rolls for 1/4th RWF suggest that 200107 Albert E. Hughes was previously no. 6293, and 200111 Alfred E. Owens was no.6327, so Parry's original number would lie between those two. 

 

Clive Hughes

 

 

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According to his Casualty Form he was General List.

 

https://www.casualtyforms.org/form/18172

 

His WO 339 file (see Voltaire's post) should contain what there is of his pre-RFC army service, including his enlistment.  Unfortunately you will probably have to go to Kew for it.

 

The NA seem to have quite a bit for 56 Squadron too.

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clivefarmer

Thanks for all the comments  . As to his entry date for France/Flanders his MIC has a note "eligible for 14/15 star " which means he would  have arrived at the latest 31/12/1915 . I am searching the War Diaries for 4th Batt RWF to see if by any chance he is mentioned .  These particular diaries do mention soldiers by name not just officers so its worth a try .Frustrating that some info will require  a visit to Kew but so be it .

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  • 2 months later...

Cyril Parry was my paternal grandfather. I believe he was a machine gun trainer based near Newmarket. In his spare time he exercised racehorses some of whom belonged to officers in RFC   
 

Cyril was a very personable and talented man with big ambitions (later becoming a leading successful civil engineer with several worldwide patents). He made quite an impression with the officers and was encouraged to join the RFC. 

 

There are quite a few references to him in the book Cullen VC. Blue Skys. 
 

 

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Dredging my memory banks. I think my grandad crashed (while taking off) towards the end of the war.

 

As per my earlier post, he was an extremely good civil engineer Cyril Parry Consulting Engineers Ltd - based in Muswell Hill in North London.  My late father (also a leading civil engineer), told me that he learned to drive in a Rolls Royce and that whilst not the happiest of households, he was a leader in his field. 

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clivefarmer

I have built up a large amount of information about Cyril Parry . Yes he was involved in a serious crash which ended his flying career . Give me a couple of days and I will summarize what I have found and would be very grateful to add anything you can tell me . I am researching Cyril Parry for a friend who worked for him towards the end of his career .

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Clive - small world!

My father (Theo) worked with his father until he retired and I suspect I would know the name of your friend if he worked for the firm. My Dad died a couple of years ago, although my Mum  is lives nearby. 
 

if you want to contact me direct (or your friend) my email address is grahammparry@gmail.com 

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  • 3 weeks later...
richardparry
On 28/01/2021 at 17:09, clivefarmer said:

Advice need on the above .His MIC does not record his DFC or campaign medals .He first served by 1915 in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers according to the MIC but I cannot find any trace of his service before he transferred to the RFC . Neither can I locate the equivalent of the RFC/RAF war diaries for the relevant period.  The Squadrons he served in were the 56th and 60th . The MIC does not specify what battalion of the RWF he served in. It seems unusual for a private soldier to gain a commission in the RFC I think .  Generally any help on his service details would be welcome .

Hi Clive,

 

What i've learnt from my family was that he got into the rfc on account of looking after the officers horses and being good at 'getting them going'. He was  a machine gun instructor before then too, I think. Best wishes

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clive_hughes

Thanks richardparry.  

 

There was a printed history of the 4th Battalion RWF and I understand it ran to three editions, with the last (and most comprehensive) one being issued in paperback.  However, like so many unit histories of the post-war period it's beyond my pocket.  

 

?Possibly Wrexham Library have copies.  I know the Regimental archives in Wrexham Museum have at least one copy, but not sure how accessible it is since some stuff is still crated up after the move there from their previous premises a few years ago.  

 

Clive

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He is not in the Honours List of the printed history referred to by Clive above. There is no name index to the book.

 

He is in the Spring 1919Absent Voters as Capt Cyril Parry, RAF at 1 Woodland Road, Moss , Wrexham.

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clivefarmer
On 28/04/2021 at 19:56, Parry said:

Cyril Parry was my paternal grandfather. I believe he was a machine gun trainer based near Newmarket. In his spare time he exercised racehorses some of whom belonged to officers in RFC   
 

Cyril was a very personable and talented man with big ambitions (later becoming a leading successful civil engineer with several worldwide patents). He made quite an impression with the officers and was encouraged to join the RFC. 

 

There are quite a few references to him in the book Cullen VC. Blue Skys. 
 

 

 

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clivefarmer

I hope you can help , I am trying to trace the book you mention , there are no records for anyone with the surname CULLEN being awarded the Victoria Cross . Perhaps I misunderstood the reference 

 

best wishes 

Clive Farmer

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Sorry. It was McCudden VC. I think one of the reasons for my grandfather’s rapid rise from the ranks was due to him being highly personable and intelligent (as evidenced by his success after the war ended) AND the fact that McCudden empathised with him and his working class origins. McCudden unlike most officers he was there on merit, not through privilege. 
McCudden was the first Pilot in RFC to be awarded the VC

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James McCudden VC

joined as a mechanic before training as a pilot. He was subjected to the snobbery prevalent in RFC at that time and was rejected due to his background from several other squadrons. As per earlier post, he probably empathised closely with my grandfather. 

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2 hours ago, Parry said:

McCudden was the first Pilot in RFC to be awarded the VC

I think you'll find that was W.B. Rhodes Moorhouse in 1915, but McCudden was certainly a star.

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  • 2 weeks later...
clivefarmer

Greetings. I started this thread to try and establish the timeline for Cyril Parry joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and then the RFC . I have found additional data  . Cyril Parry served alongside James Mccudden VC in 56 Squadron and I have obtained a book on Mccudden  (THE HAPPY WARRIOR by Alex Revell , a 2015 reprint of the original 1929 edition ) A comment on Cyril Parry in the book reads "“Cyril Parry , a Welshman , was typical of the new officers who were bringing a  more professional outlook to the business of fighting in the air .He had joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers as a band boy in 1907 and by 1917 was an NCO weapons instructor .Watching with increasing frustration each draft of men he had trained leaving for France he transferred to the RFC reporting to the Central Flying School in October 1917 “

 

The timeline for Cyril Parry is DOB 24/1/1895 , so at the date of him joining as a bandboy in 1907 he would have been 12 , presumably school in the day time and band practise etc evening and weekends ? Whether in 1917 as an NCO as a weapons instructor he was still serving with the RWF it does not say but his MIC mentions no other army units .According to the LLT  a number of RWF battalions remained in Britain throughout the war but as I presume they did not maintain War Diaries I have no idea how to find out which Battalion or where they were based . The main discrepancy is the implication in the extract that he stayed in Britain  up to 1917 "watching each draft of men leaving for France ". However his medal roll for the 1914./1915 Star states he entered France/Flanders on 17/7/1915 . The book does not quote the source of the information but in other respects seems well researched . In any one can throw more light on this I would be most grateful.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

That's right.

The MIC lists the first unit that the soldier belonged to when he qualified for a medal.

Generally that is the first unit in which he served in a war theatre, in this case France and Flanders in 1915.

It does not list units prior to the qualification date, but will list units the man was transferred to after this date.

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High in the Empty Blue is the history of 56 Squadron and there are a dozen or so mentions made of Cyril Parry and his exploits. There are photographs of him meeting the king etc although McCudden features greatly throughout. 
 

I know queries were raised how could a working class bugle boy make it into RFC however he was a very very smart guy with an ambition without boundaries. That said he did have a darker side to him and although a multi millionaire through his civil engineering achievements he did leave have an unsatisfactory personal life. 
 

 

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