William Edward Parsons was born in 1890, one of six children to John and Prudence Parsons. John found work in a number of fields, working as a blacksmith, porter, dock labourer and a hobbler (towing boats along the River Parrett) in his time. Throughout this, he lived with his family in the Somerset town of Bridgwater.
William found work as a collar cutter in a local shirt factory, and went on to marry Matilda Mary Temblett on Christmas Day 1913. The young couple went on to have a son – Leslie William – who was born in February 1915. William was teetotal, and played full back for the local rugby football club, Bridgwater Albion.
Sadly, Lance Corporal Parsons’ military records are sparse; he had enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps and was based in Fovant, to the west of Salisbury.
It was while he was on leave that William met his sad fate. On the evening of 5th February 1916, he had seen his parents and had set out to organise a football match in the town. He was walking over the town bridge, when a passer-by heard a splash. He saw a man in the water, who was crying for help, and then disappeared.
William’s body was found in the river a fortnight later close to a local brickyard. He was just 25 years old.
William Edward Parsons lies at rest in St John’s Cemetery in his home town of Bridgwater.