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domwalsh

Famous Titanic Photo: newsvendor Ned Parfett kia 1918

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The upsurge of interest in the fate of the Titanic in recent years has meant a repeated airing for one of the most enduring images of that disaster: the youthful news vendor on a London street corner holding a poster announcing the disaster.

Ned_Parfett.jpg

Though the loss of life from the sinking of the ship in 1912 is well-documented, the picture hides a private tragedy. Six years later that young man - my great-uncle, Ned Parfett - was killed at 22 during a German bombardment while serving in France,days before the Armistice.

He had enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1916, serving for a period as a dispatch rider before being assigned to reconnaissance duties. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Military Medal for his gallant conduct during a series of missions.

After his death, the officer who recommended him for the award wrote to one his brothers: "On many occasions he accompanied me during severe shelling and I always placed the greatest confidence in him."

Ned, after whom my father was named, was one of four brothers from Cornwall Road, Waterloo, who served their country. One served in the disastrous Dardanelles landings in 1915, surviving to become part of the army of occupation in Germany. Another emerged unscathed from the slaughter of the Somme, only to be wounded and gassed at the third battle of Ypres.

Of the four brothers, only Ned failed to make it. He died on October 29, 1918, near Valenciennes, when a shell landed on the quartermaster's stores just as he was collecting some clothes before going home on leave. If he had survived the attack, he would have been at home when the Armistice was signed. He lies in the British cemetery at Verchain-Maugre.

The famous image of Ned on the corner of Trafalgar Square has assured him a place in history. His medals and the gravestone in a corner of a French cemetery ensure that his bravery will not be forgotten by his family, despite the passing of the years.

post-1778-1169561785.jpg

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Thank you for posting this information its both interesting and moving. Gareth

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Thank you very much for the post.

It's easy to forget that it's people with lives in photographs.

Excellent post

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Thanks, Dom, for sharing the poignant story that accompanies this famous photo, which helps remind us that people in photos are not anonymous, just because we happen not to know who they are.

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Hello Dom !

Many thanks for such an interesting, yet sad, story about your great-uncle. Like many millions of people, I have seen this famous image reproduced in countless publications about the Titanic tragedy - never knowing that his life was cut short during the Great War.

Regards

Wayne

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Thanks for your comments, guys. It is indeed a very poignant story. Must see if I can dig out a photo of him in uniform and post it.

Dom

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Yes please Dom !

Thanks & regards

Wayne

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As others have said, a fascinating and moving story. Thanks.

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Yet again a remarkable story hits the forum. The number of times I have seen this photo and never once thought this young lads fate was to die on the battlefielfs of France.

Thanks for sharing the info on young Ned a hero til the last.

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

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I echo what others have said.

Bernard

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I echo what others have said.

Bernard

Dom

Thank you for that. Such accounts demonstrate the indescriminate aspect of war, and help us to focus on individual deed and tradgedy rather than action and casualty number.

Once again

Thank you

Bob

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Yes a story that seems to illustrate that fated era. I would like to share the tale, with your permission, with the members of my living history group, by reproducing it in our news letter, as I know they will be as interested as I am.

It is little compensation, but you do have the photos, to "remember" your Great Uncle by, I wish I could say the same.

Gareth

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Extraordinary, to become one of the iconic images of a great tragedy, and then the victim of another which affected many, many more.

Thanks for telling us his story.

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Thanks again to all for your comments, much appreciated. Gareth, you're most welcome to use the story in any way you see fit.

Best regards,

Dom

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Yes indeed, an excellent post Dom! I see the ability to disseminate startling news continues to run in your family! :) As a matter of interest, are you the present keeper of Ned's medals? And like others here, I too would be very interested to see a picture of him in uniform.

Ciao,

GAC

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Indeed, newspapers are clearly in the blood! My father (also Ned) has his MM and pair. I will do my best on posting more photos. My scanner is knackered but will see if I can do another way.

Best,

Dom

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Dom,

A most interesting and sad story. Have seen the photograph in a number of publications, now I know that the story of the young newpaper-vendor had a sad ending.

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Thanks for sharing this with us. Have you looked for his service record at Kew? If not, let me know and I'll try and find it for you

Mick

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Thanks for this story.

Kim

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What a fascinating and tragic tale. Thanks for sharing that.

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Thanks for the offer Mick, but I have his service records.

Cheers,

Dom

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I don’t normally post anymore...BUT just had to write and tell you how moved I was buy your posting. I have known that photo all my life having a life-long interest in Titanic; what a tremendous treat to learn who that young man was, and who he later became.

I would love to see other photo's of him during the Great War if any exist, or a photo of his medals.

Thanks for your posting. :)

Regards,

David

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Great posting... stories behind the photos

John

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Very, very moving.

Thanks for the post, and more if possible.

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