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.
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.