Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
6 Jun 1917
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Sapper Reuben Edward Parris, 524535, 105th Field Company Royal Engineers, was killed in action at Messines Ridge on June 6th, 1917.
Official notification of his death from the War Office reached his widow Elizabeth at their home at 81 Ash Road, Luton, ten days later. The couple had arrived in Luton from Coventry, where they were living at the time of the 1911 Census. Reuben first worked at George Kent's before becoming a foreman moulder at the Skefko Works and then returning to work at Kent's.
The couple had married on December 23rd, 1905, and had three children - Philip Alfred (born 1907), William Charlie (born 1909) and Gordon Frank (born 1912).
Reuben's military career had begun in 1898 at the age of 20. He joined the East Surrey Regiment and served in South Africa during the Boer War, gaining the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Two days before the Relief of Ladysmith in 1900 he volunteered to undertake a dangerous mission to deliver an important despatch to another battalion within sight of the enemy. As he was about to accomplish his task he was struck by a sniper's bullet and fell wounded within yards of safety, another man coming to his rescue. The bullet had lodged within about half an inch of his heart and he was taken to hospital.
Returning from South Africa he gained his discharge, but in October 1915 he joined the East Anglian Royal Engineers and just before Easter 1917 he was drafted to France.
Since arriving in Luton, Reuben had become a member of the Beech Hill Unionist Club.