The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (QX4339) Staff Sergeant Edgar George Jarvis Parry, 2/31st Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Place Middle East: French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon, Lebanon, Jezzine
Accession Number AWM2016.2.78
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 18 March 2016
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Joanne Smedley, the story for this day was on (QX4339) Staff Sergeant Edgar George Jarvis Parry, 2/31st Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

QX4339 Staff Sergeant Edgar George Jarvis Parry, 2/31st Battalion, 2nd AIF
KIA 18 June 1941

Story delivered 18 March 2016

Today we pay tribute to Staff Sergeant Edgar George Jarvis Parry, who was killed on active service during the Second World War.

Born in the Melbourne suburb of Kew on 11 August 1903, Edgar Parry was the son of Edgar and Rhoda Parry. He attended the Peel Street School in Kew, and later Kew Elementary School. When he was just five years old his mother passed away. At the age of nine Edgar signed a pledge to abstain from drinking alcohol – a pledge he honoured throughout his life.

Following school, Parry moved to the Mallee region of Victoria, where he worked as a farm labourer before moving to Queensland to work on his uncle’s property at Kenmore. He followed his uncle to work on another property at Loganholme, and it was here that he met Alice Hope Merriman. They wed on 22 September 1937, and had a son, Richard.

Parry was at his neighbour’s house when news broke that Australia was at war with Germany. He told his neighbour, a Gallipoli veteran, that he would join up, and when enlistment stations opened the following month he did just that.

Parry began training in Queensland, before heading to Liverpool in New South Wales. On 1 January 1940 his second son, Clem, was born. The next month he was given a short period of leave to visit his family. This was the only time he would see Clem, whom he called “Junior”.

In May 1940 Parry embarked for overseas service aboard the Queen Mary, travelling via South Africa to Scotland. There he was posted to the newly formed 2/31st Battalion. After seven months of training – a highlight of which was a visit to the battalion from King George VI – the 2/31st was posted to join the rest of the 7th Division in the Middle East.

The battalion took up garrison duties in Palestine and Egypt, returning to Palestine at the end of May to take part in the 25th Brigade’s first offensive operation – the invasion of Syria and Lebanon. Around this time Parry spent two weeks in hospital after an old back injury from his farming days flared up. He was able to re-join his battalion for its first major engagement in eastern Lebanon around Khirbe in early June.

The 2/31st Battalion was then ordered to capture the town of Jezzine, which controlled one of the routes to the coast. The town fell to the battalion on 14 June, but was heavily counter-attacked by the Vichy French. It was here on 18 June 1941 that Parry was killed in action when an enemy aircraft bombed the town of Jezzine. At the time he was in a hotel being used as a distribution centre for rations and supplies, and the building was destroyed in the bombing.

Edgar Parry was 37 years old. He was buried in the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery at Beirut, Lebanon.

Parry’s name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 others from the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection where he can be seen sitting in the front row, sixth from left.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Staff Sergeant Edgar George Jarvis Parry, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

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