One of the most memorial pictures to come out of the Titanic Disaster was of a newsboy standing in Trafalgar Square selling the newspapers that told the world of the ship’s sinking, the picture was taken on 16 April 1912, just 24 hours after the Titanic went down. The newsboy that morning was a young sixteen-year-old Ned Parfett often known as The Titanic Newsboy.
Ned was born in 1896, the son of Son of George & Honorah Parfett, he was one of four brothers from Cornwall Road, Waterloo, London and in just a few short years after the famous picture was taken all four brothers would have joined ‘For King and Country’ during World War One.
One of Ned’s brothers joined up and served in the Dardanelles campaign of 1915 and went on to survive the war. Another brother served in The Battle of the Somme in 1916 he also survived the war as did Ned’s third brother.
Ned Parfett enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1916 as The Battle of The Somme raged, he first served as a dispatch rider and then moved to reconnaissance duties, during this time he was awarded the Military Medal and mentioned in dispatches.
On 29 October 1918, during the closing days of World War One, Ned was near Valenciennes in Northern France. He was on his way home on leave and stopped at the quartermaster’s clothing stores to get some new uniforms. Whilst collecting his uniform a German shell hit the stores and Ned was killed instantly.
Ned died just thirteen days before the signing of the armistice, had he decided to travel home in his ‘old uniform’ Ned would have been at home when the armistice was announced on 11 November 1918.
Following Ned’s death an officer, who earlier recommended him for special recognition, wrote to one of his brothers:
“On many occasions he accompanied me during severe shelling and I always placed the greatest confidence in him.”
Ned is buried, near to where he fell, in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Verchain–Maugre in France.