Ned Parfett: The Titanic Newsboy

One of the most recognisable and widely produced images following the loss of the ‘Titanic’ was that of a young newsboy in Trafalgar Square, his poster saying “Titanic Disaster Great loss of life.” That young boy was Ned Parfett born in 1896, and one of four brothers from Cornwall Road, Waterloo. Tragically, six and a half years after this picture was taken, Ned was killed while serving with the British army in France. He was 22.

Ned enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in 1916, serving as a despatch driver then moving onto reconnaissance duties. He was awarded the Military Medal and mentioned in despatches for his gallant conduct during a series of missions at the front.

He died on 29 October 1918, just two weeks before the end of the war, when a shell landed on the Quartermaster’s stores as he was picking up some clothes before going on leave. After his death, the officer who recommended Ned 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.’


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