Lieutenant, Francis Newton Parsons VC,
Dover College 1891 – 92
At the beginning of August this year, the Chairman of the Old Dovorian Club received an email from a lady called Mrs Sandra Horton, with regards to a document which had come into her possession with regards to Lieutenant, Francis Newton Parsons VC, who was the first of only two Old Dovorians to be awarded the highest gallantry medal the United Kingdom and Commonwealth can award to members of the armed forces for the acts of valour in time of conflict, namely the Victoria Cross.
This document dated back to May 1918 and is fully signed, within this document give an account is given of Lieutenant, Francis Newton Parsons VC original citation and recommendation to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
This document in fact came into Mrs Sandra Horton’s possession, buried within a bundle of other documents that were given to her by an unassuming elderly lady who she had befriended some years previous, who was an old neighbour of hers some years ago before she moved to Worcestershire.
This unassuming elderly lady, it was later found out was in fact Lieutenant, Francis Parsons VC niece, who Sandra only knew as Miss Parsons, or “Miss P”.
On the passing of Miss Parsons, who had unfortunately no living relatives, as she was a spinster and the only child of her father Doctor Parsons (Lieutenant, Parsons VC, brother).
Her family originally lived in India and were well connected within the Raj at the time before moving back to the UK.
Curiosity got the better of Sandra, so during the recent pandemic, Sandra, together with her daughters, started to undertake some research into the documents that Miss Parsons had left her.
It was then that they came across this amazing document which Sandra has very generously donated to the College.
As a result of some further investigation, Sandra approached Robert McAlpin M71 -76 Chairman of the Old Dovorian Club, to find out a bit more about Lieutenant Parsons VC and his connection to Dover College
After a number of phone calls and subsequent emails between the Old Dovorian Club, and Mike Vanderhoeven, who is the College’s archivist, it was agreed that both the OD Club Chairman, together with Mike Vanderhoeven would visit Sandra to personally pick up this precious document and thank her for her very kind donation to the College’s archives.
This document will be on permanent display alongside a copy of the Victoria Cross, supported with information about Lieutenant Parsons’ time at Dover College within the College Gate House. The Gate House is now the dedicated home for all of the College’s one hundred and fifty years of archives.
There is a memorial plaque to Lieutenant Parsons VC, situated on the Dover College Chapel wall near to the “World War One Remembrance Memorial” dedicated to Old Dovorians who made the ultimate sacrifice in that conflict.
Lieutenant Parsons’ actual Victoria Cross is currently on display at The Essex Regiment Museum, Chelmsford, Essex, England.
If you would like to find out more about Lieutenant Francis Newton Parsons VC, please follow the links below