John Frederick Paramor
Born January - March 1894 - Killed in Action 3rd October 1915

    John Frederick Paramor (nicknamed Jack) was the eldest son of William and Charlotte Annie Paramor. He was born at No.1 The Drove, a small Victorian cottage on the outskirts of the small village of Nonington, Kent. The family originated from those villages of south east Kent around Dover and had a strong tradition of the family’s menfolk working at sea. William, John’s father had been a sailor away at sea since the age of sixteen and became a Captain in the Merchant Navy towards the end of the nineteenth century. Father William was in many senses a man of the world, his voyages taking him around the world and meeting people of many lands. Not least amongst these around the time our John was born involved a number of voyages as Chief Officer with his second mate Joseph Conrad - the later author of ‘Nostromo’, ‘the Secret Agent’ and others with whom the Dent Publishing House was to have such a lucrative relationship. His adventures included piloting packet boats up the Tigris and amongst other things being shipwrecked off a guano-filled island off Samoa, an experience some feel served as inspiration for the Chester ‘holy terror’ episode in ‘Lord Jim’. Meanwhile John’s mother Charlotte was a schoolmistress and mother - the family having moved to Leyton.

Here, while William was at sea, mother Charlotte headed the family of five children at 76 Warren Road, Leyton. Here John lived with his younger brother Frank and sisters Evelyn, Helen and Marjorie and perhaps it could not be helped if he grew up a romantic individual with the imagination and love for life of the poet and eyes opened to opportunities far beyond his new suburban home.

John attended Bancroft’s as a day boy. At school he was noted for his intellect, questioning nature and modern approach to social issues of the day. He loved literature, was a dedicated poet and writer. He was possessed of a marked social conscience also and was a moving force of the school’s vigorous debating society of which he was secretary in 1911. Here, opposed in the motion by the likes of Robert Dunham Tibbs and Leonard Alfred Whillier we find him speaking vigorously in favour of ‘Home Rule for Ireland’. On another occasion John spoke against the introduction of military conscription, this time in rhetorical combat with Robert Tibbs again and Maurice Herbert Wood. All this combined with his being a leading contributor and active thinker on the editorial staff of the school magazine. The freedom to debate contentious issues of the day was to be later taken up by another of our boys Sydney Stranger Chaplin.

He was to some a quiet individual even shy perhaps, but nonetheless possessed of a proud spirit. It is remarkable in an age when much about education had a distinctly draconian edge that John’s talents found the room for expression and were greatly respected by those around him staff and boys.
In the debating society he presented talks on ‘the American humorists’ and won the ‘Trower’ History Prize. Aged 15 years he wrote:

He was a great lover of the countryside and like many of his generation would wonder at the beauty of nature on long walks in the countryside. In the sixth form as West House monitor he shared that position with others of our number like Maurice Herbert Wood, Leonard Alfred Whillier and Robert Dunham Tibbs. That same year – 1910 - he matriculated from school and was placed in the first division. No stranger to controversy on his leaving John donated to the school library: De Quincey’s : ‘Confessions of an English Opium eater.’ He then went to the Strand School. From here John was later to be successful in the Civil Service examinations and obtained a position with the Accountant Generals Office (GPO).

He appears a young man of charming disposition and the power of John’s charms upon the fairer sex are evident in what is preserved by his surviving family as a wonderful keepsake of this one of our boys. He was always ready to oblige a landlady’s daughter with a witty even ‘saucy’ verse for her autograph album. The following was written for one Ivy Miller on the 3rd June 1914.
Those pre-war summers were good times and are marked for John with not a little romance. It was the custom of his mother Annie to take the family to stay with her sister’s family at Burgess Hill on the Sussex Downs. Here John met the neighbour’s daughter Jessica Court.

Four years separated John and Jessica and in the summer of 1913 romance blossomed between the two of them on the Sussex Downs. John put it to verse celebrating their first kiss:
By the time John wrote this he had already joined the Essex Regiment (Territorial Battalion), so that when war broke out on the following August 1914 he was already away in summer camp. He never returned to the post office. The Battalion mustered at Walthamstow moving to Brentwood, then Norwich and then Colchester in the spring of 1915.
On 21st July 1915, its training complete, the battalion sailed from Devonport to Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. From here it was deployed to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli for the ill-fated landings of 12th August 1915. As rehearsed elsewhere the landings which in many senses represented the last efforts to conquer the peninsula stalled and stagnated in the heat of the Turkish summer. From the trenches on September 9th he wrote to his housemaster and betrayed a belief that out of the horror he was witnessing a better world would emerge: John’s letter was remarkably prophetic in many ways.
Spending his days and nights in cramped rough hewn trenches, a few weeks later, on a strict water ration and diet of bully beef, army biscuit and molten apricot jam he succumbed to dysenteric fever.

John like hundreds of others suffering was greatly weakened and taken by stretcher to the ‘Anzac’ beach. Here was shades of the injuries sustained in rest areas referred to in his letter. In his case he was awaiting transport to the hospital ship. As he waited a stray bullet from not known where struck him through the head and he died instantly.
Jack had written home shortly before his death and the arrival of that letter coinciding with the arrival of the government telegram gave false hope to his family that a mistake had been made. The Bancroftian delayed publication of his loss as the machinery of administration within the War Office confirmed the worst. For once it fell for others to put pen to paper and their tribute was as follows:

Poet, romantic, idealist and in the end a the Aegean his back turned to the war. Jack was buried by his comrades after he died. By the end of that year though the British and their allies left that ‘peninsula of plague’.

When they returned at war’s end Jack’s grave had been lost and he is now commemorated on the HELLES MEMORIAL, Gallipoli.