[Received March 25, 1918]


John Brown & Company, Limited.

London Colney,

March 2, 1918.

Dear Mother and Father:

Notice my paper. I guess I am some punkins. The great Clydebank where McDermott helped design the City of N.Y. and the City of Paris, where the big cruisers of the Royal Navy are built and where the Lusitania was born. I slipped myself a bunch of paper while waiting for the fellow who was to show me around.

No I have not got St. Vitus’ dance. The cause of the beautiful penmanship is the cold.

I said that I would look for your letters as soon as I got back here, and I found four to my great delight. Then today I got two more. The clippings are very interesting. These last received are

Jan. 28, No 36 &
Mother’s letter no No. and perhaps
wrong date
23 No __ assumed 37
31 38
Feb 5 39
8 40
11 41

I have received them all now thru #41. I acknowledged all receipts but Father did not wait long enough to get my acknowledgment.

When I returned from my trip I also found the box of nut candies for me. It was in good condition. It surely is great stuff and I think you are going the limit in giving me so much. I feel as though I have not halfway expressed my thanks for the Christmas boxes and these prize nut chocolates. It would seem funny to tell your own Mother and Father that they are very kind or lovely or what not. But anyway I like everything you sent very much, and am very much obliged.

Then too I got Jimmie’s picture. He looks like a good kid, and I am very glad to get it.

You all surely have had some winter. I have been thinking that we are uncomfortable here, but just freezing is very cold to us. I am glad that you had your coal supply O.K., and that the weather has moderated. What about floods when all that snow melts.

Bishop Wilson knew O’Brien personally, and I saw him once in London. Some experience he got away with. So Fred envies me—he’s a funny one. There is no difference between the right and left cuff button. One to go with it would not have to be just the same. In fact I think it would be rather nice to have them similar but different in details.

My sweater is O.K. The main reason why I have not said I wanted another is because sometime ago Helen said she would knit one for me so I want to be in need of one, if possible, until hers comes. When we get our commissions and get all dressed up we ought to wear boots and spurs. We will supposedly be in the mounted service. Do not judge my rank from other fellows. I will get a 2nd or a 1st Lieut, whether some fellows are Captains or Majors does not matter. Arthur Slingluff is some cop.

I am glad Knud had a nice visit at home. Sorry Mr. King could not get over. I just received another box from Knud. 24 tubes of developer and 6 cans of hypo. Isn’t that fine. I did not mean to say that I had gotten a box from Mrs. Millikin. I got a Xmas card and letter from Mrs. Bates, two boxes from Aunt Ella, and nothing from Mrs. Bates Millikin or Mrs. Harriman Millikin.

I assigned $20 per month of my pay to Father and it was taken out, for the first time, of January’s. I also am carrying U.S. War Insurance for $10,000. Don’t put that money to my bank account. Use it for something you want now.

I once wrote Mary B. that she ought to come over here as a nurse, but since then I have decided she should stay as she is.

It has been too windy since my return for any flying. You ask what I do with myself. I kill time by taking short walks, reading newspapers, looking around the sheds, and bickering. We have a 10 minute drill at 8:50 a.m., one hour of machine gun class in morning and afternoon and 2 hours of wireless in ½ hour periods per week. It’s a great life, I’ll admit. I’ll be glad to get back to the shipyard.

I think we will be able to beat the Scotchmen building ships if we develop the industry properly. I would like to work about a year at Clydebank after the war.



The chilblain remedy and the stories in the envelopes were in the last box. The story idea has worked out very nicely. I am going to lend them out like a library.

None of your recent letters have been opened by censor.

The City of New York and her sister passenger ship The City of Paris were both built by J. & G. Thompson (later Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Company, which was taken over by John Brown and Company) and launched in 1888.302

Bishop Wilson probably knew Patrick Alva O’Brien, an American flying enthusiast who joined the Aviation Section of the US Signal Corps a year before Parr and who then, impatient, did as many of his compatriots did prior to the US entry into the war, and went to Canada to join the R.F.C. He sailed to England in May of 1917 and by the end of July was in France with No. 66 Squadron. On August 17, 1917, he was shot down behind German lines and became a prisoner of war. In the course of being transported from Courtrai (Belgian Kortrijk) to another camp, he jumped from the train and managed to return to England on November 19, 1917. He had an audience with King George V in early December. In Parr’s letter of November 29, 1917, he mentions going with Bishop Wilson for “a walk around some of the hotel lobbies where Bishop met some of his mates on their way to and from France,” and perhaps it was then that Parr saw O’Brien. O’Brien returned to the U.S. early in 1918. He spoke publicly about his experiences and in March 1918 published Outwitting the Hun: My Escape from a German Prison Camp. Considerable publicity surrounded O’Brien’s homecoming and public speaking, and it is not surprising that he caught the attention of Parr’s family. See, for example, “Lieut. O’Brien Lectures.: Aviator Describes How He Escaped from the Germans” in the New York Times on February 18, 1918.303

Fred is unidentified.

Arthur Fenelon Slingluff was the younger brother of Montgomery Johns “Jack” Slingluff, whom Parr mentions in his letter of December 28, 1917. He was in the Maryland national guard, military police, in the autumn of 1917.304

I believe Parr’s Christmas card and letter were from Julia Augustine Bates, whose husband, James Odbert Bates, had been a partner in the Baltimore jewelry and silver firm of Hennegan & Bates.305 In about 1896, their older daughter, Mattie Bates, married Charles Howard Millikin, who became a vice president of Hennegan & Bates.306 Charles Howard Millikin was a cousin of Bryson Carter Millikin, who had married Louise Harriman (see notes to Parr’s letter of September 21, 1917).307 Parr here apparently refers to the wives of the two Millikin cousins using their maiden names: “Mrs. Bates Millikin” and “Mrs Harriman Millikin.” Possibly compounding Parr’s confusion, James Odbert and Julia Augustine Bates had another daughter, Julia Odbert Bates (married in 1910 to Charles Warner Hurst).308 Parr’s remark in his letter of January 8, 1918, that he had received “a fine Christmas box from Mrs. Millikin (Julia Bates)” must have prompted the clarification mentioned in his post card of February 25, 1918, presumably pointing out that there existed no such person.

Aunt Ella was either his father’s unmarried sister, Ella Hooper, or his mother’s sister, Mrs. Frederick Reese. Parr’s letter of January 14, 1918, mentions a box from his Aunt Ella and Uncle Fred.