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Those who Served
FO James A. Parkins . Royal Canadian Air Force 6 Group 428 Sqdn.James A Parkins
Dvr. George Parkinson . British Army Royal Army Service Corps from Manchester)
My dad, George Parkinson,joined up at the start of the "phoney war" in 1939,-he didn't need to go,-he was married with three sons.
I was the middle one.He'd had a driving licence since he was eighteen,(unusual in 1919),and thought his driving skills may have been put to good use. He had joined the Grenadier Guards(1Bn)when he was nineteen,(which explains his "Guards" number). He did three years,-in which time he went to Constantinople to support some uprising against Kemal Ataturk,-then came out. I can remember him Blancoing his webbing,checking the contents of his "hussif" (housewife) and having a .303 SMLE rifle at home! Then he was gone... Because of his age,-he was 38,-he spent all his service in this country,-I believe he spent some time driving an ambulance in Birmingham; the rest of his time he was stationed in Cornwall,transporting stores of every kind countrywide.If ever he was coming to somewhere near Manchester,he would call in give us all a load of chocolate,(which he had saved), then he was gone again. One time he arrived in what he called an "eight legger"-an eight wheeled ERF with a drawbar trailer and parked it in our dead end street in Longsight, Manchester.How he got it out I have no idea!
He came home in various trucks,Chevrolets,Dodges etc., etc.,mostly stuff that presumably the country had had to buy from the USA or Canada because of the shortage of vehicles after Dunkirk. As I said he was mostly based in Cornwall,he thought it was the most wonderful place,his stories were full of names like Taunton,Truro,Bodmin,Penzance,Falmouth etc.,and that all true Cornishmen had names that began with either Pen or Tre,-it was a world apart... When he was demobbed,-and after all that effort,he was awarded three medals,Victory;War,and the TA; he "didn't qualify" for the '39-'45 Star,as he didn't serve abroad!Rodney E. Parkinson
Ivy Parkinson . Land Army
My aunty, Ivy Parkinson, served in the Land Army in St. David's in Wales. She often talks about her time there with fond memories. She says they had good food and were given fresh eggs to take home when on leave.Delise Jones
Rex Parkinson . British Army Royal Army Service Corps
Sgt Ron Parkinson . RAF w/op 44 Sqd.
Sgt Ron Parkinson was the Wireless Operator with Merrick Heath's crew, flying R for Robert PB417 with 44 Rhodesia Squadron based at RAF Splisby.David Coutts
Sgt. Edward Parks . United States Army 823rd Btn. Tank Destroyer
Sgt Parks served with William J. Krantz and Michael Gombar.
Stkr. Herbert Parks . Royal Navy HMS Sirius (d.17th Oct 1943)
Herbert Parks served on HMS Sirius.Christine Strutt
Ord. Seaman Percival Arthur Woolacott Parks . Royal Navy HMS Prunella (d.21st Jun 1940)
L. G. Parley . Royal Navy HMS Forfar
L.G.Parley is listed as one of the survivors brought ashore after the loss of HMS Forfar
Joan Parlour . WAAF from Darlington)
My wife, Joan Parlour was stationed at Croft from 1942 until demob in 1945 as a MT Driver. Her home was in Darlington and being with the Canadians who were more relaxed, she was fortunate to be able to live out most of that time. I remember her mentioning friends, Jane Storrar, Ann Misset, Jane Corbett, Moira and others.
Joan died in 2006 after we had shared 63 years wed.Ken Stokes
P/O Stuart Boyd Parnall . Royal Air Force
Pte. N. Parnell . Australian Army A Coy 33rd Btn.
Pte Parnell was captured in Greece in April 1941, along with Reginald Holt and P T Green, all of A Coy, 33rd Btn.
Stkr2. Francis Parnwell . Royal Navy HMS Acheron from Mansfield)
(d.17th Dec 1940)
Francis Parnwell served on HMS Acheron, he was the son of Constance Emma Parnwell, his father, Francis H Parnwell, had died in 1938.Carol Malone
Sgt Norman Parons . Royal Air Force 10 OTU
Norman was the pilot of a Whitley V was shot down on 26 June 1942 in the Third Thousand Bomber raid over Bremen by Obit Helment Lent from unit 4/NJG2 in a Messerscmit BF 110 R4+AC.Simon Moriaty
George Edward Parr . from Birmingham)
My late grandfather George Edward Parr was held in Stalag XXa for much of the war. Unfortunately he rarely talked about his time there and all I have to go on is the few photographs that I have. I have learnt more through your website than I have from any other source, so thank you. My grandfather's name is on the list of prisoners as George A Parr, his middle name was actually Edward. I believe he was taken at Dunkirk but do not know what regiment he belonged to, can anybody help me to find this information? I know that he was held prisoner for at least four years but I am not sure if he was at stalag xxa for all of that time. All the photos that were sent from and to home all have the xxa mark on them.
I would be so interested to hear from anybody who knew my granddad or can give me any more information. He sometimes used to talk about how the men were marched for long periods of time, so I wonder if he was part of the forced march. He came from the Birmingham area and often told us that he used to be one of the camps barbers. Would this jog anybodies memory? I have some wonderful group photographs that were sent home from the camp.Linda Ward
Raymond "Tommy" Parr .
I am a SSFA caseworker working with Raymond Parr, known as Tommy, who was with Working Party E51 at Stalag 8B from 1940-45. He would like to hear from anyone who remembers him.Pat Goulding
Capt. Eric George Parramore . Royal Air Force Special Operations Executive
My grandfather, Eric George Parramore, (born: 24 June 1918) passed away a year before I was born on 24 June 1981. My grandfather flew as a captain on the AVRO Lancaster bomber and he was an operative with the SOE from 1939 until 1946.
After the war my grandfather moved to the Netherlands and he worked as an adviser for the Royal Netherlands Airforce, Hawker Hunter and Plessey/ Fokker. My grandfather spoke very little about the war to my father or his siblings and, therefore, almost nothing is known about my grandfather during his time in World War 2. I cannot find much about him on the internet, except for some records which have been opened last year in the National Archives in Kew: Collection: Records of Special Operations Executive, Date range: 01 January 1939 - 31 December 1946, Reference: HS 9/1148/9 Subjects: Intelligence
The reason I posted the information above, is that there might be still some people who knew my grandfather, or perhaps even have been a crew member during his RAF period. As I am still searching for some more information, I would also be very happy if someone could point me in a direction (such as archives) where I might find out some more. It would mean a lot to me. Thank you very much in advance.James Parramore
Cpl. H. Parratt . British Army Royal Army Service Corps
Sgt J. Parrott . RAF (d.29th Jan 1944)
Sgt. John Chadwick Parrott . British Army 113 Despatch Rider Section Royal Signals from Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England)
My Grandfather, John Parrott joined the Army in 1935 as a member of the Territorial Army. Prior to the beginning of the war he was based at 2nd Operators Training Battalion, 2nd Signal Training Centre, Prestatyn, North Wales. From what I was told when he was alive he spent time in North Africa, Italy, Berlin, and at the end of the war he was in Oslo, Norway when it was liberated. I Don't know much more than that as he did not like to talk about it.Alistair Parrott
Peter Lawrence Parrott . Royal Air Force 607 Sqd.
My father, Peter Lawrence Parrott, served with 607 Squadron in France in early 1940.Rosemary Gaskell
Cpt. Arthur Wellesley "Bill" Parry . British Army 113 Field Regiment Royal Artillery from Herne Bay)
(d.16th Dec 1943)
The story of my father's death during the advance to the Gustav Line is long and complicated. I have written an account based on information given to me over fifty years ago by a fellow officer who was with him at the end.
What Really Happened?
The accepted version of events leading up to father’s death was straight-forward and in a way comforting. For Mama they were established facts and not worthy of further examination or discussion. Her husband had gone to the aid of a group of wounded sappers, had stepped on a mine and was killed instantly. I’m not altogether sure where these ‘facts’ came from, but obviously his Colonel had written to the family - maybe to my Grandfather Parry Williams in Wales - and told the tale that we all accepted as a true record of the death of Captain the Reverend Arthur Wellesley Parry Williams BA in Italy on 16th December, 1943.
Father had been with the 8th Army from the reverses in Egypt right through El Alamein to victory in Tunisia. Initially, before embarkation, his regiment was up in arms against being saddled with a God-Botherer who was expected to cramp their style, but as Father turned out to have been a reserve in Oxford’s pre-war XV as well as winning a Blue for hockey and tennis, and had a trial as a flank forward for Wales, he was grudgingly accepted. There exists a yellowing cutting from the Sunday Express of an article written by a fellow officer after father’s death. This paean of praise to their padre tells in detail of his acceptance by his soldiers and the grief they all felt when, after nearly eighteen months continuously fighting, he should be killed in an act of loving impetuosity which defined the man.
This might be the primary text for the version I had accepted until one Founder’s Day at St. Edmunds in the ‘fifties, when I met Ken Anderson I was friendly with Bruce Anderson, a contemporary in Walker House who must have mentioned my name to his father. Mr. Anderson sought me out. “Are you Parry-Williams?” he asked. “Any relation to Bill Parry-Williams?” “No, sir,” I said. “Not a ‘Bill’. Afraid not.” “Oh,” he said. “Sorry.” And turned away. Later in the day, he returned. “Look,” he said. “You didn’t have a relative in the 8th Army? A padre?” Then I remembered that ‘Bill’ was the name Father had been called in the article in the Sunday Express. “Yes, sir. My father, sir.” He regarded this callow thirteen year old for some time and then said. “All right, Nigel, I’ll tell you about your father. I was with him all through North Africa and I was there when he was killed.” I remember him squeezing my arm, a gesture of familiarity altogether alien to my generation. He looked me straight in the eye. “You’re too young, now. We’ll meet up when you’re a bit older. Maybe after you leave school”
And that was that. I quizzed Bruce who had no further information. So in the manner of all teenagers I got on with the things I felt to be important. I never saw Mr. Anderson again until I was nineteen. I’d failed to get into Oxford and was too young to have been called up for National Service so a spell in uniform seemed a reasonable way to pretend to be ‘doing my bit’; even then I had to make do with a General List Commission in the Territorial Army, initially training cadets, and later with the KKRC which transmogrified into the Royal Green Jackets . By a strange coincidence, Father and I were both in 56th Division and his first attachment was a Reconnaissance Battalion, a similar outfit to the one to which I was posted.
Kenneth Anderson was Night News Editor on the Daily Mirror and as I was still a chum of his son’s, I felt I ought to fulfil the arrangement Kenneth and I had made four years before. Not knowing what to expect and in some trepidation, I rang the Mirror and asked to speak to Kenneth Anderson. He was a somewhat abrupt man, his clipped responses probably exacerbated by the job and I have to admit I didn’t warm to him. We arranged to have lunch at the Devonshire Club in St. James’s where, incidentally, I had met an uncle by marriage who advised me against ‘going for a soldier’ and suggested instead a job with him in Lentherique, which he owned. Anyway, after my previous visit to a gentleman’s club I knew enough of the protocol to enter and ask the porter for Mr. Anderson, rather than hang around in the street, expecting him to be late. I was duly ushered into an ante-room and Kenneth rose to greet me. We did the small talk thing and went in to lunch. I don’t remember anything of the meal except that it was nursery food and there was a great deal of wine, but even after almost fifty years I can remember the conversation. Actually it was more of a monologue from Kenneth. I had suspected he was the author of the piece in the Sunday Express but it turned out I was wrong. The writer was another officer in the battery and he was killed less than a year later. To my shame I’ve forgotten his name.
Kenneth verified that the sentiments in the article about the 113th Field Regiment’s initial suspicion of the new padre were correctly reported, as was the swift way that Father - with no sign of trying to ingratiate himself - became important to each and every soldier. He was known as ‘Bill’ and ‘Uncle’ by officers and men, never ‘Sir’ nor even ‘Padre’, except by the Adjutant who was a bit of a stickler. Being aged 37 he was considered positively ancient and he was expected not to able to keep up with the fit young soldiers he looked after. But to everybody’s amazement, he shone in all sports and appeared as tireless on route marches as in his pastoral duties. That he had a pretty wife at home was the source of much innuendo and it was a sure-fire way of making him go scarlet and writhe with embarrassment. The fact he had a son was triumphantly used as further proof of a lack of ascetic celibacy. Although this was rather more information than I needed, it helped to develop a picture of a man whom I’d not known next to nothing about. And everything I’d heard from the family had been far more anodyne and respectful. Kenneth’s account was an example of the tough-love unique amongst soldiers on active service who found it hard to commit themselves to new arrivals; men who might be taken from them tomorrow. Nonetheless many went on to forge the deepest, most enduring and loving friendships there can be between men. This was something I would spend the rest of my life regretting I never got to share.
There’s absolutely no doubt that ‘Bill’ was loved by his flock. He was the butt of jokes, yet he was deeply respected. He could be goaded into giggling embarrass- ment, but could also be relied upon to come up trumps in every emergency. Kenneth told me Church Parades had been poorly attended until ‘Bill’ came along but developed into regular congregations which included devout atheists, all the left-footers in the Regiment and a couple of Jews. It should come a no surprise that the longer and further the unit advanced across the desert, the better attended my Father’s services became.
He told of the occasion when ‘Bill’ was conducting Holy Communion from the back of the three-quarter ton Dodge which Father apparently referred to as ‘St. Jude on Wheels’ - St. Jude being the patron saint of lost causes - when the Luftwaffe gate-crashed proceedings in the form of a strafing Me 110. The Liturgy was temporarily forgotten and everybody, Father included, buried themselves in the sand. As the fighter roared back to base accompanied by very un-Christian sentiments, the Dodge suddenly ignited. Father’s batman/driver leapt on board and chucked out Father’s wooden cross, chalice, paten and bible - w3hich I still possess - but was too late to save himself as the truck burst into flames. Before anyone else had time to move, the Padre jumped on board, picked up his driver - Kenneth said he weighed considerably more than Father - and jumped to the ground with him in his arms. He remembered how tenderly Father held the man so no sand got into the terrible burns which covered every inch of the mortally wounded driver’s head, legs and arms, but he died within minutes. This was the first of scores of dead bodies Father prayed over and buried as the 8th Army chased Rommel back the way he had come to Tripoli.
Italy was worse. Father’s letters home, although still witty and warm, began to reflect the terrible attrition of fighting up from the toe of Italy to the heavily defended Gustav Line which had Monte Cassino as its hub. Early on there appeared to be a brittleness in the relations between the British forces and the newly-arrived and pugnacious Americans who considered their allies to be ‘fought out’. Kenneth remembered well the antipathy between Montgomery and Patton in Sicily and that these attitudes percolated down through the chain of command to officers, NCOs and private soldiers. However, General Mark Clark was roundly detested by everybody, American and British. Paradoxically, this helped to unite Yanks and Limeys in common cause. During this time of grinding toil day after day in vile conditions with torrential rain and deep mud over difficult terrain, ‘Bill’ was ever his cheerful, ebullient self, always and unlawfully up at the front of the column; caring for the injured and the dying; praying over the already dead and swapping insults with the dog-tired but still lippy gunners.
One duty of every officer was to write letters of condolence to the families of those killed and Father’s input was gratefully accepted, although he often wrote separately if he had anything extra which he felt could ease the relatives’ pain. He also helped the gunners with their own letters home if they were tongue-tied or plain illiterate. Some bold souls baited the padre by expecting him to write down verbatim the utter filth they solemnly dictated for girlfriends and wives. Any soldier in an aid station or forward hospital could expect a visit from ‘Bill’ in his torn battledress and grimy dog collar. Strangely, it was the soldiers themselves who were most likely to bring up matters spiritual. Kenneth himself was wounded and awoke to find ‘Bill’ praying beside his cot, which made him think these were his Last Rites and complained croakily that dying was the last thing he intended to do. The Padre giggled, insisting he was just investing in a spot of insurance on Kenneth’s behalf.
When Kenneth returned to the front, the Division was battling its way past Monte Camino twenty miles north of Naples towards the Mignano Gap, less than ten miles from Monte Cassino itself. He was shocked to find many unfamiliar faces while searching in vain for many he’d known in North Africa. However ‘Bill’ was there “bouncing like Tigger” although there was a sadness Kenneth hadn’t seen before in his old friend, a quiet stoicism which was never far below the surface.
It wasn’t long after he got back that the whole line moved up at speed in one of the few rapid advances during the campaign. In the pouring rain, they were temporarily halted on a single-track road through some olive orchards when they came across a group of sappers about one hundred yards off to the side, kneeling around a wounded comrade. Contrary to the report in the Sunday Express, the Engineers were alone and thus far no medical help had arrived. The sappers shouted that they had been clearing a mine-field and that one had gone off. It so happened that ‘Bill’s’ jeep was a few yards down the column and he came up to find out what was going on. Before being put totally in the picture he decided he was going in to help, but was told in no uncertain terms that this was the job for other sappers who would clear a path to the injured man for the medics. It was no place for some clumsy God-Botherer. This was too much for Father who pulled himself up to his full five feet eight and three-quarter inches and demanded to be granted passage. Fatally, someone told him to act his age. It was reported to Kenneth later that ‘Bill’ said something rather un-Godly and marched forward. He was immediately restrained which made matters even worse. The wing forward in him saw a gap and he went for it. Breaking clear he charged down the blind side, breaking tackles to left and right. Father hadn’t got more than a few yards before he stepped on the mine. There was a flash, and the appalling dull crump of the explosion. Then, from out of the smoke and the shocked silence came the sound of my Father laughing. He must have realised the stupidity of his actions. Soldiers from either ends of the column came rushing up when they heard ‘Bill’ was down, Kenneth amongst them. Some wouldn’t wait for the sappers to arrive and clear a path, but followed into the minefield, following their padre’s footsteps. (If only I‘d written it down at the time, but it wasn‘t appropriate and the chance never repeated itself so I don’t know the precise words he spoke to Kenneth - and which Kenneth relayed to me over that luncheon table but they were along the lines of “Sorry old chap. Made a bit of a mess of that, didn’t I?”)
They carried their grievously injured padre out of the mine-field and he was rushed to an aid station and thence to a field hospital near Naples. It was obvious to his surgeons that Father would not recover. I found out since that the anti-personnel mine he probably stepped on was particularly vicious. The initial explosion threw a box which contained the main charge to around waist height were it exploded. These mines are held in particular contempt because they were designed to maim and not to kill outright. The typically efficient German logic meant that for each grievously injured victim, stretcher bearers, medical orderlies, surgeons and nursing staff would all be involved, thus tying up far more soldiers than would be required to bury a corpse. Many members of the Regiment put in for permission to visit their dying Padre, but as they were involved in an advance, this was tactically impossible.
When the advance stalled some days later, everybody who could be spared made the journey southward. Kenneth got there in time. Most were too late and Father died on December 16th 1943. Ironically, the wounded sapper in the orchard was able to rejoin his unit after treatment at the aid station to which Father was originally sent. A group of the officers are said to have approached the Colonel with a view to putting their padre up for a decoration. Correctly, it was pointed out that ‘Bill’s’ act of courage would not satisfy the qualifying requirements. His actions were unnecessary, though unarguably gallant. The enemy was not involved, except insofar as they had laid the mine-field and anyway, he had saved no one - not even himself. And he’d disobeyed the orders of a senior officer, to whit the Major who had been hanging onto his leg. It was agreed that it was far better to remember ‘Bill’s’ actions in the context of the man they knew and loved rather than to send off a well-meaning but un-thought through recommendation which would inevitably be turned down. So that was that.
Kenneth’s war finished in 1946 when he went back to newspapers and tried to forget about the friends he’d made and lost. It was only his son’s chance mention of a boy in Baker House with the same surname as ‘Bill’ - albeit suddenly with a hyphen which the Padre for some egalitarian reason of his own, sometimes chose to eschew - that had spurred him into retelling the story. As I recall, Kenneth Anderson and I talked on into the evening. I eventually walked out into St James’s, glowing with pride and full of a respect I will never lose for soldiers, whatever uniform they wore.
Mama never wanted to meet any of her husband’s army colleagues and it was out of respect for her wishes that on her behalf I turned down a request from an old soldier who served with Father and had spotted her name in the membership list of the Friends of Lichfield Cathedral. I’ve often wondered whether she suspected the official version of events would not be corroborated by those who were actually there. She had decided, with typically steely resolve that her husband had died cleanly, and swiftly. The fact I’m putting down Kenneth Anderson’s version - or rather my memories of his memories - is only that there will now be a record of what probably happened. In no way does in invalidate what Mama chose to believe.
The Reverend Arthur Wellesley Parry Williams BA, 113th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, is buried in the British Military Cemetery, Minturno, just south of Monte Cassino. There is an epitaph on the stone: “Say not good night, but in some brighter clime wish me good morning.”
In the mail earlier on Christmas Eve 1943, the very day that the telegram arrived from the War Office, there was a letter, dated 10th November, from Arthur to Audrey, his youngest sister-in-law. She decided to open it later and show it to Mama on Christmas Day. Her intentions were, tragically, overtaken by events and on the grounds that it would be both tactless and inappropriate, Audrey never showed Mama the letter. Much later, when she thought the time was right, she decided to show it to her sister only to discover to her horror that she’d misplaced it. Mama died before the letter was eventually found
It was only after Audrey’s death, sixty-four years after it was sent, that I discovered it, wedged behind a drawer in her drop-front desk. It was the last letter he wrote before being mortally wounded and is the bleakest of all I’ve read. One section joshed Audrey that he’d been showing photographs of his wife’s younger sisters around the Mess, and that he could expect to be “…visited by many of them after the war with a particular purpose in view!!!” But he then the mood changes, “Some of them unfortunately have since died - a very terrible business, but war is like that and demands such sacrifice. The one thing is that we can never get used to it when it does happen. But I mustn’t keep on in this manner.” He had never before mentioned death, as I recall. However, the closing passage is a sublime reaffirmation of his love for my mother. “Tell Joan very quietly I simply adore her. Goodbye. Good night. Arthur.”
I wish now that she’d read it.Nigel Parry-Williams
C. F. Parry .
P/O Derrick J. Parry DFC . RAF 12sqd
Eric Frank Parry . Royal Air Force 100 Sqd. (d.27th Apr 1944)Lynne Darroch
Sgt. Eric Frank Parry . Royal Air Force 100 Squadron (d.27th Apr 1944)
My Grandad, Sergeant Eric Frank Parry was killed in WW2, he was a member of 100 Squadron and died on 27/04/1944. Unfortunately my Mum was so young, only two, when he died so she didn't get to know him and only recently when my nan died did she get to know some details about him. So far I have taken her to Kleve to see his War Grave, I have managed to obtain birth, marriage and death certificates for him and last year I had his medals issued to her which she has never seen before nor knows what happened to them. My Mum has asked for a picture of a Lancaster Bomber, (the plane he flew in) he was a gunner, and my husband suggested that whilst you can get hold of pictures of a Lancaster Bomber anywhere, wouldn't it be nice to get a picture of one with the correct initials on the side that he would have had on his plane. How I can obtain anymore details about where he was stationed, the flight he was on when killed but most importantly where I may be able to get hold of a picture with the correct initials on etc. it would be the missing piece of a rather difficult jigsaw.Lynne Darroch
Ginger Parry .
Thomas Raymond Parry . Royal Marines
My father served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War. He was Thomas Raymond Parry. He travelled on the SS Anselm and told me the story of the lowering of Padre Pugh into the hold. He was also aboard 'The Hood'.Sarah White
WO2 W. A. Parsley . Royal Canadian Air Force 97 Squadron (d.21st Jan 1944 )
My uncle Billy Parsley, was a air gunner with 97 Squadron RAF. He was killed along with the whole crew of their Lancaster JB299 OF-W, on 21st January 1944, all are buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.
- F/L F.J.Roberts DFC /li>
- Sgt E.J.Devine href="http://www.wartimememories.co.uk/allied/royalairforce/97sqd-raf.html#Parsley">Read his Story
- F/S G.Young DFM
- Sgt F.Martin
- F/S P.A.Marsh RAAF
- WO2 W.A.Parsley RCAF
I believe the photo is of the air gunners at training. I m not sure when or where it was taken.John Potts
P/O Ernest M. Parsons . Royal Canadian Air Force nav. 419 Sqd. from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
(d.16th May 1944)
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