The Airmen's Stories - Sub/Lt.(FAA) T R V Parke
Thomas Robert Verner Parke was born in 1920. Orphaned when he was ten, he was brought up by his aunt and uncle in Llandudno. He was a keen golfer before entering the Air Branch of the Royal Navy on 1st May 1939 as a Midshipman (A).
He did his elementary flying training at 14 EFTS, Elmdon. He moved on to No. 1 FTS Leuchars for No. 6 Course, which ran from 6th November 1939 to 21st April 1940.
Above image courtesy of Llandudno War Museum.
Parke joined 804 Squadron at Hatston on 4th July 1940, flying Sea Gladiators on dockyard defence.
On Christmas Day 1940, a little after 2pm, six Grumman Martlets of 804 Squadron were scrambled over Orkney in pursuit of a Ju88 engaged on a photo-reconnaisance mission off the North Scottish islands. The raider was intercepted by Sub/Lt. Parke and Lt. Carver and several hits were made on the machine damaging the starboard radiator, port engine oil pipe and the tailplane. The Ju88 crash landed with an air gunner badly wounded.
Above: Ju88A-5 4N+AL of 3.(F)/22
The crew were prevented from setting fire to the aircraft by armed local farmers, Thomas Harcus and his son Leslie, both in the Home Guard. The crew were later transferred to the mainland for interogation and treatment for the wounded gunner.
Ju88 crew: Lt K Schipp (pilot), Fw. H Schreiber, Uffz. H Sportl, Obgefr. K Rotter.
Parke remained with the squadron when it reformed for service on the Fighter Catapult Ships in March 1941.
In the early days many difficulties were experienced with launchings.
On 7th July 1941 Parke was launched in Fulmar N4038 from HMS Pegasus. It was a day of low cloud, poor visibility and rain and no enemy aircraft were engaged. Parke failed to return. Later in the day it was learned that he had crashed into high ground south of Campbeltown, on the Mull of Kintyre. Both he and Telegraphist/Air Gunner Ldg/Air EF Miller were killed.
Parke was 21. He is buried in Kilkerran Cemetery, Campbeltown.
Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project