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The Airmen's Stories - Sub/Lt.(FAA) T R V Parke


Thomas Robert Verner Parke was born on 17th July 1920, the son of William Alexander Parke (1861-1928) and Isabella Emily Parke (nee White 1866-1934). The family home was Crossmoyle in County Monaghan, Ireland.

Orphaned in 1928, Parke was brought up by his uncle James Cecil Parke (1881-1946) who was then a solicitor living in Llandudno, Wales with his wife Sybil Edith Parke (nee Smith 1885-1964).

James Cecil Parke, one of eight children, was an outstanding sportsman.

At Portora Royal School in Enniskillen he won his first senior tennis trophy as a 19-year-old, going on to win the national title in 1904 and 1905 and then six times in succession from 1908 to 1913.

Studying law at Trinity College, he played rugby for the university from where he was awarded the first of 20 caps, for Ireland against Wales in Cardiff in 1903.



Returning to tennis, he won a silver medal at the 1908 London Olympics. Parke continued to win tournaments abroad, twice reaching the semi-finals of the Wimbledon singles but in 1914 he managed to claim a title at the All England club, winning the Mixed Doubles in partnership with the 1912 ladies singles champion, Ethel Larcombe.

At the start of WW1 he enlisted in the Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) with the rank of Captain. Later serving with Essex Regiment as a Major he was wounded twice, at Gallipoli and on the Western front, and was Mentioned in Dispatches.

His Wimbledon swansong came in 1920. Now 39 years old and ranked four in the world, he beat the USA number one Bill Johnston before losing the next round.


TRV Parke 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.

The Ju88 crew was Lt K Schipp (pilot), Fw. H Schreiber, Uffz. H Sportl and 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.







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