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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E E Parsons


Edwin Ernest Parsons was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th December 1913. After leaving school he was employed as a bookbinder in Napier. He volunteered for aircrew duties in late 1939 and reported to the Ground Training School at Weraroa on 13th February 1940 as a trainee air gunner.

In mid-March Parsons went to the Air Observers School Ohakea for a Lewis gunnery course and air experience. He sailed for the UK on 26th April in the RMS Rangitiki.



On 17th July Parsons was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down and promoted to Sergeant. After converting to Blenheims he was awarded his air gunners badge and then joined 23 Squadron at Ford on 24th September with a total of 28 hours and 55 minutes in his flying logbook.

After months of unsuccessful night patrols the squadron began night intruder operations in late December 1940. On one such operation to Merville aerodrome on 25th February 1941 his Blenheim probably destroyed two He111's.

Parsons left 23 Squadron on 2nd March 1942 and joined 116 Squadron at Hendon on radar calibration duties. On 11th May he was posted to 1653 Conversion Unit at Polebrook to crew-up and convert to Liberators. His crew reported to 1445 Flight Lyneham on 3rd July to pick up an aircraft and then fly overseas. They left for Gibraltar on the 15th, reached Fayid, Egypt on the 16th and were at St. Jean, Palestine on the 17th and joined 160 Squadron.

On the 21st Parsons flew on his first long-range operational flight, a daylight raid on Heraklion, Crete.

On 15th January 1943 the squadron was disbanded into 178 Squadron. Parson's crew flew their thirtieth and final operation on the 17th. He left Shandur on 23rd February and, using ferry aircraft, he eventually arrived at Freetown and sailed from there to the UK on 27th March.

Soon after arrival at West Kirby, Parsons was repatriated to New Zealand. After an attachment to the Air Department, he went on to the Reserve on 16th October 1943 as a Warrant Officer.

Parsons died in Auckland on 4th October 1977.


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