b. 20/05/1910 West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. d. 17/01/1943 Berlin, Germany.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 08/06/1940 RAF Scampton, Lincs.
Edward Donald Johnson Parker (1910-1943) was born on 20th May 1910 in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, the son of a Commission Agent, Alfred Parker and his wife, Rowena Mary (nee Johnson) Parker. After schooling, Edward went into working for a bank, and at the time of his volunteering for the RAF, he was a bank clerk. In 1936, he married Doris Taylor in Leicester.
On the 1st September 1939, he volunteered as an airman and was put on the Reserve until being called up on 28th October 1939. He was commissioned as a Sergeant on 1st December 1939 having undergone pilot training in Leicester. He was attached to No 49 Squadron and it was while with them that he displayed the gallantry which earned him the EGM.
On the 8th June 1940 at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, his Bristol Beaufighter’s port engine failed just after take off. Displaying great coolness, he tried to fly straight on, but found he could gain neither height nor speed with his heavily loaded aircraft. He reduced speed to 80mph, switched off his engines and tried to land in a field in complete darkness. However, the bomber crashed and burst into flames, Parker got clear of the wreck, only to find that the wireless operator was still lying near the burning aircraft. With complete disregard for his own safety, and well aware there were 4 500lb bombs in the wreckage, he returned and carried him to safety. During his action one of the bombs exploded and Parker saved the airman further injury by throwing him to the ground.
Parker was awarded the EGM two months later on 6th August 1940, and this was exchanged for the new George Cross soon afterwards. On 15th November 1940, he was transferred to 29 Squadron where he flew Blenheims as 2nd Pilot in Blenheim L1303 on an air test to the legendary Guy Penrose Gibson VC. Parker was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 22nd November 1940 for carrying out 43 operational flights against the enemy of which he completed 250 hours flying. Parker sadly, didn’t survive the war, as he was killed on the 17th January 1943 when his Lancaster from 61 Squadron failed to return from a raid on the Alexander Platz Railway Station in Berlin. He was buried in the Berlin War Cemetery.
Parker’s medals including his GC, DFC, 1939-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Defence Medal 1939-45 and War Medal 1939-45 have been sold by Spink’s in September 2001, then again by Warwick & Warwick in November 2003, and finally in Shrewsbury in May 2012 (for £23,750) and are in private ownership. Lord Ashcroft has since purchased them in a private sale and they are displayed at the Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: BERLIN WAR CEMETERY, BERLIN, GERMANY.
PLOT I, ROW F, GRAVE 3.
Thomas Stewart – Image of Parker GC’s grave in Berlin War Cemetery.
Ashcroft Collection website – Image of the Parker GC DFC medal group.