Edward Donald Johnson Parker GC

Edward Donald Johnson Parker

Conflict: Second World War

Gazetted: August 6, 1940

Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Edward Donald Johnson Parker GC

Medal group

Place/date of birth: Bridgford, Nottinghamshire/May 20, 1910

Rank when awarded GC (and later highest rank): Pilot Officer (Temporary Squadron Leader)

Date of bravery: June 8, 1940

London Gazette citation:

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards:
The Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for Gallantry:
Pilot Officer Edward Donald Parker (76465), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

On the night of June 8th 1940, this officer was first pilot of an aircraft detailed for bombing operations. Just after taking off in complete darkness, the port engine failed. Displaying great coolness, Pilot Officer Parker raised the undercarriage and tried to fly straight on, but found that he could neither gain height nor speed with his heavily loaded aircraft on only one engine. Reducing speed to 80 m.p.h., he switched off his engine and “felt” the aircraft into the nearest field, in complete darkness. The aircraft crashed, however, and immediately burst into flames. Pilot Officer Parker jumped out and got clear to find that his navigator and air gunner were safe but the wireless operator was lying stunned near the burning aircraft. With complete disregard for his own safety, and knowing that there were four 500lb bombs in the wreckage which might explode at any moment, he returned and carried his wireless operator to a place of safety. During this act, one of the bombs exploded and Pilot Officer Parker saved the airman from further injury by throwing him to the ground. This officer showed exceptional coolness, resourcefulness, and courage throughout and, in the face of extreme danger, undoubtedly saved the life of his wireless operator.

[Edward Parker’s Empire Gallantry Medal was exchanged into the award of the George Cross following the Royal Warrant of September 1940]

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: DFC

Place/date of death: Berlin, Germany/January 16, 1943

Grave/memorials: Headstone, Charlottenburg 1939-45 War Cemetery, Berlin; name on Roll of Honour at St Clement Danes, London

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2016

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum