Redvers Cyril Malcolm Parris
Died : 29 July 1943
Young Redvers was following his grandfather’s sport by playing for Ringmer Cricket Club and who knows how his career may have progressed had not the War so cruelly intervened. Redvers Parris had been born on 3rd November 1920 at Norlington Lane, Ringmer and was educated at Ringmer School. He worked at the Mansfield Garage, Lewes before joining the Royal Air Force in 1940.
According to his brother Keith, who lived in nearby Glynde, Sergeant Parris number 912784 was usually a rear gunner in a Wellington Mark IC Bomber. It was not an enviable job for, as ‘tail end Charlie’, one was most vulnerable and lonely locked in a very cramped turret at the extreme end of the aeroplane. Your only real friends whilst there were two .303 machine guns with which to fight whatever the enemy threw at you. Communication with the rest of the crew was by crackly intercom. Constant vigilance was mandatory for the first fleeting glance of the enemy fighters was often from the rear. A telephone call from a surviving crew member to the author of 'Valient Hearts of Ringmer', sometime after the book was published, advised that on the day of the fatal flight Redvers occupied the turret in the very front of the Wellington. He also clarified details concerning the cause of the crash.
|As part of 215 Squadron flying from Jessore in India, the usual assignments varied between bombing Japanese positions in the occupied villages of Burma, to training paratroopers. It was all part of the routine of slowly but inexorably winning the War. This part of India has an annual average rainfall of 66 inches, much of which falls in July. It is very wet. Events were soon to hot up for the six- man crew of Wellington number BB506 with the call sign ‘H - How’.|
Take off on 29th July 1943 was at 07.12 for a reconnaissance and intruder patrol of the Arakan Coast of Burma. In short, all enemy movement whether by land or sea was to be reported and, if appropriate, bombed. All eyes were peeled for Japanese fighters but it was evidently an engine that blew up and set fire to the aeroplane which caused it to crash in the Bay of Bengal. Nothing was heard at ‘base’ from ‘H - How’ after it took off and failed to return. The following day a search was made for the missing bomber by four aircraft from 99 Squadron, but they found no trace. All hope for the crew was abandoned.
The 8th August dawned darkly for 215 Squadron as a Wellington crashed on take off in torrential rain killing all the crew.
The Squadron Report continues:
One bright feature was the safe return after 8 days in a dingy of all the crew (except one) of the aircraft lost on 29th July 1943. [They] Landed on an island in the Sundarbans and were taken to hospital.
Redvers Parris was known to be alive after the fire started in that he responded to the pilot on the intercom who had alerted the crew of an imminent forced landing. It seems likely however that Redvers was trapped in his turret after the bomber ditched in the sea and he drowned as it sank.