Notes of Interview with William Parry 9 Squadron Ground Crew



Notes of Interview with William Parry 9 Squadron Ground Crew


A biography of Bill covering his RAF years.







Five handwritten sheets


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[underlined] Notes of interview with William Parry IX Sqn. Ground Crew 11.8.94 [underlined] – Andrew Hobley.

Born 1912. left school 1928. Lived in Birkenhead.

Moved to Church Streton to work for G.W.R. Reserved occupation. Left job and joined R.A.F.V.R., intending to become air crew (1940) At Cardington failed as air crew as night vision insuffient.

Offered chance to return to job (as not conscripted) but asked for job to do with aircraft and flying. Sent to Halton on engineering course. On 2 week leave pass went through Coventry on day after raid with Fellow “Halton Brat” who came from Coventry.

Joined a Sqn. Dec. 1940 as L.A.C. After 4/5 months sent back to do conversion course at Cosford. Applied to go on flying boat Squadron (as Sunderlands always carried a ground crew member) Posted back to 9 Sqn

9 Sqn. had Wellingtons till June ‘42
Manchesters June 42 – Aug ‘42
Lancasters after.

Main fault of Lancasters tendency to swing to port on take off, due to airflow from stbd inner. Saw one pilot (new) swing to port, overcompensate to sbd, aircraft u/c. collapsed port wing ripped, fire started. Never saw crew leave a/c so fast! After fire & bomb load want off no need for crane to pick up pieces!

Sent on two short courses with A V Roe at Woodford, saw Lancaster assembly shop & test field. Came of [sic] line (three line, one a/c per day) oiled & fueled [sic], taken straight up by pilot and air-tested.

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As Sergt. Supervised maintainence [sic] of 3 a/c. towards end of war was acting F/Sgt in B flight, supervising 9 – 10 a/c. Not yet involved with repair work himself, but served air worthy Form. Normaly [sic] 3 men per aircraft, two engine fitters, one airframe fitter.

For ED656 – Engine fitters. Bob Taylor
Alan Willgress (from Kings Lyn)
Airframe fitter. ‘pop’ [deleted] Burckell [/deleted] Burcknell (from Bourne, Lincs) Aged 44.

Stayed with 9 Sqd. till demobalised [sic] 1946 Serviced a/c with “Tallboys” – beautifully engineered bomb, shame to waste such skill on a bomb! Held in b’bay by sling – would sometimes drop back on take-off or landing – tail would break through bulkhead at rear of b’bay, this evening drop [two indecipherable words] 14.1.44. [two indecipherable words]

After leaving R.A.F. – (would have prefered [sic] to stay in but wife preferred him out) G.W.R. did not want to know him. Finaly got job with local electricity board in [deleted]Salop [/deleted] Shropshire.

Enjoyed the wartime years, inspite of the dangers.

Little interfearence [sic] from higher authority.

1) Not normal to take off of both magnetos as each engine not working. All landed off base – went to check as crew said mag. not working. One mag. dead. Sqd. Leader with him decided to take off & did (Normal to take Sgt as F/Eng)

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2) A/C dropped in at half finished airfield, only half a runway – landed O.K. but take off problem. Took out all armament & ammo, minimum fuel load, picked up boost to engine and got a/c off.

3) [indecipherable word] A/C landed little Snoring. All gone bar two. Final one motors and airframe O.K. rest duff. Pilot W/op & Parry took off. No wireless, no IFF. Murky day went up to 2000’, above cloud, and flew over Wash. Pilot suddenly noticed little black puffs ahead – flak!! Dived through cloud to be seen – was Navy.

4) End of war – flew to little airfield (just liberated) to set up POW shuttle. Aim to get servicing party established, took two Lancs loaded with equipment spare wheels loaded into bomb bay. Got to take off – pilot found b’bay doors would not close because of load – took off with doors open – very draftty [sic] – landed with feet frozen.

5) Close shave with John Evans. Had problem with a/c. Parry asked for air test. Evans asked for Bill to come up too as F/Eng. Went to Wainfleet, droped [sic] six practice bombs. Had permission to return at low level – went down low over sea of Skegness, then over land 200’. Came over [indecipherable word] nr. Spilsbury [sic]. Evans dropped a/c right down low – on pull out at end of run, took 12’ off fir tree. Temp. in Std outer shot up. Parry cut & feathered as smoke coming out, rest of engines to full power took up to 2000’. Engine still smoking. Evans suggested may have to jump Parry not amused as not wearing harness (too uncomfortable) and ‘chute back by entrance door!

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Smoke died off – was in fact steam. Got back to base sbd outer u/s, main spar damaged. Evans faced Court Martial – but lost in action before this.

6) superstitious Fl Lght [sic] Jim Lawn (NZ) devout R-Catholic always had St. Christopher medalion [sic] on instrument panel. (flew later WS-V.) Parry had to make sure medalion [sic] moved if flew other a/c.

Completed tour & went to training command at Swinderby, killed in accident caused by ground crew. It severed [indecipherable word] line [underlined] never [/underlined] just blocked with rag. A/C. engine Caught fire. a/c crashed. 7 crew, Cairns & 2 ground crew killed. [indecipherable word] line had been plugged with rag and engine over heated. Buried at Newark war cemetery. (also 1/2 crew had no chutes). Crashed nr. Lincoln.

13.4.45 moved to Bardney. Paddy joined soon after outstanding pilot – Could turn Lancaster [indecipherable word] up. Close friends. Shared many drinks in Sgts Mess, Saraus [sic] Head Lincoln & pub by railway station.

Came from Waterford, Irish National and proud of it. Joined up to fly. Only captain of aircraft still Non-Com. Group [deleted] Commander [/deleted] Captain called him in & said should apply for commision [sic] Delighted to meet an Irishman who was still patriotic. Paddy told him what to do with Commission! Never less commissioned later.

Fearlessness probably killed him. Q F I given was 250’ too low, so crashed. Would let down of clouds till could see trees above clouds. Presumably pressing on, not holding back. Originaly [sic] told 2 crew survived, then only one (rear gunner)


[indecipherable line]

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Paddy’s opinion of war – no qualm Bomb as many as can!

Photo (ED656 & crew) taken after air test soon after crashed & killed)


Andrew Hobley, “Notes of Interview with William Parry 9 Squadron Ground Crew,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 25, 2024,

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