Parish G.L

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Graham Leslie Parish
Sergeant
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

The citation for the award of the George Cross to Sergeant Parish reads:

"The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS to: –

1115314 Sergeant Graham Leslie Parish, Royal Air Force.

Sergeant Parish was the navigator of an aircraft during a delivery flight from the United Kingdom to the Middle East Command. Shortly after taking off from an airfield in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan one morning in September, 1942, the port engine failed and the pilot attempted to return and land on the airfield. Owing to the rough nature of the ground, full use could not be made of the brakes. The aircraft struck a building on the airfield and immediately burst into flames.

All of the crew with the exception of Sergeant Parish and a passenger, whose legs were both broken, succeeded in getting free of the blazing bomber. At the time of the crash Sergeant Parish was at the astro-hatch and the passenger was at the emergency door which is in the floor of the fuselage. This door was unusable as the undercarriage had collapsed and the fuselage was resting on the ground. The fire, which completely destroyed the bomber, was so intense that no assistance could be given to the navigator or the passenger. When the blaze subsided Sergeant Parish's body was found leaning against the rear gun turret and the passenger was beside him with his arm over the airman's shoulder. As the passenger could not walk, owing to his broken legs, it is clear that Sergeant Parish has carried him from the .emergency door to the rear turret, a distance of eight yards, in the hope that both could escape through the turret. Undoubtedly both were overcome and burned to death in the attempt. Sergeant Parish could have made his escape through the astro-hatch but his unselfish desire to assist the passenger. cost him his life. He displayed gallantry of the highest order."