Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon Parker

Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon PARKER - 1 Wags BallaratHerbert Gordon Parker was born in Ballarat on the 13 February 1920 to parents Raymond and Annie Parker.

Prior to enlisting in the RAAF Herbert Parker’s occupation was listed as a Clerk. He enlisted on the 27 April 1941 in Melbourne, Victoria and completed his initial Training at Somers, Victoria. [service number 408591].

Herbert Parker commenced training as a Wireless/ Air Gunner on the 29 May 1941 at No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School Ballarat, Course 14. Forty-two of the one hundred trainees in Course 14 were killed in action or in active service. He graduated on the 13 December 1941 and proceeded to No. 1 Bombing Air Gunners School Evans Head NSW. Herbert then proceeded to No.5 Service Flying Training school where he spent 4 months. No. 5 SFTS was formed at RAAF Station Uranquinty, New South Wales, in October 1941, and disbanded in February 1946. Herbert Parker then proceeded to No. 1 Air Observers Training School [AOS] at Cootamundra, NSW.

No 1 AOS was set up to train navigators, aerial photographers and bombardiers. An estimated 2,630 RAAF air observers trainees passed out from No 1 AOS, one of the more notable being Gough Whitlam AC QC, the late Prime Minister of Australia, who joined the RAAF in December 1941 and spent six months from May 1942 training to be a navigator bomb-aimer. From AOS Herbert Parker was transferred to No. 6 Squadron, 1 WAGS, Armament School, No. 2 AOS, 21 Squadron and 24 Squadron. He completed No. 4 B24 Course.

Posted to Lowood in Queensland in June 1944, 24 Squadron became one of the first squadrons to be re-equipped with the Consolidated Liberator, a heavy bomber. They then moved to the Northern Territory, first to Manbulloo and then, in September, to Fenton. At Fenton the squadron became part of 82 (Heavy Bomber) Wing and conducted bombing raids against targets in the Netherlands East Indies. Between January and April 1945 attacks were made on power stations in East Java, an enemy convoy near Koepang, and troop concentrations at Tawao. A detachment of aircraft was also sent to Morotai to assist in raids on Labuan, Tanamon, Borneo, and islands in the Netherlands East Indies.

Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon Parker was killed on the 23 March 1945 whilst flying in the B24 Liberator A72-80.

The following is an excerpt from:

No. 24 Squadron Operations Record Book A50 Entry dated (Friday) 23 March 1945 as related in Beasy, J and C. (John and Carol) Truscott: The Diary of Australia’s Secret Wartime Kimberley Airbase, Australian Military History Publications, Loftus NSW, 1995.

At 0650 hours today (Friday 23 March 1945) Squadron Leader Straus, Captain, and crew (plus one passenger) took off in Liberator A72-80 from Truscott Strip, leading a formation of four aircraft on an armed recce (reconnaissance) of the Lombok area. Shortly after take-off, Squadron Leader Straus called Truscott tower on VHF (Very High Frequency radio) indicating that he was preparing for an emergency landing. Owing to low altitude it was apparent that Squadron Leader Straus could not locate the strip. For 23 minutes after take-off the aircraft was airborne and during this time various messages from the aircraft were received by Truscott tower and VHF homing and by the remainder of the aircraft in the formation. None of these messages informed the exact cause of the distress but all that was received was that the aircraft could not gain height. At 0713 hours a message was received that Squadron Leader Straus was about to ditch in Vansittart Bay. Following this, the crews of the remaining three aircraft saw A72-80 ditch with wings level but at a fairly high rate of decent. The aircraft caught fire on impact with the water and disintegrated. The control tower at Truscott ordered HMAS COONGOOLA, at West Bay for sea rescue purposes, to proceed to the scene of the crash. HMAS COONGOOLA arrived there about four hours later and searched the area, recovering only the body of Flight Sergeant Rodgers. Spitfires and Venturas searched the area throughout the day and again the following morning.

Twelve crew members perished in this aircraft accident and is the highest ever loss of life in an Australian military aircraft accident in Western Australia.

 Five airmen who lost their life in this aircraft accident trained at No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School,  Ballarat, over the course of WW2.


Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon PARKER - 1 Wags Ballarat

Identified from left to right in the back row are:

Front row, from left to right are:

1WAGS BallaratMissing from photo :

Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon Parker has no known grave.

He and his crew are honoured at the Adelaide River Northern Territory Memorial and the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour.

Herbert Parker was 25 years old and leaves a wife Naomi Parker of Broadbeach QLD.


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