Fl/Sgt. Frederick Emile Parent
Born: January 16th 1926, London, England. Died: August 24th 2011 Age 85.
Taking part in one of the last night time operations of Bomber Command in WW2. This aircraft loss is also is listed as one of the last air combats between a German night fighter and a Bomber Command 4 engine aircraft.
The crew of 463 Squadron Lancaster I RA542. Fl/Sgt Parent is 4th from right – the last crew member to pass away.
Frederick Emile Parent, just 18 when he joined up in 1943 and after his training he was sent to Waddington, Lincolnshire, where he joined the RAAF 463 Squadron as a W/OP/Air/Gunner.
He was assigned to an Australian Squadron as at the time there were not enough Australians in Britain.
By 2011 he was the last surviving member of the Lancaster Bomber crew that flew in JO-Z. This crew surviving many raids.
Their final trip was started on 25th/26th April, 1945 to attack the oil refineries at Vallo near Tonsberg, Sweden. Under attack from a Ju88 from 4./NJG4 the air gunners from the Lancaster managed to shoot the Luftwaffe nightfighter down. The account is on this website here. The Ju88 was flown by Kurt Gross and he can be found in the Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site.
Fred survived being shot down and returned to civilian life where he was a sign writer/calligrapher. He married a Land Army girl and they had one son. With his small family, he emigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1954.
They adopted a baby boy. Later his marriage broke up and they divorced.
He was employed in the Arts Dept. at Channel 10 in Montreal but decided to move to London, Ontario to pursue an Arts degree at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). He graduated with a B.A. in 1983 aged 57.
In 1990, at age 65, he married again. Sadly, this marriage broke up and there was another divorce.
Fred died, in his sleep, of a heart attack at the Long Term Care facility he had only recently moved into.
He leaves behind 2 sons, 3 grandchildren, an ex-wife, 3 step children and their spouses, 4 step grandchildren and 2 step great grand children.
Details kindly submitted by his ex-wife, Shirley Parent.
Further information sent by Val Williams, a close friend in his last years.
Eulogy sent by Carol Watkins.
A Eulogy from the Memorial service held for Fred by the Coldstream Meeting of the Canadian Religious Society of Friends:
Fred Parent was a man in motion – geographical, intellectual and spiritual, which began when, as a small child with poor health who had to stay home frequently, he discovered what he called his ‘second home’ – the public library. The intellectual motion of reading, driven by his urgent desire to learn and to understand, persisted all his life. It became focussed on religion after his wartime experience in the Royal Air force, which convinced him that he had to find a spiritual home in a religious group that rejected all forms of violence.
This search led him to read widely in the major religions of the world – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, and this steady intellectual motion led him finally to the Religious Society of Friends often referred to as Quakers.
Although he was attracted to them, joining was postponed while he and his wife struggled with the difficulties of life in postwar Britain.
Eventually, they decided to emigrate to Canada, first to Montreal. Geographical motion then led him to other locations, and finally to London, where he became a Member of the Coldstream Meeting.
Although Fred’s spiritual motion towards the Quakers began after his wartime experiences, it did not lead him into the Quaker community until he had examined closely everything that the other religions offered. In this he resembled the founder of the Quaker community, George Fox , who went desperately from one established expert to another, asking for a resolution of his spiritual confusion. They could not supply any, and Fox finally recognised that no one could tell him what to believe, that he must find God by himself, and that, as he said:
‘There’s that of God in everyone’
If you have additional information or photographs to add to this Obituary please contact us.
We seek to commemorate all and would be pleased to receive your contributions.