Obituary of Pegasus Bridge Glider Pilot



See todays Daily Telegraph for a remarkable obituary (perhaps someone will post a link as i don't know how).

This chap had a remarkable war and piloted the first Horsa glider to land by Pegasus bridge on D Day.

A couple of things caught my eye-firstly from the photo his medals look like the "standard" WW2 campaing and service medals, thus the expliots detailed were not considered out of the ordinary in the context of that war.

Secondly after demob he worked as a window cleaner. no multi million pound book deals or seralisations in the Scum. Just another chap getting on with his life.

there is a poem quoted elswhere on arrse that laments the passing of a humble soldier, and indeed the world is a poorer place today.

We all owe a huge debt to folks like Wally Parr; RIP Wally, you'll never be forgotten.
What a story! Just cant put into words ........ all i can say is an amazing story of a true hero and if I make it as an Adult Instructor I will certainly make sure the cadets hear about this story. A very humble man but proud to serve his country.
This news brings me great sorrow, not only for loss of a great man and hero of this nation but today I have discovered via a website that I have lost a dear friend.

I first met Wally and Irene whilst growing up in Catford, they lived in a terraced house accross the road from the shop I lived above and were good friends of my parents, I always thought of Wally as being a "bit strange" he was a spiritaist and had his own Indian guide who he would oft speak to whilst in your company, in fact the first meeting that my mother had with him was via a reading.

In the early 80's I began an interest in the army and, knowing Wally was in the war, my father said I should speak to him, what niether of us knew was exactly what he did and about his now legendary sortie. I spent many an afternoon and evening endlessly listerning to his stories of D Day, the following months and evenof his service in Palestine. He never bored me, but that was mainly due to effective way of speaking, he was a natuarl storyteller you see, so much so that after the 40 aniversery of D Day he enjoyed a short lived career as a speaker and travelled to many places, New Orleans (being a huge Jazz fan) being his favourite. However his reputation os a teller of tales would often led many to believe he was a bit of a walt, he would admit himself that the odd story was a little "embelished" but I stongly belive he never lied about his time, I mean considering what he done why BS. I remember fondly of him taking centre stage at my Depot passing out in Woolwich wearing his Blazer, Pegasus badge and tie commanding respect from a small crowd who gathered around him during the post parade drinks. Another memory was of the 50th D Day whilst I was in NI, I watched the celebrations with my team in our room and boring them sensless talking about Wally and how they are bound to speak to him, sureenouth when the veterans gatherd to march across dressed in thier blasers, flannels, berets and medals, one person stuck out, the guy in the light grey suit, yep that was our Wally always the centre of attention.

Fame he did crave and he finally got it via the Stephen Ambrose (he of Band of Brothers fame) book Pegasus Bridge, please if you do anything with your life give it a read or at least check for Wally name, he gets the odd mention :wink:, strangley this was not Wallys only mention in a book, whilst he told me hos story I felt it was very familar and was suprised to discover that I had a copy of the Victor Annual which mention the raid, even more suprising was a mention of Wally talking to his friend Bill Bailly as they prepared to leave blighty. But it was Pegasus Bridge that was his real celeb status, even Irene his wife gets a few mentions, Glider 1 was unofficely christened Lay Irene by Wally scrawling it across the fuselage in chalk as they boarded, I was shocked to hear of her passing many years ago and thought of wally but wasn't the least bit suprised of hearing that he had met a French woman and moved abroad, the story goes he couldn't speak French, she didn't know a word of English which led to some spectacular rows. I never heard of her death, neither did I hear of Wallys return, I always wished to meet him again but alas no more.

So one final farewell my friend RIP

baboon6 said:
According to the obituary he wasn't a glider pilot, he was a corporal in the Ox & Bucks.
Yeah he was Ox and Bucks not Glider Regt, also he was a corporal 3 times, bust twice for robbing the NAAFI, still mad Sgt by Palestine and was offered his WO2 before demobbing
An outstanding man in an outstanding mission. Also worth a mention here is Jim Wallwork, pilot of the first glider to land at Pegasus Bridge, it was so close to the target the nose crashed though barbed wire fence surrounding the defending pill-boxes. Wallwork's skill that night was described by Air Chief Marshall Leigh-Mallory as the greatest flying feat of WWII. Stephen Ambrose's book "Pegasus Bridge" is the mutts nuts of a read and is published by Pocket Books (ISBN 07434 5068).
One dark night, Parr and two friends decided to raid the Naafi. They carried away soap powder by the sackload and spread it over the walkways. It rained shortly afterwards, and the next morning everybody had to wade through the foam. Howard demoted Parr from corporal to private, and sentenced him to a fortnight in jail, but protected him from more drastic punishment. "Parr is a born leader," he said. "As soon as we get into action, he will be promoted at once."

What a guy

RIP old fella
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