St John's Leytonstone

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Reverend George Edward Maule Parry

George Parry was born on 4th February 1915. He was the eldest of four sons born to Allen and Muriel Parry. At the time of George's birth his father was a curate at Hornchurch parish church, Essex.
George went to school at Farnfield's Preparatory School in Bickley, Kent. This was most likely Bickley Hall School which was run by Bernard and Archibald Farnfield.
In 1929 George and his brother Allen went on to study at Weymouth College, which was located in 20 acres of land near the dockyard. The chairman of the school council was the Bishop of Barking, the Right Reverend James Inskip.
In 1933 George went on to study for the associateship at King's College London, and after completing it in 1937, spent a year training for holy orders at Bishop's College, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.
On Trinity Sunday 1938 he was ordained Deacon and licensed to the curacy of St. John the Baptist, Leytonstone, under the vicar, Canon William Tom Brown.
He was given the task of ministering to the youth of St John's and was in charge of the Sunday, School, Young Peoples Society and other youth groups. He was also chaplain to the 2nd Leytonstone Sea Scouts.
George was priested on Trinity Sunday 1939.
On 3rd September 1939, the day war broke out, Canon Brown died. George took temporary charge of the parish until a vicar could be appointed. He was in charge of St John' until late January 1940, when Reverend John Stanley took over as vicar.
George was asked to take over as priest-in-charge of Emmanuel, Forest Gate. The vicar there had become a Chaplain to the Forces. George took over in July, but he was already looking to become a Chaplain to the Forces himself. He had been turned down in May 1940 because he was too young. However, in January 1941 he was invited to re-apply.
He attended the training course at Chester and was assigned the 3rd Training Battalion, the Royal Army Service Corps for six months before being sent out to West Africa (Gold Coast). After spending nineteen months in West Africa, George returned to the UK and was assigned to the recently formed 7th Battalion (Light Infantry) The Parachute Regiment on 10th September 1943.George had requested the assignment to the Parachute Regiment upon his return to the UK and he became a popular member of the battalion.

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The battalion was preparing to take their part in taking back Europe from the Nazi forces. Their task on D-Day was to hold and defend two bridges, codenamed Pegasus and Horsa, that crossed the Caen Canal and River Orne. Major Howard of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment took the bridges in the early hours of the morning of D-Day. 7th Para were dropped into France shortly after. The wind was strong and the sky overcast, which made matters difficult for the battalion to locate landmarks and the rendezvous point.
By 3am George was in the town of Ranville. Ranville had been taken by 13th battalion a little earlier and the chateau in Ranville had been designated as the Main Dressing Station. The 7th Para doctor had not turned up a the rendezvous point and so George took those medics he could find to Ranville. Once there, Major Hewlings, in charge of the Dressing Station, ordered Captain Wagstaff to take George and a number of medical personnel to set up the Regimental Aid Post for 7th Para in Benouville.
They arrived in Benouville around 4.30am and Captain Wagstaff ordered George to set up one aid post in a house while he set up another one a little further along the street. The fighting to hold and defend the bridges was hard and furious. There were many casualties and both aid posts soon filled up. Around 7.30am the German forces penetrated 7th Para's defences. They reached the aid post set up by George and proceeded to kill the injured and the medical personnel. George protested and tried to stop them, but he too was killed.
The aid post was cut off and no one was able to reach it until much later in the day, when, Captain Webber led a small group of men to retake it. They found no one alive.
George's death was reported in the casualty list of June 28th and on the following day an article written by Leonard Moseley appeared in the Daily Sketch and a number of other newspapers.
George Parry was the subject of BBC Radio 4's programme "The Chaplain's Suitcase". You may read more about his life in the booklet produced for St John's "The Parachuting Parson". See our Publications Page.