Long lost family of Second World War pilot finally found

Sara Nash and her husband Mike have been found on the hunt for living relatives of Flt Lt Parsons from Norwich (inset) 

Sara Nash and her husband Mike have been found on the hunt for living relatives of Flt Lt Parsons from Norwich (inset) - Credit: Supplied by Mike and Sara Nash

Living relatives of a Second World War pilot from Norwich who was killed in action have been discovered after his photo was spotted in an Evening News appeal.

The hunt was started by chairman of Friends of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron Association, Kevin King, for the families of those who lost their lives during Second World War.

Flt Lt Eric George Parsons led his crew of seven on a daylight attack on an oil plant in Germany in March of 1945.

The entire crew perished.

But after stumbling across an article in the Evening News, ex-RAF serviceman Mike Hillier of Haveringland uncovered a photograph of Parsons' mother and sister on Ancestry.

The military serviceman then made contact with Parsons' niece Sara Nash and her husband Mike.

Mike Hillier from Haveringland was instrumental in finding living relatives of Fl Lt Eric Parsons' family

Mike Hillier from Haveringland was instrumental in connecting living relatives of Fl Lt Eric Parsons' family with Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association - Credit: Supplied by Mike Hillier

A process that generally takes days or weeks, Mr Hillier managed to find living blood relatives in a matter of hours.

He said: "I don't pick the paper up every day but I just saw it there and really wanted to help out.

"I managed to find them through a family tree. Once I had that, I could contact the people and confirm whether this was their relative and by what way."

A photograph of Flt Lt Eric Parsons' mother Ellen (née Andrews) and his sister Sybil at Christmas in 1946

A photograph of Flt Lt Eric Parsons' mother Ellen (née Andrews) and his sister Sybil at Christmas in 1946 following the deaths of Eric and his father, Edward - Credit: Supplied by Mike Hillier

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Sara, 69 is Norwich born and bred but now lives in Stevenage.

She said she was taken aback when Mr Hillier got in touch.

Norwich-born Sara Nash with her husband, Mike. The couple now reside in Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Norwich-born Sara Nash with her husband, Mike. The couple now reside in Stevenage, Hertfordshire - Credit: Supplied by Mike and Sara Nash

She said: "It was totally out of the blue. We have a few family photos but not a lot. Eric was quite young, 23 when he died. He was my mother's younger brother.

"My mother died around 30 years ago at the age of 74 and she was one of the last with a living memory of Eric."

Flt Lt Eric Parsons of Norwich, pictured with his parents Ernest and Ellen in September 1944

Flt Lt Eric Parsons of Norwich, pictured with his parents Ernest and Ellen - Sara's grandparents - in September 1944 - Credit: Supplied by Mike and Sara Nash

Sybil Russell, née Parsons - the sister of Flt Lt Eric Parsons of Norwich

Sybil Russell, née Parsons - the sister of Flt Lt Eric Parsons of Norwich - Credit: Supplied by Mike and Sara Nash

Sara's mother Sybil - Eric's sister - married Frederick Russell, and Ellen Parsons (Sara's grandmother and Eric's mother) lived with the pair soon after they tied the knot.

She added: "She was so distraught after losing her son and her husband within a year of each other."

Mike and Sara Nash on their wedding day in Norwich in 1974. Sara is the niece of Flt Lt Eric Parsons

Mike and Sara Nash on their wedding day in Norwich in 1974. Sara is the niece of Flt Lt Eric Parsons, who died on a mission over Germany in WWII - Credit: Supplied by Mike and Sara Nash

Sara added: "My mum didn't like talking about anything to do with the war at all. I think she just found it too upsetting. Any talk of the war just got shut down."

Parsons' crew

Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association is also on the hunt to track down the families of other members of Flt Lt Parsons' crew.

Flt Sgt Francis Henry Ebbage

Flt Sgt Francis Henry Ebbage, son of Henry and Mabel Ebbage of Whinburgh, near Dereham, was killed in action in March 1945

Flt Sgt Francis Henry Ebbage - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association


Air Bomber, 21.

Son of Henry and Mabel Florence Ebbage of Whinburgh, Norfolk. 

Sgt Charles Albert Longstaff

Sgt Charles Albert Longstaff of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire

Sgt Charles Albert Longstaff of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association


Flt engineer, 31.

Son of Charles Henry and Mary Longstaff of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire.

At the time of enlistment Charles was living and working in Halifax for the General Post Office.

Sgt John Nichol

Sgt John Nichol of Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Sgt John Nichol of Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

Rear gunner, 28.

Son of John Albert and Louise Nichol of Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Flt Sgt William Phinn

Flt Sgt William Phinn of Denton Holme, Carlisle

Flt Sgt William Phinn of Denton Holme, Carlisle - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

Navigator, 23.

Son of Peter and Mary Ann Phinn of Denton Holme, Carlisle.

Flt Sgt Eric Ramsay

Flt Sgt Eric Ramsay of Moston, Manchester

Flt Sgt Eric Ramsay of Moston, Manchester - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

Wireless operator, 20.

Son of Thomas and Eliza Ramsay of Moston, Manchester.

Sgt John Lawrence Beard

Sgt John Lawrence Beard RAFVR of of East Dulwich, London

Sgt John Lawrence Beard RAFVR of of East Dulwich, London - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

Mid Upper Gunner, 19.

Son of Lawrence Arthur and Lilian Beard of East Dulwich, London.