Hunt to find families of two Norfolk WWII flying legends

The search is on for relatives of Flt Lt Eric George Parsons from Norwich and Flt Sgt Francis Henry Ebbage from Whinburgh

The search is on to find the families of RAF heroes Flt Lt Eric George Parsons from Norwich and Flt Sgt Francis Henry Ebbage - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

The search is on to find the long lost family of a Norwich RAF captain killed in action during the Second World War. 

Friends of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron Association was founded following the disbandment of the squadron of the same name in 2005, and is run by crew members' family to keep their memory alive.

And now the group is on a quest to find any living relatives of Flt Lt Eric George Parsons from Norwich.

The Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve was captain of a Lancaster Bomber tasked to carry out a daylight attack on an oil plant in Germany.

He died after his aircraft was hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire on March 14, 1945.

Included in his crew was Flt Sgt Francis Henry Ebbage from Whinburgh, near Dereham - with the organisation also hunting for his relatives. 

Flt Lt Parsons was captain of a Lancaster Bomber tasked to carry out a daylight attack in Germany when he was killed in 1945

Flt Lt Eric George Parsons was captain of a Lancaster Bomber - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

Fl Lt Parsons left behind his parents Ernest Edward James (1885-1946) and Ellen Elizabeth (1892-1972) (née Andrews) and is also believed to have had a sister Sybil. 

Most Read

He was 23.

He is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany alongside four of his crew.

Two of Parsons' crew - including Flt Sgt Ebbage, son of Henry and Mabel Florence Ebbage - were never found.

They are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial to missing airmen.

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

Not much more is known of Eric and his men, which is why Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association chairman Kevin King is on the hunt for answers.

The 70-year-old from Maidstone, whose uncle and fellow 75 New Zealand Squadron also died in the conflict, said: "The thing is you can't get his service details unless you are a next of kin. You've got to rely on finding next of kin to get that information. 

"There was no mention of a wife or anything for any of them. In actual fact it was just their parents.

"If they were married it would've been in the Commonwealth War Graves records, where I've got most of the basic information from so far."

He added that the squadron had the second-highest mortality rate across the entire RAF, losing 1,139 members between 1940 and 1945.

A photograph of the 75 (NZ) Squadron in March 1945 - the day after Norwich's Flt Lt Eric Parsons and his crew were killed

A photograph of the 75 (New Zealand) Squadron in March 1945 - Credit: Supplied by Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association

Those with information can contact Kevin at kevinfking@talktalk.net.

Norwich in WWII

IMAGES OF NORWICH BOOKChapter The Second World War, Page 45.MEN OF THE NFS IN THE AREA OF RAMPANT HO

IMAGES OF NORWICH BOOKChapter The Second World War, Page 45.MEN OF THE NFS IN THE AREA OF RAMPANT HORSE STREET.DATE 30TH APRIL 1942PLATE P0874firemen tackle a blaze during the blitz in 1942

Norwich was initially bombed in the summer of 1940 and was lulled into a false sense of security after a lack of enemy action until April 1942.

Then the Baedeker raids reduced parts of the city to rubble - a direct attack on Norwich's historical hot spots.

The evening of April 27, 1942 saw the most devastating of these attacks, where between 25 and 30 Luftwaffes could be heard in the skies above, dropping around 185 heavy bombs on the city. 

A total of 162 people were killed with almost 600 others being seriously injured.

St Stephen's Street air raid damage. Photograph © George Plunkett

Air raid damage on St Stephens Street in Norwich during the Second World War. - Credit: © George Plunkett

Norwich Cathedral was badly damaged in further attacks in the June, with the castle, City Hall and the Guildhall emerging unscathed while many residential streets were obliterated.

Large parts of St Stephens Street were lost in the bombings, and Norwich City Station was destroyed.

Rampant Horse Street in Norwich following air raid in 1942.

Rampant Horse Street in Norwich following air raid in 1942. - Credit: Archant

It was gutted in a Second World War air raid on Norwich, but you can still see how handsome the trai

It was gutted in a Second World War air raid on Norwich, but you can still see how handsome the training college must have been. - Credit: Archant