Saturday, 25 April 2015

Parkinson, Thomas - Gunner

(No soldier photo available)
154 Bty. 52 L.A.A. Regiment,
Royal Artillery
Died 26 April 1941
Age 22

On 6 April 1941 a strong German force invaded Greece. On 18 April, British, Greek, Australian and New Zealand troops began a fighting withdrawal from the Mount Olympus area to a defence line at Thermopylae. However, the German Luftwaffe had complete control of the air and made devastating attacks on the Allied forces. The following day it was decided that the situation was untenable and the Allied troops were to be evacuated to Crete. Gunner Thomas Parkinson and some of his comrades were on a transport ship in the Aegean Sea when it was torpedoed and sunk. Some four years later, a comrade who had been a prisoner of war, wrote to Thomas' mother to say that he was drowned when the ship was sunk. It was only then that she received confirmation from the War Office that he was dead.

Thomas was the son of John and Emily Parkinson. He was 22. His regiment was mobilised on 24 August 1939 and went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Thomas was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940.

Thomas' name is on the Athens Memorial. The Memorial is within the Phaleron War Cemetery which lies a few kilometres southeast of Athens, near the international airport. It commemorates nearly 3,000 members of the land forces of the Commonwealth who lost their lives in Greece and Crete in 1941 and 1944-1945, and have no known grave. Thomas, with his comrades, is named on Face 2.