Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0613
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3877 21-07-44 Halifax
MilRank First Name(s) Name
F/O. Kenneth Charles Parsons
Milregnr. Nationality Born
130602 British
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 10 Mar 45 Lage Zwaluwe Biesbosch Crossing
Evader Story
						F/O. Kenneth Charles (Ken) Parsons was the bomb aimer of Halifax MZ511. This aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter and crashed between Oldebroek and Heerde. Parsons tried to bail out but he couldn’t remember of the last moments in the aircraft. When he came too, he was lying on a muddy path in a pinewood, with his parachute draped around him. Parson was seriously wounded at the back and wasn’t able to walk initially. Through the trees he saw the burning wreckage of the bomber. In spite of his injuries he started to walk in a westerly direction. Coming at the edge of the forest he decided to turn back but was then accosted by a few Dutch youngsters. One of them went away to fetch someone who spoke English and returned with Fred Meijer. Because of his injuries, Parsons was asked by Meijer if he wanted to become a PoW or to be helped by the resistance. As Parsons already felt a bit better, he chose for the last option. 

The boys and Meijer then took Parsons to the farm of the Eilander family at the Veenweg in Heerde. Here his wounds were treated and next he was put in bed. A few hours later, he was taken to an underground hiding place in the forest. In the following days he hid in several places around the farm. After two or three days, Parsons was picked up by a Morris 8. Driven by J.C. Mennink and accompanied by Narda van Terwisga and J.C. (Bub) de Vries they drove to Apeldoorn to the house of ‘Bubs’ parents at the Frisolaan 5. Here Parsons met two other airmen: P/O. Eric Blakemore (E057) and F/O. Jack Craven (E0571). Three days later it was decided that three airmen in the house was one too many. The next day Parsons moved next door to the house of doctor Stigter and his wife at the Frisolaan 7 and he stayed there for 2,5 months. 

At the end of September everything changed when De Vries and his daughter didn’t come home before curfew. After two hours, daughter Nancy arrived and told that her father was arrested when the Narda resistance group was rounded up by the German SD. Blakemore, Craven and another airman, F/Sgt. George Palamountain (E540) joined Parsons in the house of doctor Stigter. The next day, a quiet Sunday morning, they cycled to the outskirts of Apeldoorn. Here they boarded a fire truck that took them to the fire station in the Hoofdstraat in Epe. They changed cars there and were brought to the ‘De Schar’ hut in the ‘Pas Op’-camp in the woods near Vierhouten. Early in the evening of October 26, they were taken, together with Americans Tom, Carroll, Al, Jim, Clark Noble and a British glider pilot, to a labour camp near ‘t Harde. After three days there they were on the move again and ended up on the farm of widow Bakker-Van Essen at the Verlengde Schietweg, not far from the labor camp. 

Here the group was split and Parsons and Noble were taken to the farm of H.J. Van den Brink near the Zuiderzee, west of Elburg. Sometime later these two were joined there by Blakemore and Craven. After about three weeks they joined a group of evaders that assembled in the barn of the van Norel family at the Stoopschaarweg in Doornspijk. The plan was that they would be picked up by a truck there, but the truck didn’t turn up. Parsons, Noble, Blakemore and Craven were taken to a farm nearby. However, the next evening the truck did arrive, and the four airmen returned in a hurry to board the truck. After an adventurous ride of about an hour the truck stopped, and a man escorted them to another assembling point for Operation Pegasus II. 

At dusk of November 18, the evaders left as last party for the last stage in this escape operation. While on their way, they heard machine gun fire from up front. An advance party had run into a German sentry and a firefight had started. The guides of the resistance ordered the party into a thick forest to wait there. In the afternoon, after a night in the cold, a farmer turned up with stew and Dutch gin (jenever). In the evening a horse drawn cart appeared as promised and took them to a barn on the land of J. van Essen at the Westerhuisweg in Harskamp. In the night of 24 November, Parsons and Blakemore were picked up here and taken to Piet Christen and his family in the Verlooplaan in Barneveld. Soon they had to leave here for security reasons, and they spent the night in the neighbor's house. The little farm of Wouter Bouwman at the Wencopperweg between Barneveld and Voorthuizen was their hiding address for the next two nights. From there they went to the ‘Grote Boerderij’ of Cees and Gerrie Overeem at the Parallelweg in Voorthuizen. Around Christmas they had to leave here and returned to the farm of Wouter Bouwman. On 31 December they went to the house of W. van Barneveld Kooy at the Blootekamperweg in Voorthuizen. 

In the evening of 18 January 1945, they left the house in a hurry through the backdoor, wearing their pajama’s, when a German officer rang the doorbell. All went well but it was obvious that this address wasn’t safe anymore. In the following weeks both men hid at several addresses in hamlets in the area like Achterveld, Valk and Zwartebroek. While hiding at a farm near Zwartebroek they were joined on February 3, by Charles Ramlow (E1054), an American airman, and English glider pilot Angus Low. Together they were taken to a little summer house where they joined James Brandford, who had escaped from a POW-camp in Germany. Mid-February the men finally began on their journey to freedom. They left the Veluwe and cycled through Utrecht to ‘Huis te Maarn’, Arriving there, they were waved away because the house had just been searched by the German Grüne Polizei. 

The group was split up and Parsons and Brandford went to stay with J.C. Sturkeboom at the Houtense Wetering 25 in Houten while the others stayed at different addresses. On 7 March, the airmen continued their journey and, after a long bicycle trip, got together again at the farm of H. Rijneveld at the Tiendweg in Willige-Langerak. From this address they were taken across the Lek River by members of the ‘Lekgroep’, a local resistance group. Via Groot-Ammers it went to the house of the van Woerkom family at the Rivierdijk in Sliedrecht. From the back garden of this house, they made the Biesbosch Crossing. First in a rowing boat to go through the creeks of the Biesbosch and then transferring to canoes to cross the Amer river. On March 10, 1945, at 3 o’clock in the morning they arrived in Lage Zwaluwe where Allied troops were waiting for them. Parsons and his fellow evaders were taken to Tilburg for interviews with IS9. Two days later they were flown to England.
* Wolter Noordman, Gevangen op de Veluwe. De ervaringen van ondergedoken geallieerde militairen op de Noordoost-Veluwe 1944-1945 (Kampen 1998), page 15-52 & 176-177
* Wolter Noordman, Ondergedoken op de Veluwe. Geallieerde militairen en hun deelname aan operatie 'Pegasus II' en ontsnapping via 'Biesbosch' (Kampen 2010), page 295-339
* 'Based at Burn' the squadron book’
* Ken Parsons, Dream True (1998)
* W. Noordman, H. Tabak and W. van Velzen, Heerde 1940-1945 (place year), page 56-61