Long lost family of WWII pilot finally found after newspaper appeal

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

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

Relatives of a Second World War pilot have been found in Stevenage, after his photo was spotted in an appeal by the Norwich Evening News.

The hunt for family members of Flt Lt Eric George Parsons, who died in action, was started by chairman of Friends of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron Association, Kevin King.

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 Norwich Evening News, ex-RAF serviceman Mike Hillier of Haveringland uncovered a photograph of Parsons' mother and sister on Ancestry.com.

The military serviceman then made contact with Parsons' niece Sara Nash and her husband Mike, who live in Stevenage.

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

Sara, 69, said she was taken aback when Mr Hillier got in touch. 

She said: "It was totally out of the blue.

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"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

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

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.

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

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

"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."

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

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

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

"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."

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