A BRITISH sea captain who died during World War I off the coast of Co. Cork in a German U-boat attack has been honoured in a ceremony in London.
Captain Frederick Parslow, who is buried in Cobh, was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his bravery on board his unarmed ship,the Anglo-Californian, which was torpedoed by the German submarine in 1915 – just weeks after the sinking of the Lusitania.
He was remembered in a commemoration service in Islington, north London on Saturday (June 4) to mark the 100th anniversary of his death.
Along with his crew, Capt Parslow, 59, was transporting 900 horses from Montreal to Avonmouth and was almost finished the journey when he was killed.
While passing by the Irish coast, about 90 miles from Cobh (then known as Queenstown), the Anglo-Californian came across a German U-boat.
The submarine surfaced and took fire on the unarmed ship, repeatedly firing at its bridge. In one of these shots – a direct hit – Capt Parslow was killed.
He was commended in the weeks after his death for his bravery on board.
Reports surfaced that after an hour and a half of being under attack, Capt Parslow obeyed the Germans’ demands and turned off his engines. However, soon after he received a message from the British destroyers who were on their way from the Royal Navy base in Queenstown.
With this information Capt Parslow made the decision to restart his engines and try to bring his crew and cargo to safety – but the Germans opened fire once more, killing him and 33 other members of his crew.
Capt Parslow was brought to Cork, where he was laid to rest in the seaside town of Cobh – where hundreds of victims of the Lusitania sinking had been buried just weeks before.
In an unusual move, the captain was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross – an honour usually kept for military men.
The VC award is engraved into his tombstone in the Old Church Cemetery in Cobh.
The tragedy was remembered on Saturday in Islington, where Capt Parslow was born in 1856, with the unveiling of a memorial stone.
The stone, which bears the Merchant Navy colours, was unveiled at a public ceremony at the war memorial at Islington Green attended by senior members of the Royal Navy.
— Centenary News (@CentenaryNews) July 4, 2015