Within the documents held at The National Archives are rich, inter-governmental department conversations – something I was reminded of when researching the reasons for the delay of the award of the Victoria Cross to Frederick Parslow.
The 1915 project to index the Crew Lists and Agreements for the Merchant Navy has just been successfully released and during the course of the project we found many, many interesting stories which I hope to share via other blogs. However, one story we found inspired us to launch the project to mark the anniversary.
At 8am on 4 July 1915 the Anglo-Californian was sailing 90 miles south west of Queenstown, with a cargo of horses destined for the war effort, when a large submarine was sighted about a mile from the port beam. The ship immediately started manoeuvring and an SOS was sent. At 9am the submarine opened fire and kept the ship under fire until 10am when the order to abandon ship was given by the submarine. Captain Parslow stopped the ship to allow men to leave but then received a radio message telling him to hold on. As the ship got underway again the submarine opened fire wrecking the bridge and killing Parslow. His son, who was a mate on board ship, and also called Frederick Parslow, took over the fight until two destroyers arrived on the scene at about 11am and the submarine dived.