Personal info

  • Name: Frederick Daniel PARSLOW
  • D.O.B: 14th Apr, 1856
  • D.O.A: 4th Jul, 1915
  • D.O.D: 4th Jul, 1915
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, HM Horse Transport Anglo-Californian, Royal Naval Reserve
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Off Queenstown (Cobh, Co Cork), Ireland 4 July 1915

4 July 1915

More details about:
The First World War 1915 

At 8am on 4 July 1915 in the Atlantic about 90 miles south-west of Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, HM Horse Transport Anglo-Californian, carrying 927 horses bound for the Western Front from Montreal to Avonmouth, was sighted by a German submarine, U39. The Anglo-Californian’s Captain, Lieutenant F D Parslow, put on speed and began making evasive manoeuvres, trying to keep the ship’s stern aligned to the submarine. At 9am the submarine opened fire in an attempt to persuade the Anglo-Californian to surrender and Parslow sent out SOS messages. At about 10.30am the U39 ordered Parslow to ‘abandon ship’. Parslow was in the course of doing this when the destroyers Mentor and Miranda, which were steaming to his assistance, asked him to hold out so that they could home in on the U-boat. Parslow got the Anglo-Californian under way again. He and his son, Second Mate F Parslow junior, lay on the deck of the bridge to steer the ship, but Parslow, needing to look up from time to time, was killed by a German shell, which blew off his head and one arm. However, the ship had been saved. The arrival of the destroyers caused the U39 to dive and the Anglo-Californian reached Queenstown. Frederick Parslow junior was awarded the DSC.


 For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of the Horse Transport “Anglo-Californian” on the 4th July, 1915. At 8 a.m. on 4th July, 1915, a large submarine was sighted on the port beam at a distance of about one mile. The ship, which was entirely unarmed, was immediately manoeuvred to bring the submarine astern; every effort was made to increase speed, and an S.O.S. call was sent out by wireless, an answer being received from a man-of-war. At 9 a.m. the submarine opened fire, and maintained a steady fire, making occasional hits, until 10.30 a.m., meanwhile Lieutenant Parslow constantly altered course and kept the submarine astern. At 10 30 a m the enemy hoisted the signal to “abandon the vessel as fast as possible,” and in order to save life Lieutenant Parslow decided to obey, and stopped engines to give as many of the the crew as wished an opportunity to get away in the boats On receiving a wireless message from a destroyer, however, urging him to hold on as long as possible, he decided to get way on the ship again The submarine then opened a heavy fire on the bridge and boats with guns and rifles, wrecking the upper bridge, killing Lieutenant Parslow and carrying away one of the port davits, causing the boat to drop into the sea and throwing its occupants into the water At about 11 a m two destroyers arrived on the scene, and the submarine dived Throughout the attack Lieutenant Parslow remained on the bridge, on which the enemy fire was concentrated, entirely without protection, and by his magnificent heroism succeeded, at the cost of his own life, in saving a valuable ship and cargo for the country He set a splendid example to the officers and men of the Mercantile Marine 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 23 May 1919. 24 May 1919, Numb. 31354, pp. 6445-46

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