Sergeant John Herbert Parkinson, the son of John Robert Parkinson and Maud Beatrice Parkinson (nee Corr), was born at Oakey in Queensland on 1st October 1916. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 23 years and 10 months he was mobilized into the Australian Military Forces at Toowoomba on 14th August 1940 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of his mobilization he was unmarried, employed as a Shop Assistant and residing with his family at 528 Ruthven Street in Toowoomba. He had previously served in the Citizen Military Force with the 25th Infantry Battalion. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he had dark hair and grey eyes. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr John Robert Parkinson, residing at 528 Ruthven Street in Toowoomba. His next of kin was later changed to that of his wife, Mrs V.H. Parkinson, 113 John Street, Redcliffe, Queensland.
Sergeant John Parkinson was called up for fulltime duty on 19th September 1941. He was allotted the regimental number of Q22366. Whilst attending a Non Commissioned Officers’ School at Enoggera he was allocated to the 25th Infantry Battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 19th September 1941 and joined the 25th Infantry Battalion at the Cabarlah Camp on 24th September 1941. He attended a P & RT course at Cabarlah during the period 1st until 11th December 1941. He attended a course of instruction at I.O.T.S. at Bonegilla on 6th May 1942. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant on 1st March 1942.
Sergeant John Parkinson embarked for overseas service in New Guinea from Townsville on the ship “Bontokoe” on 12th July 1942 and he disembarked at Gili Gili Wharf at Milne Bay on 15th July 1942. He was wounded in action during the Japanese attacks at Milne Bay suffering a bayonet wound to his right upper arm and chest on 29th August 1942 and he was admitted to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station. At the time he was wounded he was manning a Lewis gun. He was repatriated on the 2nd/1st Hospital Ship from Milne Bay on 7th September 1942 and he disembarked from the ship at Brisbane on 14th September 1942. Later that day he was admitted to the 112th Australian General Hospital. He died as a result of his wounds at 0740 hours on 16th September 1942 and he was buried in the military section of the Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane. At the time of his death he 25 years of age.
Sergeant John Parkinson, for his service during World War 2, had entitlement for the 1939/1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Photo and Text: Sergeant John Herbert Parkinson, husband of Mrs V.H. Parkinson, Arthur Street, Toowoomba, and elder son of Mr and Mrs J.R. Parkinson, Ruthven Street, Toowoomba, who died of wounds received in action at Milne Bay.
John Parkinson’s brother Aircraftman Class 1 Raymond Robert Parkinson (79398) served in the Royal Australian Air Force from 3rd November 1942 until 8th January 1946.
His mother applied for and received the Mothers’ & Widows’ Badge with one star and the Female Relative Badge with one star on 12th April 1943.
His wife applied for and received the Mothers’ & Widows’ Badge with one star and the Female Relative Badge with one star on 28th February 1943.
A comprehensive history of the 25th Battalion’s service during World War 2 can be found in Bob Doneley’s book, “Toowoomba to Torokina”, Big Sky Publishing, Newport, New South Wales. 2012. ISBN 97819219411580. The book contains a Nominal Roll and also a Roll of Honour.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 28th January 1931 and left the School on 8th April 1931. His parent was shown as Mr M.B. Parkinson of Toowoomba.