John was born in Hawarden. He was the youngest of the five children of Lt.-Col. Francis Woodbine Parish and his wife, Dorothy Mary Catherine Drew. She was the daughter of the Reverend Harry Drew, Rector of Hawarden and Mary Gladstone, a daughter of the Prime Minister, W.E. Gladstone. The Parishes had two other sons and two daughters.

Colonel Parish had been awarded the Military Cross and the D.S.O. in the First World War, during which he had been seriously wounded. On 17 September 1921, he sailed from London to New York on the Menominee with his wife. There was one other passenger, a 24-year-old student, Percival John Higgs from Devonport. It seems that he may have been with them to assist with the Colonel who died in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, aged thirty-seven, on 13 October. He left £905-2-7 to his wife, living at 2 The Boltons, London. She died in 1982 at the age of ninety-two.

John was educated at West Downs and Rugby. He Matriculated in 1939. In September 1938, along with fourteen other students, he visited the United States under the auspices of the English Speaking Union and attended St. George’s School, Rhode Island, USA. He was at Christ Church for only one year when he was called up.

He was a Sub-Lieutenant (A) stationed at HMS Heron [Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton]. In 1939 the Admiralty Air Division commandeered 417 acres of land at Yeovilton, and work began on the construction of the site, with the runways being completed in 1941, despite problems with poor drainage.

He was killed when his Hurricane of 759 Squadron crashed in the River Parrett on 17 May 1941.

He is buried in the churchyard of St Deiniol at Hawarden, Flintshire.

He is commemorated on the West Downs School memorial.

He left £273-9-5. Administration was granted to his mother.

His brother, Pilot Officer David Francis Woodbine Parish was killed on 11 February 1942. A pilot with 236 Squadron, he is commemorated on the Malta memorial Panel 3, Column 1.