Oscar Parkes

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Dr. Oscar Parkes, O.B.E., M.B., Ch.B. (18 October, 1885 – 24 June, 1958) was a well-known naval historian, and editor of Jane's Fighting Ships from 1918 to 1935.

Life & Career

Parkes was born at Handsworth, Birmingham, on 18 October, 1885, the son of Dr. W. E. Parkes. He was educated at Rydal Mount, Colwyn Bay, Berkhamsted, and Birmingham University, where he graduated M.B., Ch.B. in 1914. He played both rugby football and cricket for his university. After holding resident appointments at the General Hospital, Birmingham, he joined the Royal Navy, being granted a temporary Commission as a Surgeon in the Royal Navy on 25 February, 1915.[1] Towards the end of the First World War served in the Naval Intelligence Division at the Admiralty. He was present at internment of the High Sea Fleet in Agincourt. On 22 August, 1919 Parkes was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.),

For valuable services in H.M. Hospital Ships during the War and at the R.N. Hospitals, Chatham and Plymouth.[2]

In 1919 he became official naval artist and director of the naval photographic section at the Imperial War Museum. Before he left the Service in 1920 he had already been appointed editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, an annual publication founded in 1897.

Between the wars he practised in Knightsbridge and was for a time an adviser in neurology to the Ministry of Pensions. He moved to Ringwood in 1943 and continued to practise there, being for a time on the staff of Fordingbridge Hospital. Six months ago he retired from medical practice and went to live in Northern Ireland, having been appointed a director of a publishing company there. Besides his work as editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, Dr. Parkes contributed many articles on naval history and other matters to the Navy League Magazine and other journals. He was a very capable marine artist and had exhibited at the Royal Academy. He died suddenly at his home in Co. Down on 24 June, 1958 at the age of 72.


  • "Dr. Oscar Parkes" (Obituaries). The Times. Thursday, 26 June, 1958. Issue 54187, col E, pg. 12.
  • Unknown (5 July, 1958). "Obituary". British Medical Journal (5087): p. 52.

See Also



  1. The London Gazette: no. 29086. p. 2092. 2 March, 1915.
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31516. p. 10632. 22 August, 1919.