Barrie Parkes (full name Barrie Northend Parkes BEM) served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1954 until 1977 in various locations in the United Kingdom, including a three-year voluntary tour of duty in Northern Ireland, RAF Gan (Maldives), RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus) and RAF Gütersloh (Germany). Parkes was a senior non-commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force Police and worked in counter intelligence, counter terrorism, security and investigatory roles throughout his military career.
In the late sixties Parkes was part of the Royal Air Force counter intelligence team working under the command of Air Commodore George Innes CBE (at that time a Squadron leader and later Provost Marshal of the Royal Air Force) that hunted down and arrested a Royal Air Force serviceman whom, courtesy of a tip off in February 1968, MI5 had discovered was offering information to the Soviet Intelligence Directorate.
The Royal Air Force serviceman was identified as Chief Technician Douglas Ronald Britten (born 31 October 1931, died February 1990), a Royal Air Force signals intelligence specialist serving at No. 399 Signals Unit at RAF Digby and also at a listening station in Cyprus (part of GCHQ). Britten was arrested on 13 September 1968 and later confessed to breaches of The Official Secrets Act and having worked with the Soviet Intelligence Directorate. He was tried and convicted of espionage at the Old Bailey and was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment.
In 1975 Parkes was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM, see letter below) in recognition of his work in Northern Ireland; during and after his military service he was awarded several other commendations and medals.
In 1977 Parkes established his own aviation security and investigatory business. The business was a success and Parkes controlled it until just before his death in 2001. Over the years the business secured several global conglomerates as clients including Boeing, General Electric, McDonnell Douglas, United Technologies, Litton Industries and Bell Helicopter Textron.
Prior to leaving the Royal Air Force Police, Barrie Parkes was already well known to Alan Brooke Pemberton CVO MBE who worked in British Intelligence. In 1978 Alan Pemberton introduced Barrie Parkes to Bill Fairclough, who worked with Pemberton, to help manage Fairclough's security. That year, the three of them formed Faire Sans Dire, which was later to become a niche global intelligence agency. Parkes performed a pivotal role in Faire Sans Dire's activities for some 20 years until the late nineties.
On 11 September 2001 Barrie Parkes died of cancer in Hillingdon Middlesex England. His funeral service was conducted by Padre Colin Hewitt, at that time the station Padre from RAF Uxbridge. The funeral service was interrupted from the outset by some loud electronic feedback from the microphone being used by the RAF Padre. The Padre commented that if anyone needed proof of life after death, the funeral service was being bugged by none other than Barrie Parkes.