Parrey was commissioned lieutenant on 12 April 1761 and promoted commander on 11 May 1776, in which capacity he commanded the tender Bute in the Downs towards the end of the year. He had the sloop Alderney 10 from the spring of 1777, successfully cruising between Yarmouth and the coast of Holland on the lookout for American vessels trading with the Netherlands.
He was posted captain with seniority from 2 May 1778 as a reward for participating in the Kings review of the fleet that month, and he joined the Invincible 74 with the broad pennant of Commodore John Evans. This ship formed part of Vice-Admiral Hon John Byron s fleet which left for North America on 9 June 1778, and she reached Newfoundland after appalling weather had caused the fleet to disperse. Not long afterwards the Invincible returned to England to be refitted and coppered.
Parrey commissioned the new Pandora 24 in the spring of 1779, serving in the Channel fleet and with a small squadron under the orders of Captain John Jervis which cruised off the Western Islands towards the end of the year. Going out to Halifax with a convoy thereafter, and being in company with the Danae 32, Captain Samuel Graves, she captured the rebel privateers Jack in North American waters on 18 July 1780, and the Terrible on 2 September. A number of further captures were made prior to Parrey leaving the Pandora in the spring of 1781.
He joined the refurbished 35 year-old Yarmouth 74 in late 1781, going out to the Leeward Islands at the commencement of the following year, and fighting at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782. The Yarmouth then sailed to New York with the fleet under the command of Admiral Hugh Pigot and returned to the Leeward Islands at the end of the year, whereupon he left her and did not see any further service.
Parrey died on 11 July 1789.