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'Bush' Parker : an Australian Battle of Britain pilot in Colditz

by Colin Burgess

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Without doubt, the most enigmatic and tenacious of the Australian officers to set foot in the legendary Colditz castle during the Second World War was Vincent Parker from far north Queensland. Raised in the small hamlet of Purono, he grew up in a rural environment and quickly learned how to look after himself. He went to war and flew Spitfires with the Royal Air Force and became widely known as `Bush¿. He was a spirited young man of considerable mechanical talent, ingenuity and courage but, during the Battle of Britain, he was shot down and captured. Many of his fellow prisoners-of-war from those endless years at Colditz recalled that it was Bush Parker who played a leading role in almost all British escape attempts from the so-called `escape-proof¿ prison. His expertise in opening the most difficult of locks, proved invaluable in giving access to prohibited areas. His light-hearted side as a skilled cardsharp and sleight-of-hand magician are still talked about with considerable awe and respect by his few remaining wartime colleagues, whose numbers are sadly and rapidly dwindling. Sadly he was killed just after the war in a flying accident and Australia was denied his genius.… (more)
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Without doubt, the most enigmatic and tenacious of the Australian officers to set foot in the legendary Colditz castle during the Second World War was Vincent Parker from far north Queensland. Raised in the small hamlet of Purono, he grew up in a rural environment and quickly learned how to look after himself. He went to war and flew Spitfires with the Royal Air Force and became widely known as `Bush¿. He was a spirited young man of considerable mechanical talent, ingenuity and courage but, during the Battle of Britain, he was shot down and captured. Many of his fellow prisoners-of-war from those endless years at Colditz recalled that it was Bush Parker who played a leading role in almost all British escape attempts from the so-called `escape-proof¿ prison. His expertise in opening the most difficult of locks, proved invaluable in giving access to prohibited areas. His light-hearted side as a skilled cardsharp and sleight-of-hand magician are still talked about with considerable awe and respect by his few remaining wartime colleagues, whose numbers are sadly and rapidly dwindling. Sadly he was killed just after the war in a flying accident and Australia was denied his genius.

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