The Airmen's Stories - P/O V Parker
Vincent Parker was born in Durham on 11th February 1919 but orphaned as a baby. He was adopted by an aunt and uncle in 1920 and the family emigrated to Queensland, Australia in 1928.
Parker was educated at Bohleville State School. After leaving, he went to Townsville on the Queensland coast where he began training as a magician with Leslie George Cole, later voted the best in the world.
He visited England with Cole and made a second trip alone in late 1938 when he applied for a short service commission in the RAF.
He began his initial training in May 1939 and once qualified joined 234 Squadron at Leconfield from 11 FTS on 10th April 1940.
Above: Parker (left) with Douglas Bader at Colditz
Over Portland on 15th August Parker was shot down in Spitfire R6985 by Me110's and baled out near the Isle of Wight, injured. After some hours in the sea Parker was picked up by a German launch and taken to Cherbourg. Parker was flown to Dulag Luft at Oberusel, near Frankfurt, a temporary holding centre for captured Allied airmen. He was still at the camp in May 1941, probably one of the permanent staff who briefed new prisoners on the procedures of captivity.
On 1st June 1941 eighteen PoWs, including fourteen of the permanent staff, tunnelled their way out. All were recaptured after an extensive search by 3000 police and security personnel. It is very likely that Parker was one of the escapees.
In April 1942, following attempts to escape, he was sent to Oflag IVc at Colditz, where he had a reputation as an expert with locks, ever ready to help would-be escapers.
Released by the Americans in mid-April 1945, Parker returned to England. After a period of leave he was posted to Milfield to qualify on Tempests.
He was killed in a flying accident on 29th January 1946. Tempest V EJ859 was seen to dive into the ground after a slow roll near Felkington, Duddo, Northumberland.
Parker is buried in Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.