Raymond John Paul Parer

   b. 18 February 1894, in Melbourne, the second of seven sons.

Joined the RFC during WWI, but a medical officer had insisted that Ray's heart 'was not strong' and he wasn't allowed to fly above 10,000 ft.

The only person to compete in the Air Races from England to Australia in both 1919 and 1934.

For the 1919 Race, he and John Cowie Macintosh persuaded Scottish millionaire distiller Peter Dawson to give them the money for an aeroplane, but only dared ask enough for an F.E.2b (although they would have preferred a DH.9). When Mr Dawson heard this, he scolded them and gave them another cheque. Battling their way through delays, innumerable forced landings and hair-raising exploits, they finally arrived nearly 8 months later, skint and with empty fuel tanks, only the second crew ever to make the journey.

In 1927, when the New Guinea Gold Rush began, he shipped a DH.4 there and set up the Bulolo Goldfields Aeroplane Service.

Tried to enlist in the RAAF in 1941, but was deemed too old and joined the Merchant Navy instead.

He was 'by nature shy and retiring' but clearly, never gave up - hence his nickname 'Battling'.

Spent the last 20 years of his life farming near Brisbane, and died there 5th July 1967, aged 73.

 

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