Col Gibson has written a superb overview of “Ray Parkin’s Odyssey” for the 85th edition of “All Hands”, the Australian National Maritime Museum Volunteers’ quarterly magazine.
Here’s an edited snippet, followed by a link to a pdf of the full article.
Q & A at the Model Ship Building Bench
What Are You Reading? by Col Gibson
The following is not meant to be a book review. It is simply an explanation as to why I decided to read Ray Parkin’s Odyssey. Essentially, there were two main reasons.
First reason. Several years ago I read Ray Parkin’s book on HMB Endeavour. Ever since I have referred to it as a reference, especially when asked curly questions on that vessel. I found it the most complete and accurate record published on HMB Endeavour. Volunteers would be well acquainted with this book, especially those with guide duties aboard Endeavour replica.
Second reason. Considering so highly that book by Ray Parkin, I wished to learn more about the author, the man himself, and his background, especially when I discovered that book had taken over a decade in researching and writing. Obviously, not one of those journalistic efforts written over a month or so, just prior to, and intended for sale at Christmas!
I wanted to know more. When I discovered the existence of Pattie Wright’s biography: Ray Parkin’s Odyssey, I had to read it. But discovered also, that I had to join the queue at my local library to do so.
Having now completed reading that biography, what can I report of interest to readers?
As I read the “yarn” it amazed me. I suspect many volunteers will be just as amazed at the life of Petty Officer Ray Parkin, Navy trained sailor, prisoner of war under the Japanese, serving on the Thai-Burma Rail Line along with Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, and then in Japan, coal mining until those atomic bombs were dropped. And living to his 95th year! Truly amazing!