Damien Peter PARER MiD


PARER, Damien Peter

Service Numbers: VX334, VX334 (B318)
Enlisted: 10 January 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Malvern, Victoria, Australia, 1 August 1912
Home Town: South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: St Kevins Christian Brothers' College, Toorak, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Photographer
Died: Machine gun wounds, Peleliu Island, Palau, 17 September 1944, aged 32 years
Cemetery: Ambon War Cemetery, Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia
28. A. 11.
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World War 2 Service

10 Jan 1940: Enlisted SN VX334, Honorary Captain - Official Photographer
10 Jan 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, SN VX334
7 Aug 1943: Discharged Resigned as Official Photographer on 25 May 1943 giving three months notice. Resignation due to dissatifaction with salary and living allowance.
17 Sep 1944: Involvement
8 Mar 1945: Honoured Mention in Dispatches
Date unknown: Involvement SN VX334 (B318)

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Damien Peter Parer was born at Malvern, Victoria in 1912, the youngest of eight children of John Arthur Parer, an hotelkeeper from Spain, and his Victorian-born wife Teresa, née Carolin. He was schooled at Portland and Bathurst in New South Wales before the family moved to Victoria in 1929 and he attended St Kevins Christian Brothers' College at Toorak.

He was interested in photography from a young age and he met Charles Chauvel, the film producer in 1934, when Chauvel was making pictures at studios at St Kilda. This gave his fledgling career impetious, and through Chauvel he was appointed assistant cameraman by National Studios in the making of 'Rangler River' and the 'Flying Doctors'. He later worked in Sydney with some of Australia's most prominant photographers, including Max Dupain.

When war broke out in 1939 Damien Parer joined the Department of Information in Melbourne, and because of an accident to another cameraman, he was posted as official photographer with the 6th Division in January, 1940.

He was in Libya, Syria, Greece, Crete, and Egypt with the Australians. He filmed the naval bombardment of Bardia. Later he went into Tobruk during the siege, and in one week filmed three Stuka attacks. Returning to Australia, he then went to New Guinea, filming his famous "Kokoda Trail" film which won him the Acadamy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1943.

In filming jungle warfare and naval actions in the Pacific he took hair-raising risks, and is said to have completed the equivalent of three operational "tours" in RAAF and US planes.

 In June, 1943, he resigned from the Department of Information following a disagreement on living allowance and joined the American newsreel organisation of Paramount Films, for whom he was accredited to the US Navy in the Pacific.

Parer married Elizabeth Marie Cotter at North Sydney in March 1944.

Damien Parer the ace Australian news reel cameraman was killed by Japanese machinegun fire while filming an American combat advance at Peleliu, in the Palau group of islands north of New Guinea  on 17 September 1944. He was 33.

His wife survived him, with their son born the following year. Parer was mentioned in despatches for his work at Peleliu.

Courtesy: The Argus (Melbourne) 25 September 1944