He might be 96 but Cecil “Boz” Parsons still enjoys flying.
Born in Colac (Victoria), Boz joined the Air Force in August 1940 and up until very recently was still flying solo (he now needs to have his son in his aircraft when he goes up).
Training on Tiger Moths in Narromine before travelling to Canada where he flew Ansons in the middle of winter, 1941, Boz then found himself in England after the last heavy bombing raid on London.
From Canada, he arrived in England just after the last heavy bombing raid on London.
“I never saw a bomb dropped on London and yet they’d been plastered for the whole of winter”.
Boz was then sent up to Scotland to train on heavy bombers like Whitleys and posted to the Whitleys Squadron in Yorkshire where he did most of his tours on operations over Europe.
“I was fortunate I didn’t do a complete tour. I only did 25 trips because the aircraft was taken off bombing because it was a bit slow and they’d been replaced by four engine aircraft and I then went on instructing on Whitleys and training crews from Bomber Command until 1943.”
He ended up back in Australia but after ten days leave, was sent up to Port Moresby as a replacement Captain for the first Australian Liberators.
Boz went on tour with the Liberators in the Pacific, firstly flying with the Americans and then with Australia’s first Liberator Squadron, No.24.
Looking back on his WWII service now, Boz admits that it was all a bit surreal.
“You didn’t see death. You saw an aircraft go down but you didn’t know what was happening. So it wasn’t like how they must have felt in the trenches in the First World War where you saw blokes dying, dead beside you so it was an unreal situation”.
In 2012, he travelled to London for the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial for the 75th anniversary.
He might have left the Air Force in 1946 but he’s kept on flying and at one stage, was believed to be Australia’s oldest pilot.
You can hear from Boz in his own words in CanvasWings Ep.8 from 2014.