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Corporal Vic Jarvisís Death
and LAC John Parrís 'Resurrection'

A destroyed vehicle abandoned in the North African desert.  (By NZ War Artist Jack CRIPPEN.)

By George Dumont

Due to a violent dust-storm on 14 January 1941, Vic and Johnís truck passed right through our own lines near the Tobruk defences and was hit by an anti-tank shell fired by the Italians who then opened up with machine-gun fire.  Vic Jarvis was killed instantly, but John Parr escaped the  burning truck without being injured.  John was captured and actually became the first Australian prisoner to enter Tobruk.  Within the next week, he was to witness the capture of Tobruk by the Allies.

When the A.I.F. advanced that far and examined the scene, they decided that there were enough remains for two bodies, so they were buried by a Padre.  Their deaths were announced in D.R.O.s and presumably their families were advised.  We were sad that they had both perished.

Meanwhile, Tobruk was taken by the A.I.F., so John was released!  He made his way back to the Squadron, arriving just as my mates and I were queuing up in a house at the side of the road, where we were enjoying the pleasure of buying a single bottle of beer per man.

Suddenly, John appeared from the dead.  He just arrived out of nowhere Ö Walked in and asked if anybody had the 15 ackas to pay for his beer. 
- You cannot imagine how surprised and delighted we all were! 

(I had the pleasure of buying that beer for him.  Many years later, when we met again, he was delighted to return the shout.)

Shortly after his 'resurrection', John was with a group in a cafe in Alexandria, when he expressed the wish that heíd like to meet the Padre who had buried him.

- Only to find out that the Padre was one of the group he was talking to!


"Tobruk" painting by Ivor Hele.  - Shows the town and harbour of Tobruk just after its capture by Allied forces.
[AWM Copyright ART22233]

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