Ray Parkin (1910-2005) was born in Melbourne. He joined the royal Australian Navy in 1928 and spent eighteen years in the service. In 1942 he was on board HMAS Perth when the cruiser was sunk by the Japanese in the Sunda Strait, killing two-thirds of those on board. After the sinking of Perth Parkin spent three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war in Java, on the Burma-Siam Railway and in coal mines in Japan. His experiences during this period led to three books-Out of the Smoke, Into the Smother and The Sword and the Blossom-published to critical acclaim by The Hogarth Press in London in the 1960s and republished by MUP as Ray Parkin's Wartime Trilogy. At the end of the war, Parkin completed a fine art course. He worked on the Melbourne waterfront until his retirement in 1975, when he went to London to continue his research into Endeavour.