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Brian Berey Parry graduated in geology at Cambridge. He then joined the Shell Group and was posted to Sarawak Oilfields Ltd., whose headquarters were in Miri. His work in prospecting for oil led to the discovery of the rich Brunei field. After five years, he was sent to Mexico, and after a further eight years, to Bogota, Colombia, c1937-1938, where he was Assistant Manager. In 1939 he worked for six months at the company's office in London and was married. He returned to Bogota with his wife, Mary, just before the start of World War Two. Shortly afterwards, he returned to Miri as Assistant Manager. After July 1941 British women and children were evacuated from Sarawak due to the threat from Japan. Mary left for Singapore, where she worked at the Naval Base (GHQ Far East); she was then transferred with her office to Java, and returned to Britain via Ceylon. When the Japanese invaded Borneo, Parry refused to leave the island with the other European staff, and only later vacated Miri. Supposedly making for Long Nawan (?Longiram) in Dutch territory (Kalimantan), Parry and a party of c20-30 others were killed, though the exact circumstances of his death remain unclear.
Letters from Parry, mostly from Miri, Sarawak, to his parents and to his wife Mary in Singapore, 1939-1941; three albums of photographs, mostly of Sarawak, but including some of Brunei, Sumatra and Hong Kong, and some depicting his period at school and college, 1918-c1941.
The papers were donated to the library by Mary Parry on 30th June 1999.Access Conditions
Bodleian reader's ticket required.Reproduction Restrictions
No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.
The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.
Parry | Brian | d 1941 | oilworker
Sarawak Oilfields Ltd.
Sarawak | Description and travel
Brunei | Description and travel | Views
Indonesia | Description and travel | Views
Hong Kong (China) | Description and travel | Views
Dayak (Indonesian people) | Pictorial works
Oilfields | Malaysia | Sarawak
World War, 1939-1945 | Sarawak