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Lieutenant-Colonel William George Barker

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PERSONAL INFORMATION

Date of birth: 1894-11-03
Place of birth: Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada
Next of kin: G.W.J. Barker, Father, Dauphin, Manitoba
Marital status: single
Language: English
Occupation (attested): Student
Occupation (normalized): Other Professional, Technical and Related Workers Not Elsewhere Classified
Religion: Wesleyan
Date of death: 1930-03-12

MILITARY INFORMATION

Regimental number: 106074
Rank detail
  1. Lieutenant-Colonel, 201st Squadron, Royal Air Force (Air Force).
  2. Second Lieutenant, 4th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (Air Force).
  3. Private, 1st Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Infantry (Army).
  4. Observer, 9th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (Air Force).
  5. Second Lieutenant, 15th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (Air Force).
  6. Trooper, 1st Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Infantry (Army).
Degree of service: Europe
Survived war: yes
Awards

Military Cross (Somme)
Description: For conspicuous gallantry in action. He flew at a height of 500 feet over the enemy's lines, and brought back most valuable information. On another occasion, after driving off two hostile machines, he carried out an excellent photographic reconnaissance
Date of citation: 1917-01-09
Source: London Gazette issue 29898 page 3 of 18
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Military Cross First Bar
Description: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has done continuous good work in co-operation with the artillery, and has carried out successful reconnaissances under most difficult and dangerous conditions
Date of citation: 1917-07-17
Source: London Gazette
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Distinguished Service Order
Description: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When on scouting and patrol work he has on five different occasions brought down and destroyed five enemy aeroplanes and two balloons, though on two of these occasions he was attacked by superior numbers. On each occasion the hostile machines were observed to crash to earth, the wreckage bursting into flames. His splendid example of fearlessness and magnificent leadership have been of inestimable value to his squadron
Date of citation: 1918-07-16
Source: London Gazette issue 30801 page 3 of 48
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Military Cross Second Bar
Description: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When leading patrols he on one occasion attacked eight hostile machines, himself shooting down two, and on another occasion seven, one of which he shot down. In two months he himself destroyed four enemy machines and drove down one, and burned two balloons.
Date of citation: 1918-09-13
Source: London Gazette issue 30901 page 25 of 206
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Croix de Guerre (France)
Date of citation: 1918-09-20
Source: London Gazette issue 30913 page 13 of 14
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Distinguished Service Order First Bar
Description: A highly distinguished patrol leader whose courage, resource and determination has set a fine example to those around him. Up to the 20th July, 1918, he had destroyed thirty-three enemy aircraft—twenty-one of•these since the date of the last award (second Bar to the Military Cross) was conferred on him. Major Barker has frequently led formations against greatly superior numbers of the enemy with conspicuous success
Date of citation: 1918-11-01
Source: London Gazette issue 30989 page 3
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Victoria Cross (France)
Description: On the morning of the 27th October, 1918, this officer observed an enemy two-seater over the Fôret de Mormal. He attacked this machine, and after a short burst it broke up in the air. At the same time a Fokker biplane attacked him, and he was wounded in the right thigh, but managed, despite this, to shoot down the enemy aeroplane in flames. He then found, himself in the middle of a large formation of Fokkers, who attacked him from all directions; and was again severely wounded in the left thigh; but succeeded in driving down two of the enemy in a spin. He lost consciousness after this, and his machine fell out of control. On recovery he found himself being again attacked heavily by a large formation, and singling out one machine, he deliberately charged and drove it down in flames. During this fight his left elbow was shattered and he again fainted, and on regaining consciousness he found himself still being attacked, but, notwithstanding that he was now severely wounded in both legs and his left arm shattered, he dived on the nearest machine and shot it down in flames. Being greatly exhausted, he dived out of the fight to regain our lines, but was met by another formation, which attacked and endeavoured to cut him off, but after a hard fight he succeeded in breaking up this formation and reached our lines, where he crashed on landing. This combat, in which Major Barker destroyed four enemy machines (three of them in flames), brought his total successes up to fifty enemy machines destroyed, and is a notable example of the exceptional bravery and disregard of danger which this very gallant officer has always displayed throughout his distinguished career. Major Barker was awarded the Military Cross on 10th January, 1917; first Bar on 18th July, 1917; the Distinguished Service Order on 18th February, 1918; second Bar to Military Cross on 16th September, 1918; and Bar to Distinguished Service Order on 2nd November, 1918
Date of citation: 1918-11-29
Date of award: 1918-10-27
Source: London Gazette issue 31042 pages 1 and 2
Notes: Canadian War Museum

Mentioned in Despatches 'A' List (Somme)
Date of award: 1916-08-01

Mentioned in Despatches 'A' List - 2nd Mention

Mentioned in Despatches 'A' List - 3rd Mention

Silver Medal for Military Valeur (Italy)
Comment: Barker was awarded this decoration twice during his service with the Royal Flying Corps on the Italian front.
Notes: Canadian War Museum

RESEARCH INFORMATION

LAC ID: 24934
Attestation record(s): image 1, image 2
Service file: B0435-S047
Uploader's Notes: Barker joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914. He spent a year in the trenches before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in April 1916. After starting out as a mechanic, he qualified as an observer in August 1916 and shot down his first enemy aircraft from the rear seat of a B.E.2d. Posted to England in November 1916, he soloed after 55 minutes of dual instruction and received a pilot's certificate in January 1917. A month later, he was back in France flying an R.E.8 until wounded by anti-aircraft fire on 7 August 1917. When he recovered, he served as a flight instructor before returning to combat duty in France. In November 1917, his squadron was reassigned to Italy where Barker's Sopwith Camel became the single most successful fighter aircraft of the war. Logging more than 379 hours of flight time, Barker shot down 46 enemy aircraft before Camel #B6313 was retired from service and dismantled on 2 October 1918. That month, he assumed command of the air combat school at Hounslow. Deciding he needed to brush up on air combat techniques for his new assignment, Barker joined 201 Squadron for ten days in France. During that time, he saw no action and was about to return to England when he decided to make one more excursion over the front. On 27 October 1918, alone and flying a Sopwith Snipe, he encountered sixty Fokker D.VIIs flying in stepped formation. In an epic battle with Jagdgeschwader 3, Barker shot down four enemy aircraft despite appalling wounds to both legs and his elbow. Fainting from pain and loss of blood, he managed to crash land his Snipe within the safety of the British lines. For his actions that day, Barker received the Victoria Cross (VC).Wikipedia entryAerodrome entry
Uploader's Research notes: Barker joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914. He spent a year in the trenches before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in April 1916. After starting out as a mechanic, he qualified as an observer in August 1916 and shot down his first enemy aircraft from the rear seat of a B.E.2d. Posted to England in November 1916, he soloed after 55 minutes of dual instruction and received a pilot's certificate in January 1917. A month later, he was back in France flying an R.E.8 until wounded by anti-aircraft fire on 7 August 1917. When he recovered, he served as a flight instructor before returning to combat duty in France. In November 1917, his squadron was reassigned to Italy where Barker's Sopwith Camel became the single most successful fighter aircraft of the war. Logging more than 379 hours of flight time, Barker shot down 46 enemy aircraft before Camel #B6313 was retired from service and dismantled on 2 October 1918. That month, he assumed command of the air combat school at Hounslow. Deciding he needed to brush up on air combat techniques for his new assignment, Barker joined 201 Squadron for ten days in France. During that time, he saw no action and was about to return to England when he decided to make one more excursion over the front. On 27 October 1918, alone and flying a Sopwith Snipe, he encountered sixty Fokker D.VIIs flying in stepped formation. In an epic battle with Jagdgeschwader 3, Barker shot down four enemy aircraft despite appalling wounds to both legs and his elbow. Fainting from pain and loss of blood, he managed to crash land his Snipe within the safety of the British lines. For his actions that day, Barker received the Victoria Cross (VC).Wikipedia entryAerodrome entry

ARCHIVAL INFORMATION

Date added: 2004-09-04
Last modified: 2011-09-21