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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. F J Barker

 

Frederick James Barker was born in Bow, London on 16th March 1918 and attended Old Palace School and Coopers' Company School. He joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Wop/AG.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he joined 264 Squadron when it reformed on 30th October 1939. He teamed up with Sgt. ER Thorn. Over Dunkirk on 28th May 1940 they destroyed three Me109's, the following day two Ju87's and a Me110 and on 31st May a He111 and another shared. Barker was awarded the DFM (gazetted 14th June 1940).

 

Above: Barker entering his turret with Thorn at left.


When 264 moved south to Hornchurch on 21st August 1940, Thorn and Barker were again in action. On the 26th they destroyed two Do17's and as they went for a third they were attacked by a Me109. With their aircraft damaged, Thorn spun down and prepared to make a crash-landing. At 500 feet the Me109 attacked again, this time setting the Defiant on fire. Before crashing, Barker shot the enemy fighter down and it crashed a short distance away.

Thorn and Barker escaped with slight injuries. For this action they were each awarded a Bar to the DFM (gazetted 11th February 1941).


They destroyed a He111 at night on 9th April 1941 . The partnership broke up when Thorn was posted to 32 Squadron in October 1941.

Barker remained with 264 until 1943. He was then posted to the Middle East as an air gunnery instructor.

He was commissioned in April 1944 and released from the RAF in 1946, as a Flying Officer.

 


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