The Airmen's Stories - P/O G L Barker
George Leonard Barker from Diss, Norfolk, was employed by a tailor after leaving school before joining the RAF in September 1934 as an Aircrafthand. He served in Palestine as an LAC in the thirties. He later remustered as an Airman u/t Observer. In early 1940 he was serving with 59 Squadron, Coastal Command as a Sergeant.
On 6th July Barker volunteered to fly with a new pilot on his first operational sortie. They were attacked by two Me109s for a period of 15 minutes. With great coolness, although the rear gun had been put out of action, Barker assisted the gunner in telling the pilot what tactics to employ. For this action he was awarded the DFM (gazetted 13th September 1940).
Commissioned on 7th September 1940, Barker was detached from 59 Squadron to 600
Squadron at Redhill on the 19th, for wireless duties. It seems that he made no flights with
600 before rejoining 59 on the 24th.
Barker was again attached to 600 Squadron on 28th September, this time for ‘specialist
wireless and navigation duties’. He flew two operational sorties, on 2nd October, in a
Blenheim, and 6th October, in a Beaufighter.
There is no record of Barker returning to 59 Squadron and at some point he did go on
to the strength of 600.
He was posted away from 600 squadron on 20th March 1941 to join 85 Squadron
at Debden, to be AI operator to the CO, S/Ldr. PW Townsend.
From 8th November 1941 Barker was attached to 456 (RAAF) Squadron at Valley, to instruct
the squadron’s radar operators.
At some time after this he went for pilot training and qualified. In July 1944 he was attached to 51 OTU. During the evening of the 18th, Barker's Beaufighter, R2080, crashed into anti-V1 balloon cables over Kent. He was killed when the aircraft crashed at Weike Farm, Kingsdown. The navigator survived.
Barker was 30. He is buried in Diss Cemetery.
A newspaper report of his death noted '..leaves a widow Vera Elizabeth Barker and a 19-month son'.