The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E C Barnard
Eric Charles Barnard was born on 25th April 1917 and joined 601 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force on 6th March 1936 for ground crew duties but later trained as a Air Gunner. He was called up on 24th August 1939.
In February 1940 601 exchanged its Blenheims for Hurricanes and he was posted to 600 Squadron at Manston on 11th May 1940 as an AC2 Air Gunner but was later promoted to Sergeant.
Barnard was flying as a member of the crew of Blenheim L1111 on 8th September when they became lost following an R/T failure during a night patrol. When their fuel ran out Barnard, the pilot P/O HBL Hough and the radar operator Sgt. A Smith, baled out safely. The aircraft crashed near Odiham.
On 1st July 1941 Barnard went to 125 Squadron at Colerne as an Air Gunner. He was with the squadron until 28th January 1942 when he was posted to Training Command for training as a Navigator.
Barnard qualified at 2 Air Observers School, Edmonton, Canada on 16th April 1943. He returned to the UK and qualified as an Observer Radio at 62 OTU Ouston on 14th September and finished as Navigator Radar at 63 OTU after which he was posted to 25 Squadron at Acklington on 18th January 1944.
Commissioned from Warrant Officer in April 1944, Barnard was posted to 85 Squadron at Swannington on 27th April 1945 and remained with the squadron until his release from the RAF on 24th July 1946.
All images courtesy of his nephew Michael Barritt.
Barnard died on 30th November 2001 in Chichester.