The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. P H Barran
Philip Henry Barran was born at Chapel Allerton, Leeds on 20th April 1909, the son of Philip Austyn Barran (1876-1953) and Dorothy Currer Barran (nee Briggs 1884-1956).
His father is shown in the 1911 census as Managing Director of a wholesale company and in the 1939 register as a retired engineer. He had been at Malvern College and Christ's College, Cambridge, had served as a Territorial Officer in the Royal Field Artillery and in the Great War, also serving in the Ministry of Munitions.
PH Barran was in Mitre House at Repton School from September 1922 to December 1926 and joined 609 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in early 1937. He was then a trainee mining engineer and manager of a brickworks at a colliery owned by his mother's family.
He was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander early in 1939, called to full-time service on 24th August 1939 and made up to Acting Flight Lieutenant on 14th October 1939.
Barran was detached to RAF Northolt on 27th November for a ten-day Air Fighting course. He went to RAF Farnborough on 9th April 1940 for an oxygen course and on the 17th to RAF Turnhouse for instruction in Controller duties.
Barran was to become one of the earliest casualties in the Battle of Britain. On 11th July his aircraft, Spitfire L1069, was severely damaged in a morning combat with Me109s of III/JG27 over a convoy off Portland. He tried to reach the coast but was forced to bale out five miles off Portland Bill. He was picked up, wounded and badly burned, but he died before reaching land.
Barran, who was 31, is buried in Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds.
Above: his portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (his name misspelt).