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The Airmen's Stories - P/O A R H Barton


Anthony Richard Henry Barton, of Oakleigh Park, was born on 17th December 1913 in London, the son of Henry Alexandra and Roslind Barton.

He entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth as a cadet. He graduated and went into the RN Executive Branch as a midshipman and was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in September 1935.

He had previously been awarded Aero Certificate 11857 at Hampshire Aeroplane Club on 29th April 1934.



He was granted a temporary commission in the RAF for service with the FAA on 17th May 1936 with the rank of Flying Officer, and he was posted to 1 FTS Leuchars. On 24th August 1937 Barton went to RAF Gosport as a supernumerary and on 1st October he joined 823 (Torpedo Spotter-Reconnaissance) Squadron, with the rank of Lieutenant RN.

He served in the Mediterranean based in Malta and aboard HM ships Furious, Glorious and Warspite. His last voyage was to Halifax, Nova Scotia before returning to shore-based 753 Squadron FAA at Donibristle flying the Blackburn Shark and Skua.

Barton resigned his RN commission on 5th July 1940 and he was commissioned in the RAFVR as a Pilot Officer and arrived at 6 OTU on 6th July.

After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 5th August.

On the 11th he claimed a Me109 and the next day he was shot down in Hurricane N2596 in a combat over Dover, crashing near Hawkinge. Two days later he made a forced-landing at Hawkinge after being attacked by Me109s.



On 16th August he destroyed two Me109s and on the 18th a Ju88. On the 24th Barton damaged a Me109 and on the 25th damaged a Hs126.

He was posted to 253 Squadron at Kenley on 10th September. Next day he shared in the destruction of three Do17s and on the 15th he claimed a Do17 shot down over the Thames Estuary. His aircraft, Hurricane V6698, sustained damage in the engagement, which necessitated a forced -landing at Hawkinge. 

Five days later Barton was shot down and his Hurricane, R2686, crashed and burned out. He was severely wounded and admitted to Ashford Hospital. He returned to operational flying in February 1941.



Barton was later posted to 124 Squadron at Castletown as a Flight Commander. He married Peggy Suvla Shilling on 19th February 1942 before being posted to 126 Squadron in Malta in March 1942, flying the squadron's first Spitfire off the carrier HMS Eagle on the 29th.

On 2nd April Barton damaged a Ju88, on the 9th damaged another, on the 22nd he damaged two Ju87's, on the 24th claimed a Ju87 destroyed, shared in the probable destruction of a Ju88 and damaged another and on the 30th damaged another Ju88.

In May 1942 Barton took command of 126 Squadron. He damaged a Mc202 on the 9th and got probable Me109's on the 10th, 11th and 14th. He had been awarded the DFC (gazetted 10th April 1942) and then a Bar (gazetted 7th July 1942). Barton was posted back to the UK in August 1942.

He was killed in a collision on the runway on 4th April 1943 whilst serving as a Squadron Leader instructor at 53 OTU Llanbedr. His Spitfire, P7378, was making a forced landing after engine failure when Spitfire P8641 was signalled to takeoff, both aircraft burst into flames.

Sgt. CSR Hamilton in Spitfire IIb P8641 was also killed.


Above: a photograph taken hours before the crash.


Barton was 29 years old and is buried in St Andrew's churchyard, Totteridge, Hertfordshire.






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