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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. B Heath


Barrie Heath was born on 11th September 1916, the son of the senior director of Rootes Motors. He was educated at Wrekin College and Pembroke College Cambridge, where he read Mechanical Sciences.

He learned to fly with the University Air Squadron and was commissioned in the RAFO in May 1937. Heath relinquished this on his being commissioned in the RAFVR in May 1938.



Heath transferred to 611 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in June 1939 and was called to full-time service on 29th August.

Over Dunkirk on 2nd June 1940 Heath claimed a Ju87 destroyed. On 26th September Heath fell illl but had recovered by 5th October.

On 28th September 611's 'B' Flight commander, F/Lt. KM Stoddart, had been graded non-effective sick and on 7th October Heath went to Ternhill, where 'B' Flight was based, and temporarily took command.


On 11th October Heath probably destroyed a Do17. He was appointed 'B' Flight Commander in November and on 21st and 29th December he damaged Do17's.

On 5th February 1941 he destroyed a Me109.

In March 1941 Heath was posted from 611 to take command of 64 Squadron at Hornchurch, a post he filled until September 1941. On 9th April he damaged a Me109.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 29th April 1941).

In October 1942 Heath was serving at HQ Fighter Command as Wing Commander Tactics and in December he went to the Middle East.

In 1944 Heath was Wing Leader 244 Wing and he later commanded 324 Wing in Italy. Late in 1944 he joined the staff at Advanced HQ Desert Air Force.

Heath was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander.

He became a prominent industrialist and was knighted in 1978.

He died on 22nd February 1988.


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