W/C Eric Barwell, RIP. Defiant pilot

Discussion in 'Memorials & Cemeteries' started by Adrian Roberts, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Eric Barwell, who has died aged 94, was a night-fighter ace who started on Defiants. Given the casualty rate among the Defiant squadrons in daylight, I wonder if he was the last survivor?

    Wing Cdr Eric Barwell - Telegraph
  2. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Incredible career. RIP

    According to the list on http://ww2chat.com/forums/war-air/1078-surviving-bob-pilots-do-you-personally-know-any.html these are the last survivors. I need to doublr check the names though:

    Flight Lieutenant Clifford Stanley Emeny, New Zealander, 264 Squadron, Essex, Defiants.
    Group Captain, John Rushton Gard’ner, New Zealander, 141 Squadron, Scotland, Defiants.
    Squadron Leader Alan Antill Gawith, DFC, New Zealander, Scotland, Defiants.
    Group Captain Arthur Montagu-Smith, DL RAF Ret’d, 264 Squadron, Essex, Defiants.
  3. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    His brother:

    Initials: P R
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Group Captain
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
    Age: 35
    Date of Death: 01/07/1942
    Service No: 22062
    Awards: D F C
    Additional information: Son of Reginald and Alice Mary Ann Barwell; husband of Mary Elizabeth Barwell, of Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: 5. G. 1.

    Spitfire AB806 shot down by Spitfires from Tangmere. There is a picture and a brief bio of both of them in their old school magazine

  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Just found this as regards:

    CHAPTER 16 — Back to Rangoon—the Last Phase | NZETC
  5. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Thanks for this - I was going to ask if anyone knew about the circumstances of Philip Barwell's death. Friendly Fire has always been a hazard of the battlefield (though I think the rather crass terminology is quite recent.

    As to the Defiant: another type, like the Buffalo, that wasn't quite as useless as some accounts suggest; it accounted for a fair number of EA initially. I wonder why they didn't provide forward firing armament as well; even four guns if it couldn't manage the weight of eight? Then it would have followed in the concept of the two-seat fighter such as the WW1 Bristol F2B "Fighter", and more recently the Hawker Demon which managed the weight of the first hydraulic turret as well ads forward-firing guns. Perhaps the Defiant came from the theory that German fighters would not appear over the UK because France would not collapse and provide bases, which theory very nearly led to the cancellation of the Spitfire in favour of the Whirlwind.
  6. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    It certainly wasn't useless, once it had found a niche:

    Boulton Paul Defiant
    I don't think the issue of weight was the deciding factor for not having a gun in the wing but rather the whole issue of tactics. The very rationale for the Defiant, as you say, was as an anti-bomber aircraft, and by the time that it was realised that it would face fighter opposition, everbody turned away from the aircraft anyway.

    So there wasn't any real development work carried out for day use, except a better engine, after its use during the BoB.

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