William George "Will" Barker VC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Canadian Major William G. Barker was born on November 3, 1894 in Dauphin, Manitoba. As a boy he wasn't interested in school work and spent most of his free time riding his horse and hunting birds with a shotgun. He had a great interest in shooting as a teenager and spent much of his allowance and earned money on ammunition. He became quite proficient with the service rifle while shooting at a variety of ranges around Dauphin and Winnipeg. His family moved to Winnipeg shortly before the war started. It seemed natural that he join the cavalry in 1914, although his sense of balance on a horse stood him in good stead in the air, as the soon-to-emerge Royal Flying Corps considered good horsemanship a requisite ability for a pilot.

    He distinguished himself as an observer and pilot on the Western Front, twice winning the MC. In Italy he added many more victories to his record and had the distinction of commanding a squadron of two-seater fighters .... on November 20 1918 he was awarded the Victoria Cross


  2. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Most of Barker's victories were scored while flying Sopwith Camels, which he continued to fly even when commanding a Bristol F2B Fighter (two-seater) squadron. However on at least one occassion he used a Bristol to pick up an agent from behind enemy lines.

    His Victoria Cross was awarded for an action after his return to France, on 27th October 1918, while delivering a new Sopwith Snipe, E8102, to the front. Having shot down a two-seater at 18,000 feet, he was attacked by eight enemy fighters and managed to shoot down at least two of them before crash-landing, badly wounded.

    He later helped to teach the Prince of Wales to fly. Although he later became a Wing Commander in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he never really settled down, and drank heavily in his later years. He was killed in an air crash in 1930, testing a Fairchild light aircraft. His funeral was the largest State Funeral ever held in Toronto.
  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    There is an excellent biography of the man (Canada's most decorated serviceman of The Great War) in Barker VC by Wayne Ralph; ISBN1 898697 59 0. It's well worth reading.


Share This Page