Tue. Jun 18th, 2019

AH-517 The Caption held by the Imperial War Museum reads: "Major W.G. Barker, VC, DSO, MC, commander of NO. 28 Squadron, beside his Sopwith Cmael." In this caption he has obviously been given the rank and decorations he ultimatley gained. Barker did not command No.28 Squadron, however, and he was not promoted to major -- as he appears in this photot-- until he took over command of No. 139 Squadron. It seems likely that this picture was taken when he was in command of No. 139 Squadron on the Italian fronts, and that the Camel is the one he flew while with Nos. 28 and 66 Squadron.--B6313.

“They damn nearly did it for me”: The story of William Barker, VC

One hundred years ago, on October 27, 1918, Wing Commander William Barker fought the aerial engagement that resulted in his being awarded the Victoria Cross. He was badly wounded and shot down during the battle – which took place only 15 days before the end of the First World War.

If you had asked Billy Bishop, VC, who was his hero, he would have said William Barker. They never served together in the Great War. They founded an aviation company in Canada and the USA that lasted a brief three years, but were not close friends. They were from different social classes and complete opposites in personality. Nevertheless, Barker fell in love with and married Bishop’s rich cousin, Jean Kilbourn Smith, an only child akin to the fictional Daisy Buchanan who Jay Gatsby loved, but never possessed, in the 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby.

Complete story

L’histoire de William Barker, VC : « Ils ont bien failli m’avoir »

Par Wayne Ralph

Il y a cent ans, le 27 octobre 1918, le lieutenant-colonel d’aviation William Barker participait au combat aérien qui allait lui valoir la Croix de Victoria. Toutefois, pendant l’affrontement, qui a eu lieu seulement 15 jours avant la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale, son avion a été abattu et il a subi des blessures graves

Si vous aviez demandé à Billy Bishop, VC, qui était son héros, il aurait répondu William Barker. Les deux militaires n’ont jamais servi ensemble pendant la Grande Guerre et, bien qu’ils aient fondé une entreprise d’aviation au Canada et aux États‑Unis qui a existé pendant trois ans, ils n’étaient pas des amis proches. Les deux hommes provenaient de classes sociales différentes et avaient des personnalités aux antipodes. Néanmoins, Barker est tombé amoureux de la riche cousine de Bishop, Jean Kilbourn Smith, qu’il a mariée. Jean était une fille unique semblable au personnage de Daisy Buchanan, la femme que Jay Gatsby a aimée sans jamais pouvoir partager sa vie avec elle dans le roman Gatsby le Magnifique, publié en 1925.

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