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Air Commodore F O Barrett (40355)


Frederick Oliver (Barry)         b: 2 Dec 1918                     r: 8 Feb 1973                     d: 23 Oct 2007

CBE – 8 Jun 1968, DFC – 1 Jun 1945.

Act Plt Off (P): 9 Jan 1938, Plt Off: 25 Oct 1938, Fg Off: 25 May 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 25 May 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1942, Flt Lt: 25 Feb 1947 [1 Dec 1942], Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1953, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1970.

 9 Jan 1938:           U/T Pilot, No 11 FTS.

 5 Nov 1938:         Pilot, No 226 Sqn. (Battle - Harwell)

xx xxx 1940:          Acting Flight Commander, No 226 Sqn

xx xxx 1940:          In hospital

xx xxx 1941:          Instructor, No ? Air School.

xx xxx 1944:          Mosquito Conversion Course.

xx xxx 1944:          Pilot, No 613 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx:           Flight Commander, No 305 Sqn.

25 Oct 1943:         Transferred to RAFO and called up for service.

xx xxx 1947:           CFI, RCAF Central Flying School

28 Oct 1947:        Announcement of his appointment to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant [effective 1 Jul 1946]

xx xxx 1948:           ?

xx xxx xxxx:            Attended RAF Staff College?

xx xxx 1953:           Staff Officer - Administrative Plans, HQ Technical Training Command

xx xxx 1956:           Staff Officer, NATO HQ, Norway

xx Nov 1957:         CFI, No 5 FTS.

29 Dec 1959:         Officer Commanding, Flying Wing, RAF Benson.

18 Oct 1960:          Exercise Planning Officer, HQ Far East Air Force.

 3 Feb 1963:           Chief Instructor, Offensive Support Section, Joint Warfare Establishment.

16 May 1966:         Officer Commanding, RAF Colerne.

11 Dec 1967:          Group Captain - Plans Operational Requirements, HQ No 38 Group.

 9 May 1969:          SASO, HQ No 38 Group.

17 Jan 1972:           Director of Flight Safety.  

Once in action in France, in 1940, his squadron was quickly decimated and he found himself in command of a flight but on 13 May, his flight was attacked by a number of Bf 109s and he was hit in the arm.  He managed to force land near a French column and was taken to a French field hospital.  At one point he and other wounded personnel were captured by the Germans, but managed to escape and reach a port near the mouth of the Loire from where he was evacuated to Britain.

After six months in hospital he was posted to South Africa as an instructor, remaining there for three years. Returning to the UK he was posted to No 613 Squadron flying Mosquitoes and later became a flight commander with No 305 (Polish) Squadron, also flying Mosquitoes.  After the war he was awarded a permanent commission and went to Canada as the CFI of the Central Flying School and at some point after this he probably undertook the Staff College course.

Between 1953 and 1957 he held staff officer appointments in the planning field, before returning to training as CFI at No 5 FTS.  He then commanded the Flying Wing at RAF Benson and then reverted to planning duties, this time in the Far East.  Three years as Chief Instructor at the Joint Warfare Establishment was following by command of RAF Colerne before a move to HQ No 38 Group, first as Group Captain - Plans (OR) and two years later as SASO.  His final appointment before retiring at his own request was as Director of Flight Safety.  After retiring from the RAF he took up a post as Managing Director of Air Gregory, an aircraft charter company, General Manager of GKN’s aviation department and later its London office and finally as an aircraft broker in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Squadron Leader Frederick Oliver BARRETT (40355), R.A.F., 305 Sqn.

One night in April, 1945, this officer piloted an aircraft detailed to attack enemy movements by road and rail in the Bremen-Hamburg area. When south-east of Bremen^ Squadron Leader Barrett sighted some 15 trucks in a railway siding. He immediately went into the attack, raking the target with cannon and machine gun fire over its entire length. As he was pressing home another attack some of the trucks exploded with great violence. Squadron Leader Barrett's aircraft was thrown out of control by the force of the explosion.  It was also struck by debris which was hurled high in the air. He quickly regained a measure of control but the aircraft had been severely damaged. It seemed as though it would have to be abandoned but Squadron Leader Barrett was determined, if possible, to reach allied territory.  At times the aircraft became almost uncontrollable but, finally, Squadron Leader Barrett reached an airfield where he executed a successful crash landing. This officer displayed exceptional skill, great courage and coolness throughout."

(London Gazette - 1 Jun 1945)

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