Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore J O Barnard

John Owen                   b: 21 May 1917                    r: 14 Dec 1968                     d: 12 May 2003

CBE - 2 Jun 1962 (OBE – 2 Jan 1956).

Plt Off: 30 Jul 1938, Fg Off: 30 Jan 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 30 Jan 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Mar 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 28 Aug 1945?, Sqn Ldr (WS) 28 Feb 1946, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1946 [1 Mar 1942],  Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1953, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1959, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1967.

xx xxx 1932:           Aircraft Apprentice, No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton.

xx xxx 1936:           Flight Cadet, 'A' Sqn, RAF College.

30 Jul 1938:            Pilot, No 148 Sqn. (Heyford/Wellington) (Stradishall)  

 2 Jun 1939:            Pilot, No 9 Sqn

xx xxx 1942:           U/T, No ? OTU

xx xxx 1942:           Flight Commander, No 76 Sqn (Halifax)

24 Sep 1942:          Prisoner of War

xx xxx 1945:           Officer Commanding, No 102 (Ceylon) Sqn.

29 Nov 1945:         Staff, Directorate of Flying Training.

xx xxx 1948:           Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx xxxx:            ?, RAE Farnborough

xx xxx 1953:           Personnel Staff Officer, HQ No 205 Group.

xx xxx xxxx:            Air Staff, HQ Transport Command

 9 Jan 1959:            Officer Commanding, No 99 Sqn. (Britannia C1)

 5 Oct 1959:           Group Captain - Operations, HQ Transport Command.

20 Aug 1962:         Officer Commanding, RAF Luqa.

 2 Jul 1965:             Group Captain - Operations, HQ No 38 Group.


xx xxx xxxx:           Regional Commandant, South West Region, Air Training Corps (Ret'd)

Born in Suffolk and educated at Bungay Grammar School, he joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in 1932 and at the end of this apprenticeship, he was awarded a scholarship to the RAF College at Cranwell.  Here he represented the College at Hockey and Athletics.  Initially posted to No 148 Squadron at Stradishall, which was equipped with the Handley Page Heyford but in March 1939 it began to receive the Vickers Wellington.  In September 1939, the squadron moved toHarwell and became a Group Pool squadron, training crews for the other squadrons in the Group.  In April 1940, the squadron was merged with No 75 Squadron to form No 15 Operational Training Unit.

In 1942, he returned to an operational unit, when he was appointed a flight commander on No 76 Squadron at Middleton St George.  The squadron moved to Linton on Ouse in September 1942 and in the same month his aircraft. Halifax II, DT508 was hit by flak whilst over the target of Flensburg.  On the return journey, was forced to ditch in the North Sea and was picked up by a U-boat becoming a POW in Stalag Luft III at Sagan in Poland, famous for the 'Great Escape'.  In 1945 he managed to survive ‘The Long March’ from camps in the east to those in the west.  Returning to Britain in early 1945, he took command of No 102 Squadron, whilst it was still a bomber squadron based at Pocklington in Yorkshire.  However the day before VE Day, 102 together with the rest of No 4 Group was transferred to Transport Command.  Re-equipped with Liberators, the squadron was tasked with carrying out trooping flights between the UK and India.

In 1948, he attended the RAF Staff College, and in 1950, he organised the RAF flying display at Farnborough and in 1953, he was posted to HQ, No 205 Group in Egypt. In 1956, he was involved in the planning of the transport effort for 'Operation Muskateer', the ill fated Suez operation.  In 1959, he was given command of No 99 Squadron and was responsible for much of the work involved in introducing the Bristol Britannia into RAF service.  He returned to the Mediterranean to command RAF Luqa in Malta and whilst there, the island gained its independence from Britain, although British forces continued to operate from the island.

His final appointment, was at HQ No 38 group and he retired in 1968, but he did not end his connection with the RAF, for he was immediately appointed Commandant of the South West Region of the Air Training Corps, based at RAF Locking, near Weston-super-Mare.

This page was last updated on 10/04/21 using FrontPage 2003©

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