Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore L K Barnes (16043)

L K Barnes - 1930Leonard Kelly          b: 19 Oct 1902                                              d: 14 Dec 1948

CBE - 13 Jun 1946 (MBE - 3 Jun 1935), MiD 1 Jan 1945, Abdy Gerrard Fellows  Memorial Prize - 1922

Plt Off: 16 Aug 1922, Fg Off: 16 Feb 1924, Flt Lt: 1 Jul 1928, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1936, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1939, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Dec 1941,Gp Capt: 1 Oct 1946, Act A/Cdre: 26 Feb 1945 - 2 Jan 1947?; 19 Jan 1948,

26 Aug 1920:                Flight Cadet, 'B' Sqn, RAF College. (Flt Cdt Sgt, Rugby Shooting)

16 Aug 1922:               Pilot, No 24 Sqn.

 88 May 1923:             Pilot, No 401 (Fleet Fighter) Flight FAA.

18 May 1923:              Pilot, No 402 (Fleet Fighter) Flight FAA.

 7 Mar 1924:                Pilot, No 404 Flight FAA.

 5 Sep 1924:                Pilot, No 440 (Fleet Reconnaissance) Flight FAA.

21 Sep 1926:               Attended School of Naval Co-operation.

 8 May 1928:               Attended  Flying Boat Pilots' Course, RAF Base Calshot.

 1 Jan 1929:                 Instructor (Navigation?), No 5 FTS.

 5 Mar 1931:                Pilot, No 204 Sqn. (Southampton)

28 Feb 1933:               Navigation Officer, No 203 Sqn. (Rangoon - Basra)

28 Dec 1934:               En-route to UK

 6 Feb 1935:                Supernumerary, RAF Depot. (For duty at HQ Inland Area)

21 Jan 1936:                Attended RAF Staff College.

19 Dec 1936:               Supernumerary, No 6 (Auxiliary) Group. (For duty at the Air Ministry)

16 Feb 1939:               Officer Commanding, No 228 Sqn (Sunderlands - Kalafrana/Pembroke Dock)

18 Nov 1939:               Interned in Iceland

10 May 1940:              Released and advised British Occupation Forces

30 Sep 1940:               Air Staff, HQ Coastal Command.

26 Oct 1940:               Navigation Staff Officer, HQ Bomber Command

10 Dec 1940:               Deputy Director of Flying Training (Navigation)

12 Apr 1943:               Officer Commanding, No 298 Wing (West Africa)

xx xxx 1944:                Deputy Director of Air Transport Policy and Operations (2).

26 Feb 1945:               Director of Combined Operations (Air).

26 Aug 1946:               Chief of Staff, HQ Combined Operations

 2 Jan 1947:                Attended Imperial Defence College.

19 Jan 1948:                AOC and Commandant, Empire Air Navigation School, RAF Shawbury

Born in Bideford, Devon, he entered Cranwell in the second term of its existence, achieving the highest score of 11,608, in the competitive selection tests held in 1920.

Having gained his Master Navigators' Certificate in 1932, he was tasked with re-writing the RAF Manual of Navigation, between 1935 and 1939.  This is indicated by the Supernumerary periods listed above.

In September 1939, he flew a Sunderland to Raufarhofn off North East Iceland, after discussion with local authorities, he later took off and returned to base.  However, the incident caused a diplomatic row between Britain and Denmark and Wing Commander Barnes 'volunteered' to return to Iceland to be interned.  The German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940, brought his internment to and end, when the British invaded the country to prevent it falling to the Germans after Denmark's collapse.  It is possible that the whole situation was engineered in order to get a British officer into Iceland, whilst Denmark was still neutral  so that sites for airfields and other facilities could be located prior to any future action being taken.

As Commandant of the Empire Air Navigation School, he requested to wear a Navigator's brevet instead of his pilot's 'Wing's', which was greatly appreciated by the officers and airmen of the school.

This page was last updated on 29/12/23

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