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Frederick James Barker was born in Bow, London on 16th March 1918 and attended Old Palace School and Coopers’ Company School. He joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Wop/AG.
Called up on 1st September 1939, he joined 264 Squadron when it reformed on 30th October 1939. He teamed up with Sgt. ER Thorn. Over Dunkirk on 28th May 1940 they destroyed three Me109s, the following day two Ju87s and a Me110 and on 31st May a He111 and another shared. Barker was awarded the DFM (gazetted 14th June 1940).
Above: Barker entering his turret with Thorn at left.
When 264 moved south to Hornchurch on 21st August 1940, Thorn and Barker were again in action. On the 26th they destroyed two Do17s and as they went for a third they were attacked by a Me109. With their aircraft damaged, Thorn spun down and prepared to make a crash-landing. At 500 feet the Me109 attacked again, this time setting the Defiant on fire. Before crashing, Barker shot the enemy fighter down and it crashed a short distance away.
Thorn and Barker escaped with slight injuries. For this action they were each awarded a Bar to the DFM (gazetted 11th February 1941).
They destroyed a He111 at night on 9th April 1941. The partnership broke up when Thorn was posted to 32 Squadron in October 1941.
Barker remained with 264 until 1943. He was then posted to the Middle East as an air gunnery instructor.
He was commissioned in April 1944 and released from the RAF in 1946, as a Flying Officer.
Joint citation for DFM’s. 562610 Sergeant Edward Rowland and 747751 LAC Frederick James Barker both of 264 Squadron.
Gazetted 14th June 1940
These airmen have shown considerable determination and skill when engaging the enemy. On one occasion when three Defiants behind them had been shot down, leaving their aircraft the last in the , three Me 109’s, which were concentrating their efforts on the rear of the squadron, were shot down due to the skill of Sergeant Thorn and the Good shooting of LAC Barker, forcing the remaining enemy aircraft to break off the engagement. Sergeant Thorn and LAC Barker have, upto date, accounted for six enemy aircraft.
Joint citation for Bars to DFM’s. 562610 Flight Sergeant Edward Rowland DFM and 747751 Sergeant Frederick James Barker DFM both of 264 Squadron.
Gazetted 11th Febuary 1941
Flight Sergeant Thorn and Sergeant Barker have constantly operated together as pilot and Air Gunner in Defiant aircraft and were awarded the DFM after shooting down six enemy airaft. As a team, they have now accounted for six further enemy aircraft. Subsequently on 31st May 1940, operating with their squadron from Duxford over the beaches of Dunkirk, they detroyed two He 111’s. On 24th August, they took off from Manston to patrol the coast and encountered 20 Ju 88’s escorted by Me 109’s and He 113’s and destroyed one Ju 88. On 26th August, operating from Hornchurch, they patrolled Dover with their squadron and made combat with a formation of 12 Do 17’s escorted by Me 109’s and succeeded in destroying two Do 17’s and one Me 109. The Defiant took fire and the pilot dived it so to put out the flames. On coming out of the dive the Air Gunner, Sergeant Barker, found an Me 109 on his tail and with the aircraft still on fire, they manoeuvred so as to engage the enemy and assist a Hurricane which came to do combat with the Messerschmidt, and it was not until the Hurricane had shot down the Me 109 that they abandoned their machine, making successful parachute drops. Altogether, Flight Sergeant Thorn and Sergeant Barker have destroyed 12 enemy aircraft, 6 of these being subsequent to their receiving the DFM. They were strongly recommended for immediate awards of a Bar to their Distinguished Flying Medal.
Remarks by AOC:
On 26th August 1940, in particular, those gallant young airmen scored a magnificent success by shooting down three enemy aircraft. In the course of the engagement, their aircraft was set on fire but they continued to assist a Hurricane in combat with an enemy fighter until the pilot bailed out from the burning aircraft. Over a period of intense aerial activity, Flight Sergeant Thorn and Sergeant Barker have shown themselves to be a magnificent combination, having between them destroyed 12 enemy aircraft, 6 of these being subsequent to receiving the Distinguished Flying Medal. Awards recommended.
Non immediate Bars to DFMs awarded.