LANCASTER R-ROBERT- PA979
Operation: Courtrai, 20/21 July 1944
Lost without trace; all the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial.
Pilot: F/O Edward Hubert William Joseph Edwards, 157108, 31 years
F/E: F/O William Hannah DFC, 155897, 24 years
Nav: F/Lt Eric Cyril Burt DFC, 118027, 23 years
B/A: F/Lt Jack Skingley DFC, 134721, 27 years
2nd B/A: F/O Kenneth Stowell Harrison Barker DFM, 146946, 24 years
W/Op: P/O Aubrey William Alexander Burnell, 177502, 24 years
MU/G: F/Lt Claude Raymond Underhill, 136718, 34 years
R/G: F/Sgt Joseph Rumney, 2209612, 20 years
Born in 1916 at Watford.
Member of Reigate Borough Police Force which he joined in April 1936.
Enlisted in April 1941, trained in Canada, and was commissioned in November 1942.
Reported missing from operations over the Normandy battlefront 20/21 July 1944.
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion
to duty”, with effect from 20 July 1944, the date of his death.
Kenneth Barker, far left. The man on the right appears to be Claude Raymond Underhill, the mid-upper
gunner on the Edwards crew, whose crew name could easily be Ray – the same man is seen in the photograph below, top right.
The photograph above shows Ken at the back on the far left. It is difficult to relate the handwritten names to the men as there are no ‘left-right’ details on the photo. The man second from the right at the back is clearly a pilot, and there is a chance that this is Edwards although why the name ‘Eric’ might be attached to him is not known. It is possible that this was different crew with whom Ken Barker had flown before joining the Edwards crew. Jack Skingley is not in the photograph.
Kenneth Barker, ‘Ken’, with his sister Peggy and his mother Constance, in London when receiving his DFM.
Photographs of Kenneth Barker courtesy of Sam Little; thanks are also due to Bill Habergham.
Photographs of Jack Skingley courtesy of Jackie Maude and Ross Skingley.