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Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > Archives > 2001

2001 Closed threads from 2001 (read only)

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Old 17 June 2001, 06:32 AM   #1
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Anyone care to discuss Bill Barkers last combat flight?
Old 17 June 2001, 09:40 AM   #2
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By any chance do you start bar fights as a hobby?
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Old 17 June 2001, 10:28 AM   #3
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Not much debate on this one. I think most people acknowledge that Barker shot down the planes he is stated to have shot down, but that the "60 against 1" stuff is way overstated. Most interesting part of this fight is that Barker was not at all happy with his performance (caught napping) and didn't really like to talk about it. Also I think he much preferred "Will" to "Billy".
Old 17 June 2001, 10:44 AM   #4
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The "Billy" thing was started by the Canadian Press. They liked to mention the "two Billys", Barker and Bishop. But in general, Barker did prefer "Will" to Billy.

Beyond that, what is there to discuss?? He fought off a ton of Fokkers shot some of them down before crashing himself, and was awarded the VC.


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Old 17 June 2001, 03:24 PM   #5
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Ok...Ok... No FAA crash investigators please! Here are the facts. Let me see if you can put them in sensible order. Will Barker is flying at above 20,000 feet in a Sopwith Snipe Probably with Oxygen (however possibly not). He has just shot down a high altitude recon two seater when he is suddenly hit by 3 rounds. One takes out his elbow, one takes out a piece of his left hip, but the third is truly dangerous. It severs the large artery on the inside of his right thigh. On crash landing near a friendly position his lower half is soaked in blood and the troops think he's done for. An examination of his plane reveals only three bullet holes; all coming through the bottom of the cockpit. He survives and with a fellow officer puts together the claim which leads to his VC along with other awards. Now let me throw this in the pot. Once that large artery is severed a normal healthy person has about six minutes before losing conciousness. It takes a Sopwith Snipe, falling at 1g, about six minutes to reach the ground from 20,000 feet. Furthermore, Barker stated that he had "moments of unconciousness." So who can tell me what happened?
Old 17 June 2001, 07:56 PM   #6
Tom Cervo
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Wayne Ralph has done a splendid biography of Barker; if it's not there, it probably doesn't exist. But first you cite Barker flying at 20,000 feet (and no, he didn't have oxygen) and then base your calculations on a normal healthy man. Barker may have been healthy but he was a long way above normal--you might want to use Olympic athlete as a physical comparison. It may have been more than six minutes.
It was the men on the ground--McNaughten was one of them--who have given the details of the fight that appeared in the VC citation. There's little doubt that Barker fought his way out through a squadron or so of DVII's.
Old 18 June 2001, 04:55 AM   #7
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Thanks for your input Tom. Top athletic condition would only add a couple of minutes of conciousness.If the biography is the same one I'm thinking of, the writer states that the men on the ground saw no enemy aircraft. Think about it from the point of view of the D-VII pilot who has just fired and seen the snipe apparently falling out of control. Boelkes Dicta; "Do not be fooled by ruses." By the way Richard, even bar fights can be constructive.
Old 18 June 2001, 10:23 AM   #8
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What about conditioning? Did the air forces of the belligerents even HAVE such a thing? Without something here to go on, I would never assume that these guys were in Olympic-caliber physical condition.

Let's hear a bit on this.

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Old 18 June 2001, 11:47 AM   #9
Kory Clark
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all i can offer is the nasty training even RFC guys had to go through, also many came from the trenches, you had to be tough to survive in that H#@.

Finally, men were made of stronger stuff back then from what i can tell.

Old 18 June 2001, 12:25 PM   #10
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They went cross country running to keep fit.Never read about any of them reaching Olympic standard though.
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