Veteran Stories:
Art Barnard

Air Force

  • Art Barnard of the 402 'City of Winnipeg' Squadron RCAF next to his Spitfire in England during the winter of 1943. Interestingly, Sgt. Pilot Barnard and his father, AC1 E. A. Barnard served together in the Air Force during the Second World War.

    Art Barnard
  • While in training in Sydney, Nova Scotia in the winter of 1941, Art Barnard prepares for the bitter east coast weather with 'proper' military clothing.

    Art Barnard
  • Art Barnard and 402 RCAF Squadron leader Geoff Northcott cut wood for fuel in the Linconshire Woods in England in March 1944. Posted to Digby Station, their day off from flying consisted of chopping wood to supplement their meager coal supply.

    Art Barnard
  • Art Barnard's Medals (L-R) : 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Defense Medal, 1939-1945 Volunteer Service Medal with clasp, War Medal 1939-1945.

    Art Barnard
  • Art Barnard watches an intense game of 'Craps' in the off-hours of 402 Squadron in England, 1943. Gambling pastimes also included 'Knock Rummy', which Barnard occasionally played in the Officers Mess Hall with the Catholic Padre and the camp dentist.

    Art Barnard
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""...the higher-ups decided something else for me, and they shot me off up to Scotland, where I was told I was going to be an instructor on Tiger Moths. What a horrible disappointment that was!""

Transcript

My name is Art Barnard, born in Hamilton in 1922. When I turned eighteen in 1940 - a couple days after I turned eighteen - I went up and enlisted at the recruitment centre in Hamilton. I was called up in November that year, and after going to Toronto for Manning Pool, and Picton, I was off on a beautiful three months in the Maritimes, in Sydney, Nova Scotia. January, February, and March - one of the best seasons to be in the Maritimes. From there, I came back to Victoriaville for my ITS - Initial Training Service - on my way to becoming Air Crew, hopefully a pilot. And then to St. Catharines, where I got my initial flight training, then finally Dunville. I graduated on August the 20th, 1941.

After a couple weeks leave home, I was off to Halifax, and then on board a rather, for us, an infamous ship - the Empress of Asia. There was a so-called minor mutiny at Halifax about boarding the ship. After that, two weeks on-board ship into England, and hopefully I was going to be going to an Operational Training Unit. However, the higher-ups decided something else for me, and they shot me off up to Scotland, where I was told I was going to be an instructor on Tiger Moths. What a horrible disappointment that was! The flight instructor I had was a former World War I pilot, and I cried on his shoulder, and he said: "I understand your problem, son. I'll write that you're not suitable for this type of work, and we'll get you on your way." He got me on my way, alright.

I then wound up at another RAF station, this time to be a staff pilot. There I stayed for a year and a half - it seemed as if it took about three or four years - and finally got out of there in June, 1943, to Operational Training Unit on Spitfires at a very nice place in Shropshire, England - Rednal. After getting polished up there, I was shipped off to 402 Canadian Squadron, flying Spitfires who were then stationed just outside Lincoln in Lincolnshire, at a place called Digby, which all Canadian fighter pilots know.

From there on, until middle of January, 1945, flying with 402 Squadron. And finally, by the time I came through to the middle of January, I was posted home for a thirty day leave, after a policy of three years overseas. I was then told I was going to go back to England. I came home, and by the time I got back to go overseas again, the war was winding down, but nevertheless, City Hall, Head Office, Headquarters says: "You are to go back." So on-board ship for a cruise back to England, during which VE Day was proclaimed. They were so loaded up with bringing back prisoners of war, they said: "You'd better leave us here." So I took off on leave for about eight weeks, and then back to Bournemouth, where I finally got my posting home. And I arrived home and was discharged in the end of September, 1945.

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