Veteran Stories:
Robert Leo Barry

Air Force

  • The Memory Project, Historica Canada
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My name is Robert Leo Barry. I was born in May, 1935, in Iroquois Falls, Ontario. My father, Leo James Vincent Barry, served in England and France with the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War.

I joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in May, 1953. And after my basic training and operator, wireless and line course in Kingston, Ontario, at Vimy Barracks. I was posted to Barriefield - Number 1 Airborne Squadron, Royal Canadian Signals. I obtained my parachutist wings on Serial 240 in Canadian Joint Air Training Centre, Rivers, Manitoba, in September, 1954. My next posting was to Vancouver wireless station, where I took my release in October, 1956.

I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October, 1956. Upon completion of schooling, I was selected to be a pilot, and I obtained my pilot's wings in March, 1959, after having done my flying training on Chipmunk aircraft, Harvard training in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, and finally my wings training on beach craft - expediter aircraft - in Saskatoon.

My posting from Saskatoon was to Winnipeg Air Observer School, where I flew the Dakota aircraft, flying navigation training exercises. From Winnipeg Air Observer School, I went to 111 Communications Unit, which was Search and Rescue, also in Winnipeg, where I flew the Otter and Dakota aircraft.

In June, 1963, I was transferred to 115 Air Transport Unit El Arish, Egypt, to fly the Otter, Dakota, and Caribou aircraft for the United Nations. I spent a year in Egypt, flying troops and supplies around the different bases in the Sinai Desert. Also to Cairo, Port Said, Gaza, and Beirut. My trips also took me up to Europe - Italy and Cyprus. I spent quite a bit of time doing the tours.

One of my most memorable experiences was having to land in Israel one time when I was flying to Beirut from Gaza. I had engine trouble, so I landed in Tel-Aviv, Israel. We spent three days there before our aircraft was fixed, and went back to Egypt.

My service career was thirteen years, and I learned a lot in those thirteen years, of course. I became a pilot, and stood me in good stead once I got back on to Civie Street in 1966. I joined Air Canada, and flew with them for twenty years. Then to Ward Air, and Canadian Airlines.

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