Barton W.F. - The OldWinburnians

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W. F. Barton

Full Names

Rank /Unit  

Years at Q.E.G.S.

William Frank Barton

Flight Lieutenant
No.107 Squadron  R.A.F.



Date  / Place of Birth

Date  / Place of Death

Age at Death


Monday 4th September 1939  Wilhelmshaven


The service number and the rank of Flt. Lt. Barton indicates that,  at the time of his death, (on the day following the  declaration of WW.2), he had already spent several years in the R.A.F. It is known that he was a Plt. Off on Probation by 24/8/35 - probably at the conclusion of his flying training and that he was promoted to Flg. Off in April 1937. However, it has been suggested that,  for a while,  just  before the WW2,  he flew a mail plane in Egypt.
The base of his unit was Wattisham, Suffolk, which was opened on 5th April 1939 with 107 & 110 Squadrons, and it was from here  that he took off at 1600 hrs in a Blenheim Mk.IV bomber, N.6184.  OM- , to attack German warships reportedly in Schillig Roads near Wilhelmshaven, on the Baltic coast of Germany.    His aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from the battleship "Admiral  Hipper" and it crashed into the harbour.  Altogether, five aircraft from No. 107 Squadron were lost on this operation, one of which is reported to have crashed on the training cruiser "Emden",  killing nine of her crew  and wounding several.

Flt. Lt. Barton and his crew, the Observer [Navigator]-Flg. Off. J.F. Ross, and the W.OP / Air Gunner- Corporal J.L. Ricketts (at the time, this aircrew trade was not recognised by promotion to Sergeant), are buried in the Sage War Cemetery, 15 miles south of Oldenburg  and some 25 miles west of Bremen. Between 1939 - 1945, some 950 war  casualties were collected onto this site. Flt. Lt. Barton & his crew are regarded as the First Losses of RAF Bomber Command in WW2.

Wm. F. Barton is understood to have been the son of Frank  Ernest and Elsie L. Barton of Ferring, (between Littlehampton & Worthing), Sussex. It is not known whether his family lived within easy reach of Wimborne at the  time he was in the school but it is extremely likely that he was a boarder.
William's father, Frank, was originally, thought to have died during the Great War,  whilst a Prisoner of War in Germany.  It has more recently been established  that he was a Private in the 1st Bn., The  Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regt.)  and he died on Tuesday 25th of September 1917,  toward the end of the Third Battle of Ypres.  His  name is on the Tyne Cot  Memorial - Passchendaele Ridge - where 35,000  men  who have no known grave, are commemorated.
Frank's  mother became a nurse and subsequently married  Hugh Brock, a son of Lord Brock.

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