Many thanks to Nick Nicholls for sourcing this material from the closed Halifax Facebook Group. Permission obtained from the owner to reproduce the material.
Sgt. Barber was part of Pilot F/Sgt James crew. They joined 433 squadron in December 1943. Their first operational sortie came soon after in January 1944 to Berlin of all places, which was a tough first trip for a ‘rookie’ crew. To make things worse their second one was again to Berlin !
After the two first trips they thought it might get a little easier for them, but no such luck as the third Operation was to Leipzig. Here they were attacked by a night fighter which damaged the gun turret controls rendering them u/s. Luck was on their side and they managed to evade further damage and return to base.
Next trip was to Stuttgart and two further night fighter attacks, but luckily no damage was sustained to the Halifax. Now in to March, and further trips to Germany including the infamous Nuremberg raid where Bomber Command lost 96 aircraft, again, luck was on their side.
April 1944, Barber and his crew were on 8 further operations to Villeneve St. George, Kattegat, Lens, Dusseldorf, Karlsruhe, Essen, Aulnoye, Somain. Into May, and trips to St Nazaire, Lorient, St. Valerie en Caux (Invasion gun position), Brest (returned early) Le clippon, Frisians, Le clippon.
June saw operational trips to aid the D-Day invasion, and 8 more trips to the French Normandy area were completed, with 3 trips to flying bomb sites. Their final operational flight was on July 9th to Foret D’Eawy, which was their 31st completed trip.
Sgt Barber was one of the lucky ones that had survived a full tour of operations over Europe. His original medal group of four comes with the log book, which include – 1939-45 and air crew europe stars, defence & war medals. His original air crew Europe star has the France & Germany bar.
In July 1985 the whole crew got together for a re-union.