• Christina Drummond

Major Richard Raymond-Barker MC, Royal Flying Corps


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Major Richard Raymond-Barker MC, Royal Flying Corps, was killed in action, shot down by Baron von Richthofen. He was the last to die at the hands of the Red Baron, who would himself be killed the following day.

Major Raymond-Barker had been in command of No. 3 Squadron, flying Sopwith Camels, when they encountered a patrol of Fokker Triplanes of the “Flying Circus” (also known as Richthofen’s Circus because of the bright colours used on the aircraft). The Baron reported: "With six planes of Jasta 11, I attacked a large enemy squadron. During the fight I observed that a Triplane was attacked and shot at from below by a Camel. I put myself behind the adversary and brought him down, burning, with only a few shots. The enemy plane crashed down near the forest of Hamel where it burned further on the ground.” Major Raymond-Barker’s body was not recovered.

Major Raymond-Barker was one of nine children, and was educated at Wimbledon College. He was commissioned in November of 1914 and served with the 12th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. In 1915 he learned to fly at the Hall Flying School at Hendon Aerodrome, was granted his Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificate in July of that year and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in August. He completed pilot training, was appointed as a flying officer in October, and was posted to France the following month. He gained the first of his six victories in May of 1917, and subsequently awarded the Military Cross, after which he was appointed as squadron commander, with temporary rank of Major. His Military Cross citation reads: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when leading a fighting patrol. He attacked a large hostile formation, destroying two of them. He has also done excellent work in leading distant photographic reconnaissances, notably upon two occasions when his skilful leadership enabled photographs to be taken of all the required hostile area in spite of repeated attacks from enemy aircraft. He has helped to destroy seven hostile machines, and has at all times displayed conspicuous skill and gallantry.”

Richard, from Bisley in Gloucestershire, was 23 years old.

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