On Friday June 23rd we were delighted to be visited by Battle of Britain pilot Wing Commander Eric Barwell DFC and bar who flew Hurricanes Defiants, Beaufighters and Mosquitos during WW2. Eric, now 93 and with limited sight, modestly told us a little of his experiences in 264 and 125 Squadrons. He was heavily involved in the air fighting over and around the beaches at Dunkirk and claimed 5 enemy aircraft destroyed in that hectic period, during which he was also shot down into the sea and picked up by the Destroyer HMS Malcolm. He ended the war with nine confirmed victories, 1 probable and a single V1 flying bomb.
He was brought to the Museum by his nephew Squadron Leader John Barwell. John started his RAF career by going straight from training to a posting as an Instructor at 211 AFS flying Meteors. From there in 1953 he moved to Wattisham to fly Hunter 2s with 257 Squadron before moving to Tangmere to fly Hunter 5s during 1954 and 1955. His last Squadron posting was to 208 Squadron, also at Tangmere, flying Hunter 6s. Then in 1960 he took the intensive one year course at the ETPS at Farnborough from where he moved to Boscombe Down for 3 years. During that time he flew a variety of aircraft including the Lightning, the Hawker P1127 (prototype forerunner of the Harrier), Canberras, Jet Provosts, Gnats and, on exchanges with the USAF, F104 Starfighters, F105 Thunderchiefs and T38s. He has over 2000 hours in his logbooks and continues to take a keen interest in all aspects of aviation.