BARKER VC, The Life, Death and Legend of Canada's Most Decorated War Hero

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9781898697596: BARKER VC, The Life, Death and Legend of Canada's Most Decorated War Hero
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When William Barker died in an air crash in March 1930 his state funeral was the largest in the history of Toronto. He was a war hero and holder of the Victoria Cross, the DSO and Bar, the MC and two Bars, the Croix-de-Guerre, two Italian Silver Medals for Valour and three Mentions-in-Despatches. Moreover, he had 50 Great War victories to his credit. However, his life and achievements have, to all intents and purposes, been forgotten or overlooked when compared to that other great war hero, Billy Bishop. Wayne Ralph has made it his mission to discover why this is the case. In what was for him "a five-year emotional journey", Ralph has solved many mysteries and laid to rest many mistruths about the man. This is a detailed and well-researched biography of Lieutenant Colonel William Barker.

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When William Barker died in an air crash in March 1930, his state funeral was the largest in the history of Toronto.  The cortege was two miles long, with 2000 uniformed men as escort and 50,000 spectators looking on.

He was, after all, a magnificent airman, a great war hero and holder of the Victoria Cross, the DSO and Bar, the MC and two Italian Silver Medals for Valour and three Mentions-in-Despatches.  Moreover, he had 50 Great War victories in the air to his credit.

But his life and achievements have, to all intents and purposes, been forgotten or at best overlooked when compared to that other great Canadian war hero, Billy Bishop.  Why?

Wayne Ralph made it his mission to find out.  In what was to become for him "a five-year emotional journey", Ralph has solved many mysteries and laid to rest many half-truths about the man.  His book is detailed, meticulously researched and excellently crafted.  It holds the interest from beginning to end and deserves to be viewed as the definitive biography of Lieutenant Colonel William Barker; warts and all, and a fitting testimony to the life and time of a legend.

From the Inside Flap:

William Barker was Canada's most decorated war hero, yet he has remained a footnote in history. This extensively researched biography addresses this oversight, and reinstates William Barker to his rightful place among Canada's heroes.

The story of William Barker's incredible life reads like a novel. Raised in Manitoba, he left for the war in Europe. During his service he won the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order (twice), and the Military Cross (three times). A crack shot and a natural leader, Barker's most famous exploit, single-handedly taking on 15 German planes, made him a legend. Barker came home as the nation's most decorated war hero. On March 12, 1930, aged 35, he was killed in Ottawa demonstrating a new aircraft to the RCAF. His state funeral in Toronto was attended by more than 50,000 people.

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