Sgt. S. Barnes, RCAF

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StanBarnesGrandson
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Re: Sgt. S. Barnes, RCAF

Post by StanBarnesGrandson » Tue Nov 28, 2023 8:04 pm

Hi all;

I'm not sure if this will be a tree falling in a forest with noone to hear it given I'm four years late to this thread, but thought I'd share my grandfather's own account of what happened. He passed suddenly in '68 and I wasn't even two so have no memories of him. But I tracked this down and read it to his widow, my grandmother, on her 90th birthday. Life in the war and being told that my grandfather was KIA took a toll on her and she was the most stoic person I've ever known, and this brought her to tears 70+ years after the fact:

From To Hell in a Halifax

WO2 Stan Barnes, Spitfire Pilot, RCAF
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Beauvais, France: October 3, 1943

Dear Herb:
Haven’t got much to say because I still don’t know what happened. Our flight was coming out of France after having to turn back because No. 1 had engine trouble. It was a beautiful day, nobody around except our four Spits heading home. One minute I’m flying along nice and peaceful, the next minute I was going down in flames. As soon as I realized what happened, and things were becoming a bit too hot, I jumped out like a jack-in-the-box. A parachute jump from 20,000 feet in broad daylight is quite some experience. I’ll have to try it again sometime especially when I haven’t got other things on my mind such as looking for a couple of missing fingers and trying to put the burn ointment on my face. I thought I’d never get down and kept glancing up to make sure I wasn’t hanging from a “sky hook.” Finally landing into the arms of three Jerries who bandaged me up and ushered me off to the local Luftwaffe M.O. In Beauvais hospital for a month and then through the regular channel, ended up here at IV B. Now I’m itching to get home for a rest and then take a crack at the Japs. . . .
Stan
Last edited by StanBarnesGrandson on Thu Nov 30, 2023 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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georgetanksherman
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Re: Sgt. S. Barnes, RCAF

Post by georgetanksherman » Wed Nov 29, 2023 10:07 pm

Greetings and Welcome StanBarnesGrandson, just wanted to let you know that there are people who Remember and Honor those who were a part of the "Greatest Generation" they stood up when needed. Thank you for the story about your grandfather and what happened when he became a POW.

Hope all is well, all the best !

Cheers

George

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Re: Sgt. S. Barnes, RCAF

Post by StanBarnesGrandson » Thu Nov 30, 2023 11:06 pm

Thanks George :)

I've gone back and fixed my typos, my kingdom for a copy editor.

Anyway, absolutely, my grandfather and his comrades were indeed the greatest generation. Heck, even my dad spoke highly of him, and he parsed his praise out in miserly fashion. I'll add my amazement of my grandmother to that as well, I was the closest grandchild to her. She sacrificed and endured so much in those days, and we should also remember that they were children of The Great Depression as well. And she maintained that she never believed that my grandfather was KIA.

I'm glad that I was able to contribute to the collective knowledge. I must acknowledge that Stan's account came from a collection of stories that a man named Herbie was able to cobble together from fellow POWs, and that his grandson, up in Meaford, On, was able to publish in a book called To Hell in a Halifax. I get no kickback from mentioning that, only an appreciation for its existence without which I would never have found my grandfather's account.

All the best, Lionel

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