Andrew 'Nicky' Barr MC DFC and Bar

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Apr 11, 2005
South East Queensland
Here's the story of Nicky Barr, a truely amazing man!

Andrew 'Nicky' Barr joined the RAAF on March 4, 1940. After training in Victoria, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and spent two months in 24 Squadron at Archerfield in Queensland before he was sent to the Middle East in September 1941. He was posted to 3 squadron in the Western Desert and gained his initial victories flying Tomahawks. His first kill being a Bf 110 shot down west of Tmimi on December 12, 1941.
The Squadron then converted to Kittyhawks where, on the 11th of January after shooting down two fighters, Barr attempted to land and pick up a downed pilot. As he came in he was attacked by two Bf 109s but, with his undercarriage still half down, he managed to shoot down one 109 as he tried to climb away. He was them shot down himself and wounded. Barr walked for five days to get back to the British lines where he was immediately awarded the DFC. By the time he had flown 35 operational hours he had already claimed eight victories. He was promoted to Flight Commander but on the 27th of May he had to make a forced landing when his engine overheated. He had just removed the engine covers when enemy tanks appeared. Leaving his cowlings behind, he quickly took off and made it back to his squadron.
The next day Barr was promoted to CO of the squadron. On the 30th of May he was shot down for the second time but made it back to the squadron after two days. On June 26, while escorting Boston bombers, his Kittyhawk suffered engine trouble and he was then attacked by two 109s. He baled out of his burning aircraft but was badly wounded. After 84 sorties in which he became 3 squadron's top scorer of WWII with 12 destroyed, 2 probables and 8 damaged he became a prisoner of the Italians.
After 5 months in hospital in Italy he escaped and almost reached Switzerland, but was recaptured. Later while the prisoners were being evacuated to Germany after the Italian armistice, Barr managed to escape and jump from his train wagon with a few other prisoners. When Barr found himself too weak to escape through the mountains at Goriana Valli he instead stayed back and organized the movement of other prisoners hiding in the area. Soon Barr was again captured this time by Alpine troops and after being ill treated was imprisoned by the Germans. With the help of another prisoner, Barr managed to escape again. He obtained a radio transmitter and continued to help other prisoners escape. In February 1944 he obtained a guide and brought 10 prisoners with him through to the allied lines. He was awarded an MC.
After being awarded a bar to his DFC, Barr returned to Australia as a wing commander where he took up the job of Chief Instructor at 2 OUT from November 1944 to August 1945.
That's a terrific tale Wild It goes to show that its the man behind the stick that makes the biggest difference he seemed to be just as good at dog fighting with both feet on the ground as he did in the air.
A remarkable gentleman indeed.
If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, do it! a great read. I highly recommend!


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