LEST WE FORGET

Lieutenant Owen Cressy BARRY

Service No: 72
Born: Clarence River NSW, June 1891
Enlisted in the Army: 18 January 1915
Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps

Died: Air Operations, France, 11 May 1918, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Cressy Barry, of 182, Kurraba Road, Neutral Bay, New South Wales, and the late Edwyna Barry. Born at Harwood Island, New South Wales
Place of Association: Broadwater NSW
Remembered: Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

A great joint bombing attack by No. 4 Australian Squadron and No. 110 (Naval) Squadron, RAF, was planned for the evening of May 11th on the ammunition-dumps at Armentieres.  Malley (1) and Petschler (2), each leading flights of five, were the escorts.  Shortly after 7 o’clock the bombers blew up a big dump and started an extensive fire.  As the airmen were about to turn homeward, a cloud of German scouts-about thirty in all-attacked from the east.  In Petschler’s formation Lieutenant H. G. Watson (3). destroyed one Pfalz, and Petschler shot down an Albatros out of control, but the flight lost Lieutenant O. C. Barry whose machine (4) fell in flames from a fierce duel.  Malley’s formation also drove down an Albatros.  It was the longest air battle Australian airmen had hitherto fought.  In the light of the evening sun it was often difficult to tell friend from foe. Inevitably formations were completely broken up and scattered over a wide area of sky.  As eventually the raiders, individually or in little groups, turned homeward, they were dismayed to find everywhere a smother of white fog below them.  Setting their course by the sun still visible above the horizon at their great height-and by the distant fire of the Armentieres dumps, they flew west, descending slowly.

(1) Squadron Leader Garnet Francis Malley MC AFC 5883; born Mosman NSW 2 November 1893
(2) Captain Norman Leslie Petschler; Born Rockdale NSW 22 November 1892
(3) Captain Herbert Gilles Watson DFC; Born Dunedin NZ, 30 March 1890
(4) Sopwith Camel aircraft B7480

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Pages 278, 280

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, BARRY OWEN CRESSY
National Archives UK RAF RAF Casualty Book AIR 1/970 page 20, 15152

Bibliography:

Richards, E.J. (Edward John) Australian Airmen: History of the 4th Squadron, publisher unknown, c1919

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