A Collection of Awards to the Royal Air Force between the Wars (1919-1939) formed by Group Captain JE Barker

A Collection of Awards to the Royal Air Force between the Wars (1919-1939) formed by Group Captain JE Barker

John E Barker

John Barker grew up in wartime Worcestershire. Post-war he served a School of Electronics electrical engineering apprenticeship at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (T.R.E.) at Malvern, later renamed Radar Research Establishment (R.R.E.). After two years working on electronics at the Department of Atomic Energy’s Windscale Works in Cumberland, and gaining Graduate membership of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, National Service requirements had to be met. The Royal Air Force decided he would be useful as an Electrical Engineer officer and thus began a 33-year service career. John’s interest in medals was sparked by an existing Orders and Medals Research Society member, the late Lieutenant-Commander Derek Woollett, and so, in January 1970, he became Member no. 904. His initial, wide, Royal Air Force medals interest led to a ‘R.A.F. Between the Wars (1919-1939)’ theme and this has been maintained ever since, although, as with most collectors, he also inevitably acquired aviation medals and groups of special interest that sat outside the strict parameters of the chosen theme. Following his retirement from the Royal Air Force in 1988, he decided to research the family medals of two uncles who had been young Great War army officers killed within a week of each other in 1918, one of whom had been awarded the Military Cross whilst serving with the Royal Field Artillery, whilst the other had served in the Worcestershire Regiment; thus began his second medals collecting theme, ‘The Worcestershire Regiment and its Predecessors’, which was sold at Dix Noonan Webb in September 2017. John presently assists with medals research at the Mercian Regiment Museum Archives at Worcester, and is a member of both the Birmingham Medal Society and the Cotswold Branch of the OMRS.