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Radar Saved the Day

Heroes Remember

Had it not been for radar, there’s no doubt about it, we would’ve lost. It saved the day. It gave advance warning of when the German air fleets were coming over and permitted the small numbers of RAF fighters, a good most of them Spitfires, to be diverted to where the aircraft were coming, instead of having to protect the whole coast from the North Sea down to the English Channel. We found out about … it didn’t take too long to find out how important that radar was to our, or their, our survival, and to have lost then would have made all the difference to humanity. It’s hard to predict just what might have happened. But when we got into actually seeing the early radar and making use of it, we could see what a potent thing it was In my particular case, because I was over amongst the very early ones, I was given the opportunity to train people at Royal Air Force schools in Scotland and in England. And I was able to see, as the training was required for different kinds of radar people, how the war was progressing, from protecting the British Isles from the German aircraft coming over from the continent, to going out into the far areas of the earth to protect against submarines and surface radars, which is a different kind of radar. It was airborne radar as compared with the early ground radar, and that’s a long story and a long technical story, but we won! We won.

Mr. Barrie expresses his strong opinion about the fact that if it had not been for radar, the war would have been very different.

William “Bill” Barrie

Mr. Barrie was born on June 5, 1918. As a child, he was intrigued by radio, followed his desires and studied in the field of radar. By 1939, Mr. Barrie received a certificate as a Second Class Commercial Radio Operator from the Marconi Radio School in Toronto, Ontario. At age 22 he joined the RCAF. His first posting was to Britain and from 1941 to 1942, while in service, he obtained more education on heavy duty radar systems. In July, 1942, Mr. Barrie joined the RAF # 212 Flying Squadron and travelled to Southeast Asia where he took part in many airborne radar patrols. In 1945, Mr. Barrie returned to Canada and enrolled in a Radio Physics course at the university in London, Ontario, graduating with a BSC in Honours Radio Physics. In 1946, Mr. Barrie met a young Scottish girl who was serving with the Royal Navy as a WREN and they married later that year. After graduating university in 1949, Mr. Barrie was employed as a Development Engineer with a company in Belleville, Ontario. From 1957 until his retirement in 1981, Mr. Barrie was involved in major projects in the field of radar, from developing sound systems to designing more complicated satellite communications hardware. Retirement allowed him to become a major contributor to the “Canadians on Radar Research Project”.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
William “Bill” Barrie
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Leading Aircraftman
Radar Mechanic

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