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Living in the Desert

Heroes Remember

Living in the Desert

You know, day after day I was in the desert living in a tent for a long, long period of time. We didn’t, you know, that was your house. Didn’t have a building, and if you get into an aircraft and it goes for, as the flying boats did, as long as 19 hours, you’re bored. I don’t remember fear. I guess that’s … I was younger then. I was fortunate, I suspect, but we didn’t know the overall picture. We didn’t know in the Far East whether the landing at Normandy was a success or whether we were going to win. We just didn’t have that kind of information. We didn’t have the information like we have now with TV and radio. Newspapers, but great long delays. So on the fear side of it, I don’t remember any.

Mr. Barrie speaks about his time in the Far East living in a tent.

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
Far East
Air Force
Leading Aircraftman
Radar Mechanic

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