19.04.1945 No. 74 Squadron Spitfire LF.XVI TB739 F/O. Barnes
Date: 19th April 1945 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 74 Squadron - 'I Fear No Man' (145 Wing, 84 Group)
Type: Spitfire LF.XVI
Base: Drope, Germany
Location: 3 km. South west of Hagen, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Luke Barnes NZ/422356 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
We are indebted to Allan Snowden for images and support for this page of remembrance to the New Zealand pilot. (Allan is a relative of Luke)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Germany was now in total disarray with the civilian population in desperate need of food with looting a common occurrence. The Allies were moving forward quickly and running into liberated prisoners of war, both men and women. A few days previously the true horrors were made public at Buchenwald and other camps.
Leaving their base at 18:15hrs. on an armed reconnaissance patrol over North Western Germany. The Squadron encountered light flak and noticed TB739 streaming large amounts of smoke. Shortly afterwards the engine seized and the pilot F/O. Luke Barnes attempted to crash land his Spitfire.
He managed to do this, sadly the landing was very heavy and the aircraft caught fire as soon as he touched down in a field South West of Hagen, the aircraft continued for a further 300 mts. before coming to a stop in a small wood. The pilot lost his life.
Initially buried beside his aircraft but then reburied at Dorfhagen by American troops before being reinterred at the Becklingen War Cemetery.
F/O. Luke Barnes. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 27.E.13. Born 31st December 1922 in Sheffield, England, the son of John Taylor Barnes and Catherine Ann Barnes, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 527 flying hours logged. Also commemorated on the Mosborough War Memorial near Sheffield, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: