Barney Greatrex: new book on Bomber Command hero


Barney Greatrex
From Bomber Command to the French Resistance

By Michael Veitch
Published by Hachette  CLICK HERE TO BUY
RRP $35.00 in paperback | ISBN 9780733637230

Many young Australian men volunteered to serve in Britain’s Bomber Command but not many also fought with the French Resistance. Barney Greatrex was one of the few.

He joined the RAAF and trained as a bomb-aimer before being despatched to England and serving in 61 Squadron, flying Lancaster bombers over Europe.

Good fortune was a commodity needed in spades if one was to survive these frequent bombing raids but Barney’s luck almost ran out on his twentieth mission. His plane was shot down over occupied France but fortunately for Barney, he was able to escape the burning aircraft and parachute to safety. He was the only crew member to survive. He then had a second stroke of luck.

After stumbling through the forest for days, he came across a small village and was taken in by a French family who had connections with the local resistance group. And so began the second part of Barney’s war experiences.

He became a fully paid up member of the French Resistance and was part of the group which greeted the Allies after the landing at Normandy, having evaded capture which would have meant sure death at the hands of the German army.

He was later awarded the French Legion of Honour but kept all this secret until approached by Michael Veitch to tell his story. Veitch is an accomplished storyteller who has brought Barney’s incredible story to life and ensured that his story is known to future generations. 

Sadly Barney died on 17 February this year at the grand age of 97. RIP Barney. Lest we forget.

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