Interview with Maurice Barrick


Interview with Maurice Barrick


Maurice Barrick had always wanted to serve in the Royal Air Force. Upon completion of training, he was posted to Bomber Command 467 Squadron at RAF Waddington. He did four operational flights and two trips flying British prisoners of war from Germany. Maurice also remembers a fatal crash at RAF Elsham Wolds. He enjoyed his life in Bomber Command.  On being demobbed, Maurice went to work as a fireman with the railway.




Temporal Coverage




00:21:11 audio recording


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SJ: This interview is being conducted for the International Bomber Command Centre. The interviewer is Sue Johnstone. The interviewee is Maurice Barrick. The interview is taking place at Mr. Barrick’s home in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, on Tuesday, 15th of November 2016.
MB: Well, good afternoon. Yes, you want to know when I started in the Air Force? My service number was 1592191 which indicated that I was tested for aircrew duties at Doncaster I was [unclear] Doncaster, I was [unclear] who was [unclear] were interviewed at Doncaster so I was the 191st person to be accepted in the Air Force from Lincoln. I served on several stations, got deferred leave for a start actually because I was too young to start training so a leave was granted for me until I reached a certain age then that age arrived and I was posted first of all to, yes [unclear] started my service life at 7 air gunner school which was at Stormy Down in Wales, my initial training was started on the 7th of June 1944, a little bit late in the war years but nevertheless I managed to get on the [unclear] as an air gunnery school during that period, my next station was, [pause] the pilots of these bases were time expired airmen to see that operational duties and now in July of 1944 and they’d taken up to training young sprogs like me, my next station was 16 OTU which was at Stormy Down, Upper Heyford and I spent the next few weeks there at Upper Heyford, we, I went from Upper Heyford to,[pause] posted to 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit which was at Winthorpe which is now at the moment the site for the North Lincolnshire Show as various other things, Winthorpe was a small village just outside Lincoln and it was from that station that the crew went one day and we had a group photograph taken. The next stage was the, to join 5 Lancaster finishing school, at that date we had to do a few weeks in the Lancaster finishing school which was at Syerston later got out because Syerston became a Heavy Conversion Unit and then I didn’t do many operational flights, I joined 467 Squadron in March 1945 and that was at Waddington and the, my stay there wasn’t a very long one, I did operational flying, managed to get one or two operations in and was thankful that I did, I was straining at the leash to get, to get operational so that at least I could get in before the war finished, I had a bit of freedom at one time that the war was finished before I got on the squadron and that would never have done, so I went to the Heavy Conversion Unit which was, which is now the site for North Lincolnshire Show and one or two other activities, I was posted from there to Bomber Command proper which was at Waddington.
SJ: Which squadron was that?
MB: 467 Squadron at Waddington.
SJ: What was your flying time like?
MB: Not all that good, three hundred hours flying time and that was it but.
SJ: What was your role on the aircrew?
MB: I was air gunner, mid-upper gunner and I enjoyed my life on the squadron, it was a bit dodgy at times but we managed to pull through, they managed to, I, only get four operational flights then, we were used, our squadron was used to ferry British prisoners of war home from Germany, twenty nine at a time, and I did two trips with twenty-four, twenty-four young soldiers or sailors who had been prisoners of war [unclear] one cargo back to wing, wing and one cargo back to, oh, I forget the name of the thing now, such a long while ago you know
SJ: Yeah.
MB: It’s, trying to retrieve these memories is not an easy thing, and of course with it being a long time ago I got older!
SJ: You’ve done a lot since as well.
MB: Well, yeah, I’ve been, I’ve had a very good life, I look back at some of the things that I’ve done, and I don’t regret any of them.
SJ: Good.
MB: Including a magistrate and various other clerk of the council and that sort of thing but I retired at sixty five and I’ve enjoyed life since. I don’t know, [unclear] get anymore from this, perhaps we clean those while we [unclear] we had a crash on the first April 1945 there was a fatal air crash at Walsham Wolds, the home of 103 Squadron.
SJ: Elsham Wolds.
MB: Pardon?
SJ: Elsham Wolds.
MB: Elsham Wolds, yeah. And I wasn’t stationed at Elsham Wolds but we all went across to give any assistance that we could.
SJ: What brought you to Elsham Wolds that time then?
MB: I think it was this fatal crash on 1st of August 1942, when the crash happened at Elsham Wolds, the home of 103 Squadron, Black Swan squadron in other words [sighs].
SJ: What did you think of Bomber Command and what they were doing?
MB: I enjoyed it and I thought they did a good job and I get a little bit annoyed when people criticize Harris for not attending various functions but I think he was a good skipper, a good man in charge and I [unclear] bomb aimer.
SJ: Can you say a bit more about your training?
MB: Yeah.
SJ: And why you wanted to join the RAF?
MB: I’d always wanted to serve in the Royal Air Force right from the very first start, I was tested at Doncaster hence my initial number 159, was 21, 2191, [unclear] to be accepted I had to be trained at Elsham Wolds
SJ: Then you had to wait till when you were eighteen?
MB: Well yes, my only snag was I was too young to go on operational flying straight away and I was put on deferred service, in other words wait until you are a bit older son and you can come along and join us which was about in March I think deferred service and eventually I managed to get into the Air Force and we get cracking.
SJ: So, you were a local lad from the area?
MB: Yes, there was no advantage actually but I was local lad of course, was, I was a little bit sad to leave, my number of discharge was something like fifty-one or fifty-two, which was fairly late maybe because I didn’t have much service, actual service with the squadron but nevertheless I managed to get in six operational flights to Germany and enjoy the role.
SJ: What did you do when you left?
MB: When I left the Air Force I went back to where I was joining the Air Force, I was an errand boy at, for Percy Giles at Goxhill, I served, finished my time with him and then from then I went to
Other: [unclear]
MB: [unclear] How did you know that? I went to work on the railway, I was a porter at Goxhill station and eventually, I don’t know that the wages of firemen was greater, much greater than those of porters and so I applied for, I was, I got a transfer to the local [unclear] depot at Immingham where I completed my apprenticeship, it’s very difficult.
SJ: It’s, yeah, so how did they come to dedicate the library in the Immingham museum to you?
MB: Well, I, when I was in civvy street I became a councillor on the Immingham town council and during that time we dedicated a particular part of a building to a museum for the Royal Air Force of course. It was, yeah, several weeks our old crew [unclear] training and the Royal Air Force I’ve always thought the Royal Air Force was really the bee’s knees and any books on, I’ve sort of collected any book I could on the Royal Air Force
SJ: You’ve done quite a bit of research, haven’t you?
MB: I’ve done a little quite a bit, I’d say a small amount, that’s, these are the crew, there’s a bigger picture somewhere on the wall
SJ: Yeah, I’m gonna take a picture of that.
MB: As a crew.
SJ: Can you tell me any funny stories about your crew?
MB: No, we worked very well together we didn’t go out to sort of pull any punches and after the war POP Peter was used to ferry prisoners of war back, twenty-nine at a time, we [unclear] to the aircraft flying back to England
SJ: I bet that was quite rewarding helping the POWs come back
MB: It was indeed very satisfying and I was, I regret I was only on two operations in ferrying people back but it was a service and had to be performed of course and you don’t ask questions in the Air Force, they tell you what to do and you get on with it. And the aircraft we flew in more than any other was P.O.P. Peter and popping all the words and there is some, If you want to take copies of these you may.
SJ: Did you attend many reunions after you left?
MB: No, I didn’t actually, I don’t think I went to any.
SJ: No?
MB: I don’t think so, you tend to think see yourself that’s it, that’s my lot, I’ve done it and that’s the end.


Sue Johnstone, “Interview with Maurice Barrick,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024,

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