Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wg Cdr Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC 1920-2008

Wing Commander Patrick Peter Colum Barthropp DFC AFCWW2 Fighter Command Spitfire Ace & Stalag Luft III POW
Barthropp was born in Dublin on 9 November 1920. He was educated at St Augustine’s Abbey School, Ramsgate; St Joseph’s College, near Market Drayton and Ampleforth College, North Yorkshire, after which he went to Rover’s on an engineering apprenticeship. As a candidate for a short service commission, he began his elementary flying at 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham on 1 November 1938. Following a short induction course at Uxbridge, he was posted to 7 FTS, Peterborough on 31 January 1939 and completed his training in late July. He attended No 1 Armament Training Camp, Catfoss, before going to No 1 School of Army Co-operation, Old Sarum on the day the war started.
On 9 October 1939 he was posted to 613 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Odiham. Having volunteered for Fighter Command in August 1940, he was sent to 7 OTU, Hawarden on the 21st to convert to Spitfires and on 8 September he joined 602 Squadron at Westhampnett. On the 21st he damaged a Do 17, on the 27th shared a He 111 and on 2 October shared a Ju 88. He was posted to 610 Squadron on 20 December 1940 and on 5 February 1941 he went to 91 Squadron at Hawkinge. On 27 April Barthropp damaged a Do 17, on 4 June he probably destroyed at Bf 109, on the 9th he shot down a Bf 109 and on 17 August he shot down one Bf 109 and damaged another. On 24 August 1941 Barthropp rejoined 610 Squadron as ‘B’ Flight Commander. He was awarded the DFC (26.9.41) and posted to 61 OTU, Heston on 23 October.
He returned to operations on 15 May 1942, joining 122 Squadron at Hornchurch. Two days later, on a Boston escort-operation, he was shot down over Audruicq, near St Omer, baled out and was captured on landing. From June 1942 until his release on 2 May 1945, near Lubeck, he spent time in several PoW camps, including Stalag Luft III. In early September 1945 he was sent to Norway to locate graves of shot-down airmen and confirm their identities. On 2 January 1946 he attended the Empire Test Pilots’ School, Cranfield, followed by a posting on 23 May to ‘A’ Fighter Test Squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. In 1948 he was posted to HQ Fighter Command at Bentley Priory.
In March 1952 he went to RAF Waterbeach as Wing Commander Flying, in March 1954 to Air HQ Hong Kong as Staff Officer i/c Admin, in April 1955 to RAF Honiley to command, in March 1957 to RAF Coltishall as Wing Commander i/c Admin. He was awarded the AFC (10.6.54) for his work at Waterbeach. Barthropp retired on December 28 1957, retaining the rank of Wing Commander