The first person we are researching in the Forgotten Heroes category is RAF Squadron Leader, George C. “Lucky” Barwell. My friend Bill Naud, author of “OJI-Spy Girls at the Gate,” first informed me of Barwell and his escapades.
Sqdn. Leader Barwell is an interesting story. To date I don’t have all the information I would like on him, and what I know so far, comes from two books about the Ploesti Raid of WW II.
The second book, entitled “Ploesti, The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943,” is even better, in my humble opinion. It tells the story of the battle from both sides…the B-24 crews involved in “Tidal Wave,” and the German and Romanian enemy defending the oil refineries of Ploesti. It is written from
interviews with the folks that were actually there, and the story so great and compelling it should be made into a movie.
Since I am still reading the second book, here is what I know so far.
- He was the worlds leading air-gunnery theoretician and mathmetician.
- He was washed out of RAF pilot training, because he questioned his instructors dogma’s (Sounds like my Marine son).
- Transferred to bombers as a gunner, he announced that gunnery training was unrealistic.
- He proved his own theories were better, in fifty night time raids over Germany
- The RAF, tired of his questioning their methods, basically sent him to the British form of “Siberia,” which was Benghazi in the African desert as a gunnery instructor.
- He trained the American gunners for the raid on Ploesti, flew with Norman Appold in G.I. Ginnie, and is credited with not only saving many other crews but his own, with his expert gunnery.
REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: I have searched far and wide for a Biography or obit on Barwell, but have come up empty handed. If you have any sources, information or links that can help tell the career of this man, I will advertise your name, blog or site on my blog.
Low Level Mission, By Leon Wolff
PLOESTI, By James Dugan & Caroll Stewart