It is very unusual for men to be identified in group photographs many years after the photographs were taken. However this is the case with Donald Barker, who can be seen (below right) in a cropped version of the large-scale photograph of 582 Squadron on VE Day.
The man on the left is a close friend, probably a member of the same crew. One theory is that his name was Bill Blackburn. However, the crew that Barker was flying with at the end of the war was as follows:
The two friends appear in the holiday photograph at the top of this page , and it is from this photograph that they have been identified.
Unfortunately, this is not a happy story. Donald survived the dangers of the war, having been in the RAF since 1942, only to drown whilst on holiday fourteen months after VE Day.
Dying in the year that he did, whilst still in the RAF, Donald is registered with the CWGC even though he is not a war casualty. This was standard practice – inclusion for the British memorial programme ran up to 31 December 1947.
He is remembered on a very poignant family grave.
Images of Donald Barker and the family grave: courtesy of Matt Barker