The name of one of the Palembang nine added to local war memorial
The name of a navy airman who was executed by the Japanese in World War Two has been added to a Sheffield war memorial – 67 years after he was killed. A service of dedication has taken place at the memorial in Christ Church, Hollinsend, attended by members of Mr Barker's family and Ivor's old friend, former Telegraphist Air Gunner, 90-year-old Norman Richardson,who made the journey from his home in Surrey on March 16 2014.
Ivor Barker, a Petty Officer Telegraphist Air Gunner in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, is believed to have been executed aged 21 in August 1945, days after the Japanese had officially surrendered.
Ivor grew up in Intake and Gleadless, and went to High Storrs School, Ecclesall, but his name is absent from war memorials at Gleadless and the school. After leaving school, Ivor worked for a gentlemen’s outfitters on Castle Street, Sheffield, Wimpeys at Bottesford Aerodrome, Nottinghamshire, and a transport contractor before joining up.
Sandra Smith, 69, who lives in Dereham, Norfolk, believes her uncle’s name was not included on the memorials because his family had been told he was missing presumed dead after his plane was shot down in a raid on Japanese oil refineries at Palembang, on Sumatra, in January 1945.
Ivor’s mother ‘lived in the hope’ he was alive, Sandra said.
His name is inscribed on a memorial to nine people believed to have been killed at Palembang, at St Bartholomew’s Church in Yeovilton, where the Fleet Air Arm museum is based, and a naval memorial at Lee-on-Solent.
Sandra said: “The only reason I can offer for his parents not advising those responsible for memorials at Gleadless and High Storrs is that my grandmother would not accept he was dead and always lived in the hope that he would return home one day.”
The 'Palembang Nine' was a group of nine men from the Royal Navy British Pacific Fleet. The men were either pilots or crew members of the HMS Victorious, the HMS Illustrious or the HMS Indomitable.
Claims emerged from surviving war veterans that a number of airmen survived the raid on the Palembang oil refineries and were held captive by the Japanese before being executed. The number of men is generally held to be by nine but research by the NZ FAA museum has cast doubt on this figure indicating it may be twelve.
The names of the 'Palembang Nine' on the plaque in the FAA museum are
Lt. John Haberfield (below)- Pilot from 1839 Fighter Squadron (HMS Indomitable)
Lt. Evan John Baxter - Pilot from 1833 Fighter Squadron (HMS Illustrious)
S/Lt. Reginald James Shaw - Pilot from 1833 Fighter Squadron (HMS Illustrious)
Lt. Kenneth Morgan Burrenston - Crew from 849 TBR Squadron (HMS Victorious)
S/Lt. John Robert Burns - Crew from 849 TBR Squadron (HMS Victorious)
S/Lt. Donald V Roebuck - Crew from 849 TBR Squadron (HMS Victorious)
S/Lt. William Edwin Lintern - Crew from 849 TBR Squadron (HMS Victorious)
Petty Officer Ivor Barker - Crew from 849 TBR Squadron (HMS Victorious)
Petty Officer J S McRae - Crew from 849 TBR Squadron (HMS Victorious)