Cyril Joe Barton, V.C. (5 June 1921 – 31 March 1944) was a Second World War Bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force who received the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth Armed Forces.
On the night of 30 March 1944, while flying in an attack on the city of Nuremberg in Germany, during the Battle of Berlin whilst 70 miles (110 km) from the target, Pilot Officer Barton's Handley Page Halifax bomber was badly shot-up in attacks by two Luftwaffe Junkers JU 88 and a Messerschmitt 210 resulting in two of its fuel tanks being punctured, both its radio and rear turret gun port being disabled, the Starboard inner engine being critically damaged and the internal intercom lines being cut. In a running battle, despite the attacks being persistent and determined, Barton as captain of the aircraft succeeded by good flying in throwing off and escaping his faster and more agile assailants. However, a misunderstanding in on-board communications in the aircraft at the height of the crisis resulted in three of the 7-man crew parachuting and bailing out, leaving Barton with no navigator, bombardier or wireless operator. Rather than turn back for England, he decided to press on with the mission, against the odds of further attacks in a semi-wrecked aircraft that was leaking fuel and handicapped by lack of a full crew. Arriving over the target, he released the bomb payload himself and then, as Barton turned the aircraft for home, its ailing starboard engine blew-up. Subsequently he nursed the damaged airframe over a four-and-a-half hour flight with no navigational assistance back across the hostile defences of Germany and occupied Europe, and across the North Sea? As LK797 crossed the English coast at dawn 90 miles to the north of its base its fuel ran out because of the battle damage leakage and, with only one engine still running on vapours, and at too low a height to allow a remaining crew bail-out by parachute, Barton crash-landed the bomber at the village of Ryhope, steering away in the final descent from the houses and coal pit-head workings. Barton was pulled from the wrecked aircraft alive but died of injuries sustained in the landing before he reached the hospital. The three remaining on-board members of the crew survived the forced landing. One local man, a miner, also died when he was struck by a piece of the aeroplane's wreckage during the impact of the crash.
After Barton's death his mother received a posthumous letter addressed to her from him containing the following passage: "I hope that you will never receive this letter, but I quite expect that you will. I know what "Ops." over Germany means, and I have no illusions about it. By my own calculations the average lifespan of an aircrew is twenty ops(operations). and we have 30 to do in our first tour. I'm Writing this for two reasons. One to tell you how I would like my money to be spent that I have left behind me; two to tell you how I feel about meeting my Maker. 1. I intended as you know, taking a university course with my savings. Well, I would like it to be spent over the education of my brothers and sisters. 2. All I can say about this is that I am quite prepared to die It holds no terror for me. At times I've wondered whether I've been right in believing what I do, and just recently I've doubted the veracity of the Bible, but in the little time I've had to sort out intellectual problems I've been left with a bias in favour of the Bible. Apart from this, though, I have the inner conviction as I write, of a force outside myself, and my brain tells me that I have not trusted in vain. All I am anxious about is that you and the rest of the family will also come to know Him. Ken, I know already does. I commend my Saviour to you. I am writing to Doreen separately. I expect you will have guessed by now that we are quite in love with each other. Well, that's covered everything now I guess, so love to Dad and all, Your loving son Cyril." The attack on Nuremberg was Barton's nineteenth sortie.
In a last letter to his younger brother shortly before his death, Barton wrote: "I am quite prepared to die, death hold no terrors for me. I have done nothing to merit glory."
For his actions in the attack on Nuremberg Barton was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in June 1944.
This is a Multi Cache. Please visit the War Memorial and find the numbers that are required to find the final cache.
The cache is hidden at:
A - 6th digit minus 2nd digit of Barton's service number.
B - 3rd digit of Barton's service number divided by 2.
C - 6th digit minus 5th digit of Barton's service number.
D - 5th digit minus 4th digit of Barton's service number.
E - 2nd digit of Barton's Squadron.
F - 1st digit of Barton's service number.
Checksum is 18.
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