Local WW2 airmen recognized

Two local veterans of the Second World War were honoured for their contributions by Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl last week.

Bernie McNicholl stands by the tailgun of his Halifax heavy bomber.

Two local veterans of the Second World War were honoured for their contributions by Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl last week.

Flying Officer Dave Barrett and Warrant Officer 2 Bernie McNicholl were presented Bomber Command honours for their service in Bomber Command Operations.

“I’m very proud to have the privilege of recognizing the heroic service of Flying Officer Dave Barrett and Warrant Officer 2 Bernie McNicholl.” Strahl added, “The courage and dedication of the brave Canadians who served in Bomber Command played a significant role in securing victory for the Allies in the Second World War.”

The Bomber Command honour, in the form of a bar to be worn on the ribbon of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, was created by the government to honour the approximately 50,000 Canadians who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Bomber Command operations over occupied Europe. It was one of the country’s most significant contributions to the Second World War effort.

Barrett was a pilot on Mosquito Bombers serving with the “Pathfinders”. These crew members went ahead of the main bomber squadrons on missions to light up the target areas so that the bomb aimers could spot them from a high altitude.

“It is a great honour to receive recognition through the Bomber Command Bar award to my Canadian Service Medal. This award kindles the memories of my fallen comrades and of those who have since passed away in the intervening years,” said Barrett.

McNicholl was a rear gunner on a Halifax heavy bomber where he completed 38 operations over enemy territory at a time when the survival rate in Bomber Command was extremely low. Those who served in Bomber Command faced harrowing odds. Nearly half of all aircrew never made it to the end of their tour.

McNicholl said he accepted the honour in memory of his comrades, “This recognition of the bravery and sacrifice of all members of Bomber Command is indeed gratifying.”