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Executed Sheffield airman is remembered at last

rossparry.co.uk/David Parry  Airman Ivor Barker one of Palembang nine prisoners who were beheaded at the end of war by the Japanese. A campaign has been mounted to have his name on the war memorial near to his home in Sheffield

rossparry.co.uk/David Parry Airman Ivor Barker one of Palembang nine prisoners who were beheaded at the end of war by the Japanese. A campaign has been mounted to have his name on the war memorial near to his home in Sheffield

The family of a Sheffield World War Two hero, beheaded by the Japanese, has won a battle to have his name added to war memorials in his home city – 67 years after he was killed.

Ivor Barker, a petty officer air gunner in the Royal Navy, 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, in Ecclesall, but his name is absent from war memorials at Gleadless and at the school.

His niece Sandra Smith, 69, has fought for over a year to get her uncle’s name included on the memorials.

“I’m so pleased that, after all these years, Ivor’s name will finally sit where it belongs,” said Sandra.

“We believe his name was missed off because his family was 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.

“My grandmother could never accept he was dead and always lived in the hope that he would return home one day.”

It was in 2006 that claims finally emerged from surviving veterans that Ivor and others – ‘the Palembang nine’ – had survived the battle but were held captive by the Japanese before being executed.

Sandra, who lives in Dereham, Norfolk, began campaigning for Ivor’s name to be added to the memorial in 2012 and praised Sheffield Council as ‘instrumental’ in making it happen.

Ivor’s best friend, 90-year-old Norman Richardson, will make the journey from his home in Surrey on March 16 to lay the wreath at the memorial at 10.15am as part of a service in Ivor’s honour, to include a two-minute silence, at Christ Church, Hollinsend.

 

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