William George “Billy” Barker
William George “Billy” Barker (3 November 1894 – 12 March 1930) was a Canadian ace and recipient of the Victoria Cross, as well as several other awards. With his 50 victories, he became the most decorated military figure in Canadian history.
Barker honed his skills along the Western Front in 1916-17, becoming notable for his aggressiveness and excellent marksmanship, though he suffered through several flying accidents and was not known for his aviation skills.
Moving to the Italian Front (1917-18), Barker’s reputation of ignoring orders and flying many unofficial missions cost him a promotion to Commanding Officer of 28 Squadron. Later in that campaign, he would become Squadron Commander of 139 Squadron and score several kills flying the Bristol Fighter.
Having flown more than 900 combat hours in two and a half years, Barker was transferred back to the UK in September 1918. Barker returned to Canada in May 1919 as the most decorated Canadian of the war.
He died in 1930 when he lost control of his Fairchild KR-21 biplane trainer during a demonstration flight for the RCAF.