World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ralph Barker

 

Ralph Barker

Ralph Hammond Cecil Barker (born 21 October 1917 in Feltham, Middlesex; died 16 May 2011) was an English non-fiction author with over twenty-five books to his credit. He wrote mainly about the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Air Force (RAF) operations in the First and Second World Wars, and about cricket.

Life and career

He was educated at Hounslow College, and on leaving school joined the Sporting Life in 1934. Subsequently he went into banking. He had started writing, and several of his sketches were used in West End revues.

Following the outbreak of World War II, in 1940 he joined the RAF as a wireless operator and air gunner. He flew with Nos. 47 and 39 squadrons on torpedo missions against Axis ships bringing supplies to Rommel's forces in the Western Desert in North Africa. These missions, from bases in Malta and North Africa, led to heavy losses amongst the Bristol Beaufort aircraft carrying them out. Barker's time in this theatre of war was ended by a crash in which his pilot and navigator died. He returned to Britain, and switched to flying transport aircraft.[1] He completed two thousand flying hours before he was demobilized in 1946.

He briefly went back to banking, before going into civil aviation as a radio operator. At the end of 1948, he rejoined the RAF and went to Germany as a public relations officer in connection with the Berlin Airlift. He spent two years in service broadcasting at BFN Hamburg. He was then posted to the Air Ministry to work on official war narratives.

His first book, Down in the Drink, was published in 1955, the first of many on the subject of military aviation. Barker left the RAF in 1961 in order to write full-time. He was a frequent contributor of feature articles to the Sunday Express.

He turned to cricket writing in 1964, with Ten Great Innings. John Arlott, reviewing Ten Great Bowlers, its follow-up, described Barker as "a master of the reconstruction of past cricket matches". His most substantial book on cricket is a history of Tests between England and Australia, published in 1969, which included a report of every match and a summary of each series. The statistics were provided by Irving Rosenwater.

Barker played regularly for the RAF's cricket club, the Adastrians, and subsequently for several clubs in Surrey, including West Surrey, whom he captained for a number of years.

Bibliography

Cricket

  • Ten Great Innings (1964)
  • Ten Great Bowlers (1967)
  • England Versus Australia: Test Cricket 1877-1968 (with Irving Rosenwater) (1969)
  • Cricketing Family Edrich (1976)
  • Innings of a Lifetime, 1954-77 (1982)
  • Purple Patches (1987)

Aviation

  • Down in the Drink (1955)
  • The Ship-Busters: The Story of the R.A.F. Torpedo-Bombers (1957)
  • Strike Hard, Strike Sure: Epics of the Bombers (1963)
  • The Thousand Plan: The Story of the First Thousand Bomber Raid on Cologne (1965)
  • Great Mysteries of the Air (1966)
  • Verdict on a Lost Flyer: Story of Bill Lancaster (1969)
  • The Schneider Trophy Races (1971)
  • Torpedo Bomber (1973)
  • The Blockade Busters (1976)
  • Survival in the Sky (1976)
  • The Hurricats (1978)
  • Royal Air Force at War (Epic of Flight Series) (1982)
  • The Royal Flying Corps in France: From Mons to the Somme (History & Politics) (1994)
  • The Royal Flying Corps in France: From Bloody April 1917 To Final Victory (1995)
  • A Brief History of the Royal Flying Corps in World War One (Brief Histories) (2002)
  • Men of the Bombers: Remarkable Incidents in World War II (2005)

Other subjects

  • The Last Blue Mountain (1959)
  • Against the Sea: True Stories of Survival and Disaster (1972)
  • One Man's Jungle: A Biography of F. Spencer Chapman, D.S.O. (1975)
  • Goodnight, Sorry for Sinking You: Story of S. S. "City of Cairo" (1984)
  • Children of the "Benares": A War Crime and Its Victims (1987)

Notes

References

  • Ralph Barker & Irving Rosenwater, England v Australia: A compendium of Test cricket between the countries 1877-1968, Batsford, 1969, ISBN 0-7134-0317-9. Biographical information on Barker is given on the dust-jacket.
  • giving biographical information
  • Obituary of Ralph Barker, The Daily Telegraph, 20 June, 2011

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.