Rank & Name: S/L Neville Barson DFC - RAAF then to RCAF
Date of Death: 12.08.1954

It is unknown at this stage whether S/L Barson had risen to this rank whilst with 59 Squadron (his memorial on the Canadian Honour Roll makes mention of him flying with 52 Sqn for two years, which may have been after his time with 59 or just an error) but he certainly had by the time of his discharge from the RAAF on the 20th of March 1946 and was last attached to 7th Aircraft Depot (RAAF Tocumwal Station). According to the book Endurance by Alwyn Jay (120 Sqn), Neville had reached the rank of S/L with 59 when he left the squadron in Dec of 1943. After the war Neville returned to Saskatoon in Canada were he had trained prior to placement in Britain with his wife (Mary) and joined the RCAF on the 30th June 1949. He was attached to No. 406 "City of Saskatoon" (Light Bomber) Squadron when he was killed in an aircrash during a heavy storm in 1954.

Liberator crew - Barson

(Back LR): P/O Massina, Sgt Bailey, Sgt Pilon, P/O Lees (Front LR): F/O Blair, F/O Barson, F/O Longmuir: made one of the first 59 Sqn attacks (causing damages) for which the U-Boat (U-223) has been confirmed, on 01/03/1943 in Flying Fortress FL463 - D/59. At this time the squadron were detached to RAF Chivenor for patrols in the Bay of Biscay.


Prior to the breakout of war he had worked as a clerk at the well established firm Blake & Riggall Solicitors in Melbourne. He first enlisted on the 24th Jan. 1939 and joined the army, being posted to 2nd FD COY (2nd Field Company of the Australia Engineers) with the army number - VE292739. On the 19th of Dec 1939 he was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal. On the 14th of Sept 1940 he was discharged from the army upon enlistment in the RAAF.


Aug. 12, 1954 - A B-25 Mitchell from Saskatoon's 406 (Auxiliary) Squadron crashed during a night-time hailstorm near Simpson, roughly halfway between Regina and Saskatoon. All three crewmen aboard the bomber were killed: pilot S/L Neville Barson, co-pilot F/L Frank Klassen and radio operator F/O Victor Loewen. So fierce was the late evening hailstorm that many crops in the area were wiped out; there was speculation that the aircraft was hit by lightning. The downed Mitchell, which had been flying from Regina to Saskatoon, left a crater 20 feet deep. (Source: "Three RCAF officers die in bomber carsh", The Leader-Post, Aug. 13, 1954.) All three officer left wives and children; Barson was an Australian who had trained during the Second World War at Saskatoon, married and returned there after the war.



Neville on leave with his crew - (photo album of H.R. Longmuir)


Further Information

S/L Barson:

- is honoured on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (see below) due to issues with linking to memorial pages on this site, I have included some of the information below with a link to the memorial main page. You will need to manually search for S/L Barson's page.

- is honoured on the Australian Nominal Roll

- Received a DFC

Taken from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (www.vac-acc.gc.ca)

In memory of
Squadron Leader NEVILLE BARSON
who died on August 12, 1954
Simpson, Saskatchewan, Canada

Military Service:

Service Number: 130253
Age: 33
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 406 "City of Saskatoon" (Light Bomber) Squadron
Citation: Distinguished Flying Cross, Canadian Forces Decoration, 1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star and Rosette, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal and Pilots Badge - Czechoslovak Air Force awarded by Air Vice Marshall Janousêk, Minister for Air Czechoslovak Government in England 1943.

Additional Information:

Date of Birth: January 7, 1921
Broken Hill, Australia

Date of Enlistment: June 30, 1949
Montreal, Québec, Canada

Son of George and Lilian Mary (nee Betts) Barson of Kew, Victoria, Australia. Husband of Mary (nee Thoburn) and father of Murray, James, Margaret and Rhoda of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Squadron Leader Barson joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in September 1940 and trained in Canada and flew operationally in Canada and the United Kingdom. He served 2 years with No. 52 Squadron in the United Kingdom.


Mary Barson:

Taken from The Argus (Melbourne newspaper) - Monday 30th of april 1945

"Mrs Fox and Mrs Neville Barson, who is living with her husband's family at Kew, agreed that Melbourne women were a race of knitters. In Canada the women knitted, but they did not knit in
trams, in trains, and at every opportunity as here, where most women seemed to have some kind of knitting "on the go." (ndpbeta.nla.gov.au)

Photo (with wife Mary) in the book "Our Splendid RAAF" published by Australian Women's Weekly 1945

City Grammer School - The Holly Guild: Mary Barson mentioned as a teacher (A.T.S) - www.omnesamici.co.uk

Rest In Peace