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James Fraser Barron

Portrait from The Weekly News; 4 October 1944 - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait from The Weekly News; 4 October 1944 - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Fraser AWMM
  • Surname
    Barron AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    J. Fraser Barron AWMM
  • Service number
    • NZ401749 AWMM
    • WWII 401749 AWMM
    • WWII 401749 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    9 January 1921 AWMM DunedinOtago AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mother: Mrs W. E. Barron of Palmerston South, Otago AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and bar (DSO*) AWMM
      DSO: NZ Gazette, 6 May 1944. Citation: "One night in February 1943, this officer was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. When nearing the target area his aircraft was held in a cone of searchlights and subjected to heavy fire from ground defences. Despite this, Flight Lieutenant Barron remained on his course, defying an intense and concentrated barrage and pressed home a successful attack on his second run over the target." (Haigh & Polaschek, p300) DSO Bar: NZ Gazette, 23 June 1944. Citation: "One night in May 1944, this officer participated in an attack on an airfield at Nantes. By his appreciation of the responsibilities entrusted to him and the skill and precision with which he executed his attack, Wing Commander Barron contributed in a large measure to the success achieved. Since being awarded the Distinguished Service Order, this officer has taken part in many attacks on dangerous and difficult targets. He is an outstanding captain whose example of skill, bravery and determination has impressed all." (Haigh & Polaschek, p300) AWMM
    • Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) AWMM
    • Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Air Crew Europe Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845607)
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Jul 1940 AWMM
    Age 19 AWMM
    Clerk AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • James Barron was the son of James Barron, and of Winifred Ellen Barron (nee Fraser), of Palmerston, Otago.

    Barron was one of 55 New Zealanders to join the Royal Air Force's Pathfinder Force (RAF PFF) in 1942.

    On one particular mission, Barron was flying a Stirling, one of the first four-engined aircraft, through appalling weather to raid the factories of the Ruhr. Long before they reached their target, their bomb circuit was wrecked by flak. This made it impossible to release the 5000lbs of bombs in the bomb-racks and only those under the wings could be dropped. On the flight back to Britain, deteriorating weather forced Barron to detour thousands of miles. The added distance, combined with the load of bombs created anxieties over fuel. Over the Channel Isles he discovered he had enough left for only ten more minutes' flying. Three of his engines cut out as he landed, without time for the customary circuit, at the first airport on England's southern coast. Every drop of fuel had gone. The flight had lasted nine hours and ten minutes. One minute or so more could have brought disaster.

    Barron was promoted to Wing Commander in February 1944. He took command of 7 Squadron, Pathfinder Force, RAF at this time.

    Barron described his crew as "the most wonderful chaps in the world." In a letter dated 6 March 1944, he wrote: "The only thing I was frightened of was that some day I would let them down and not be able to bring them home."

    He died on a raid at Le Mans, France.

    Attended Waitaki Boys' High School (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845607)) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    20 May 1944 AWMM
    Age 23 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Le Mans West Cemetery, Sarthe, France AWMM Plot 21. Row C. Joint grave 20. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of James Fraser Barron

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  • My mother served alongside Fraser Barron during WW2. In conversation with my mother, she often talked about Fraser, and recalled his character.

    My mother passed away in July 2021 aged 99. Her memory was remarkable and recounted many stories of her service at several airbases e.g. Mepal, Cranwell etc.

    May we in the British Isles never forget the men and women from countries far away that sacrificed their life, that we may live ours.

    I write this on behalf of my mother a comrade and friend of one of the bravest men she ever knew, James Fraser Barron.

    Public - Peter - 3 November 2023
  • A gentleman of great courage and honour.
    Public - Margaret (Rita) - Comrade - 13 November 2022



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  • External links
  • References
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1942). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 5 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1941 to 30 September, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • The Weekly News AWMM
      1944 AWMM
    • Thompson, H. (1956). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vols. 1-3). Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
    • Stowers, R. (2009). Bomber Barron: Wing Commander James Fraser Barron, DSO & Bar, DFC, DFM, Pathfinder Pilot. Hamilton, N.Z.: Author. AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ab - B. Archives New Zealand (R17845607) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [Missing - But Presumed Dead on Lapse of Time - Officers, Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845743) AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
21 January 2024PaulNottinghamResearcher
03 November 2023PeterClydebank ScotlandOther
13 November 2022Margaret (Rita)ScotlandComrade
28 February 2019KelvinNorfolk, EnglandResearcher
17 August 2016StephenAtherton, EnglandResearcher

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