Heritage Week in Hedley celebrates flying ace

Heritage week in Hedley will highlight one of its own, Butch Barton and the role the flying Ace filled in the Battle of Britain.

Butch Barton of Hedley was shot down at least once during WWII.

Butch Barton of Hedley was shot down at least once during WWII.

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Heritage week in Hedley will highlight one of its own, Butch Barton and the role the flying Ace filled in the Battle of Britain.

Andy English, a director with the Hedley Museum will pilot the one-hour talk Friday night.

“He was a very well respected flight commander,” English said of Barton, who died in September 2010.

“I got the chance to meet him a couple times when I first moved here he still lived here. He was great.”

Barton was born in Kamloops June 7, 1916.

At 19, he signed up for the Royal Air Force and was accepted at a recruiting office in Vancouver.

Barton served with the 249 Squadron during the Battle of Britain from May 15, 1940 to December 8, 1941. He became the commander of the unit in December 1940.

Barton saw a lot of action during his time with the air force.

He was shot down at least once during the Battle of Britain and he lived through an engine failure while flying a Hurricane in July 1941. He suffered serious burns and was hospitalized for several weeks.

Barton retired from the RAF in 1959. He spent between 20 to 25 years living in Hedley moving sometime in the 1990s for health reasons.

In addition to recounting Barton’s life, English will also provide some general details on the Battle of Britain.

“It’s the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this year,” he said.

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces and was the largest and most damaging aerial bombing mission of its time.

The German objective was to gain air superiority over the RAF.

“They had to outshoot the Germans and outlast them and they did,” English said. “For someone that lived through that it was just one of the most dramatic things in their lives.”

Also to celebrate Heritage Week a showing of the classic movie The Battle of Britain (1969) will be held at the Hedley Community Club starting at 7 p.m.

The movie is an historical reenactment of the air war in the early days of the Second World War, for control of the skies over Britain as the new Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force determine whether or not an invasion can take place. The outstanding cast includes Laurence Olivier, Trevor Howard, Patrick Wymark, Michael Caine, and Susannah York.

Both events are by donation.