Memorial book in honour of Sheffield airman

Sheffield airman Ivor Barker one of  nine prisoners at Palembang who were beheaded at the end of war by the Japanese.
Sheffield airman Ivor Barker one of nine prisoners at Palembang who were beheaded at the end of war by the Japanese.
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Tireless efforts to create a memorial to a Sheffield airman executed by the Japanese have finally paid off - 68 years after his death.

Ivor Barker, a petty officer air gunner in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, is believed to have been executed in August 1945, days after the Japanese had officially surrendered.

Ivor, aged 21, grew up in Intake and Gleadless, and went to High Storrs School, Ecclesall, but his name is absent from war memorials at Gleadless and the school.

His niece Sandra Smith, 69, who lives in Dereham, Norfolk, believed her uncle’s name was not included on the memorials because his mother ‘lived in the hope’ he was alive.

His family had been told he was missing presumed dead after his plane was shot down in a raid on Japanese oil refineries at Palembang, on Sumatra, in January 1945.

Ivor was one of nine British who survived and were taken prisoner - only to be executed.

His name is on a memorial dedicated to the ‘Palembang nine’ at St Bartholomew’s Church in Yeovilton, where the Fleet Air Arm museum is based.

But Sandra raised the issue of a Sheffield memorial almost a year ago in The Star.

She said: “Coverage of Ivor’s story brought forth many kind comments from readers which meant a lot to the Barker family.

“Sheffield Council officers and other members of the community have worked tirelessly to create a fitting tribute to Ivor and other World War II service personnel lost in the conflict.”

Sandra was told the Gleadless war memorial is only for First World War veterans - but a roll of honour book has been made available in Christ Church, Gleadless.

Sandra said: “The book will be to commemorate the lives of service personnel who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

She is appealing for other families who had relatives killed in wartime to put names forward for the book.
■ Include first name, surname, regiment, rank, service number, conflict, relevant dates, honours and any other relevant information - plus a certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commissions website - and send to Stradbroke Community Centre, Richmond Road, Sheffield, S13 8LT, by November 30.