Date of Birth. 1912
Place of Birth Millbrook Southampton.
Service Number 1189038
Rank Sergeant Pilot.
Service RAF VR
Squadron 9th Bomber Command.
Died 23rd April 1942.
Death Location South of Roosendaal.Holland.
Life Before The War.
Owen Cicero Charles Barnes was born to Ernest and Mary in 1912.
Owens’ father was Ernest Owen Barnes born May 1885 in Millbrook Southampton. From 1901 to 1904 the family were registered at 6 Alma Road Freemantle Southampton his parents were Charles (1860) a Gardener and Jane (Ann nee Dear 1861) he had 2 brothers William (1887 – 1971) and Reginald (1894) he also had 2 sisters Bertha (1890) and Beatrice (1891 – 1982), Ernest is shown as being a Tailors Apprentice.
In the census of 1911 Ernest along with his mother and father a Gardener, sister Bertha a milliner and brother Reginald a Tailors Apprentice was registered at Ivy Dene, 108 Paynes Road,Southampton and Ernest was a Tailors Cutter.
Owens’ mother was Mary E Baxter born in 1890, Charles and Mary married in 1911 in Southampton and following Marys’ death in July 1913 Charles married Rosabella Calloway in July 1915 in Southampton.
Owen Cicero Charles attended the King Edward VI Independent School in Southampton from 19th September 1923 until 4th April 1928, he was in Sylvester House.
In 1928 they were living at 57 Richmond Road. Southampton .Rosabella died on 5th December 1928 in Southampton her probate went to Charles.
Kellys directories show Owens address from 1936 as being 31 Janson Road.Shirley Southampton, his father Ernest was also registered there and he was registered as a Tailor. Ernest continued to live at this address until 1954.
Owens father Ernest died in 1967 at Droxford in Hampshire.
Owen joined the RAF voluntary reserve and served as a Sergeant Pilot in the 9 Squadron Bomber Command flying Wellington X3638 out of RAF Honington.
He had already flown on 2 missions over Germany when on his third mission on the night of the 22nd April 1942 part of a flight of 69 aircraft – he left at 22.23pm along with 6 other crew – Pilot Officer A.M.Hale,Sergeant Armstrong,Sergeant Brenner,Sergeant McCrossan, Sergeant D.R.F Wellock and Sergeant Williams, they left on a mission to Koln in Germany.
They were taking part in a “blind” raid, the 1st raid where crews were ordered to release their bombs solely using the latest navigational aid and to ignore any ground detail. This was a test of the crews ability to work it efficiently under operational conditions, it was not possible to take photographs on this mission as it is reported that Cologne was completely covered in cloud.
In the early hours of 23rd April 1942 they were hit by German Flak, they attempted to return to England but crashed at Ottermere Farm 6km South of Roosendaal in Holland.
Of the crew of the Wellington Pilot Owen Barnes, Pilot Armstrong and Navigator Brener were killed, while McCrossan,Wellock,Williams and Hale were captured and became prisoners of war in Stalag Luft III.
There is detailed information about the mission, a map of the area , the blind flying technique and the crew on http://www.aircrewremembered.co.uk
Owen is remembered at the Bergen Op-Zoom Cemetary near the village of Wouw in Noord-Brabant The Netherlands, reference 3 C.3. Also on the Southampton Cenotaph.
On his death Owens probate of £541.6s.11p went to his father Ernest Owen Barnes.
Owen is entitled to the War Medal / 1939-1945 Star / Air Crew Europe Star.
Researched by Brenda White February 2014.
I would like to thank Cees Cuperus a member of a History and Geography Association from Wouw in Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands – the village where Owen is remembered and for also showing an interest in Owens’ history which I have agreed to share with him as he kindly shared the photograph of Owens headstone for our use. Also www.aircrewremembered.com for their support and their link.