Air Force Hercules flypast for funeral service of World War Two aviator

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A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules will conduct a flypast of over Sutherland on Friday, 8 March as part of a funeral service for veteran pilot Flying Officer Eric Barton DFC.

The aircraft will fly over the South Chapel of the Woronora Crematorium in Sutherland at 2pm. It will then conduct a second flypast at 2.05pm. The aircraft will fly at an altitude of no lower than 75 metres.

Please note that this flypast is subject to variables including weather, operational availability, and air traffic control; and may be subject to cancellation at short notice. 

Born on 23 March 1923, Eric Barton grew up in the Sutherland and St George area, and joined the RAAF in 1942 at the age of 18.

He served as a pilot on the four-engine Avro Lancaster bomber, flying 45 missions over German Occupied Europe including Operation Manna, the mission to deliver food and supplies amidst to relieve a famine in the Netherlands during the final days of World War Two.

During one mission against German battleships in Norway, his aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters. Showing great skill, FLGOFF Barton brought leading him to bring his aircraft and seven crew safely home with only two engines operable. For his efforts, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by King George VI.

Discharging from the Air Force in December 1945, Flying Officer Barton studied accountancy, gained his commercial pilot’s licence, and worked in animal health. He was a founding member of the Bomber Command Association in Australia, as well as the Pathfinders NSW Association, of which he served as President.

Flying Officer Barton passed away on 28 February 2019, age 95 years.

The C-130J Hercules conducting the flypast on Friday is operated by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, who maintain a strong connection with the Bomber Command Association, and the Pathfinders.

Different variants of the Hercules have been operated by the RAAF since December 1958, and today the RAAF’s C-130J Hercules workforce continues to support Defence operations into tough environments around the world, as well as providing humanitarian assistance and supporting disaster relief efforts.

File imagery of Flying Officer Eric Barton is available from the Defence Image Gallery, as is a file image of the Hercules.

Information on aircraft noise and current flying activities is available at, or by calling 1300 DEFENCE (1300 333 362)