Canada honors WWI hero
September 23, 2011
The most decorated war hero in Canadian history finally gets the recognition he deserves. On Thursday, a ceremony was held in Toronto to dedicate a monument to the heroic pilot from the First World War, The Montreal Gazette reports.
Lieutenant Colonel William Barker took down 50 fifty enemy planes during WWI. His most heroic feat was during a famous dogfight where he faced 15 German planes, was shot three times, and lived to tell the tale. For his efforts, the Royal Canadian Air Force awarded him the Victoria Cross, which is the highest honor that can be bestowed to a soldier. Under Barker's command, no pilots or planes ever fell at the enemy's hand.
"He had 50,000 people at his funeral, was able to start the island airport, had the first commercial airline...[was] the first president of the Toronto Maple Leafs and he's buried in a crypt that says Smith, and no one knows who he is," John Wright, the man who suggested Barker's monument, told the Winnipeg Free Press.
Now, a granite monument with a bronze propeller marks his grave, so no one can forget his heroic contributions to the First World War.