Robert Raymond Smith Barry, Pioneer Pilot

Royal Flying Corps BE8a

Royal Flying Corps BE8a

101 years ago this month,¬†Robert Raymond SmithBarry, heir to Fota, left his base at Gosport and set off on his journey across the channel to France as the solo pilot in a BE2a like the one shown above. He was a member of no. 5 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. An experienced pilot, he had been flying since 1912. On this channel crossing pilots carried with them revolvers, maps, binoculars, spare goggles, a roll of tools, boiled water in a bottle, a small stove, and a haversack of biscuits, cold beef, chocolate and soup powder. The journey was not a direct one and no. 5 Squadron made their way to Shoreham, then Dover, then to Boulogne and from there to Mauberge. For Robert SmithBarry an eventful 4 years of war had begun …