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Lt. Col. Billy Barker immortalized with bronze statue

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The newly renovated CN Park is sporting a new statue, as “Courage”, the statue of Lt. Col. William (Billy) Barker VC, was unveiled, Sept. 29.
The statue of the Dauphin-born, most decorated air serviceman in Canadian history, was unveiled by sculptor Charlie Johnston of C5 Artworks and local veteran Wally Robson.
“Barker earned more decorations for courage and heroism than the more famed Billy Bishop,” explained Mayor Eric Irwin.
“This unfathomable display of courage and sacrifice for our country is deserved of a lasting recognition, one that will stand the test of time and keep the memory of this hero alive.”
In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday and one day before the 100th anniversary of Barker flying his first aircraft, his bronze likeness was revealed to a large crowd at CN Park.
Barker won the Victoria Cross in 1918 after registering 50 combat victories. He was buried in Toronto, 1930.
The unveiling ceremony included MLA for Dauphin Brad Michaleski, MLA for St. Norbert and Special Envoy for Military Affairs Jon Reyes, Chair of the Air Cadet League of Canada (Manitoba) retired Col. Douglas McLennan, director of the Air Cadet League of Canada (Manitoba) for the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Bill Zuk and Nell Chapen, speaking on the behalf of Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa MP Robert Sopuck.
A replica Camel Sopwith aircraft, owned by Bill Karras was on display at the unveiling, as well.
Courage is the fifth bronze statue to be installed in Dauphin, as part of a project to erect several statues around the community celebrating its history and naming the principles the community has been built on.
The true-to-life monument of Barker is the second bronze war memorial created by Johnston, who is responsible for the Andrew Mynarski VC bronze in Vimy Park in Winnipeg.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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