Flight Lieutenant Denis John “Johnny” BARRETT

Photos - Robert Derbyshire

Johnny Barrett was born 23 November 1916 at Colombes, Seine (92), France, the son of William Henry Barrett and Helena Barrett (née Hogan), both of British nationality. Barrett’s father was a tailor who had moved to France and his two children, Johnny and his sister Joan, both took the nationality of their parents.  Barrett attended St. Sebastien School in Colombes from 1923 to 1928, then Montalembert College in Courbevoie until 1932 and the Harvey School in Paris from 1932 to 1934.  He was completely bilingual, a decent piano player and excelled at sports, listing tennis, athletics, skating, table tennis and hockey as his favourites.  He was a schoolboy international in hockey and became a member of the prestigious Sporting Club de France in Versailles.  Following in his father’s footsteps, he decided to train as a tailor and obtained employment in 1935 with Strachan and Hunt Ltd. of Hanover Square, one of London’s high-class tailors.  He worked with them as a salesman and stock-keeper and also preformed secretarial work, until the outbreak of war.  His parents had remained in France, but his sister had married and settled in Cheam, Surrey.

When war broke out, Barrett joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) and from October 1939 served as an interpreter for the RAF in Paris; his service number was 504897.  When France fell, he returned to Britain and continued to serve as an interpreter, including a spell in the Air Ministry, liaising with the Free French.  By the time of his volunteering for SOE, Barrett was a Sergeant and stationed as. ........[Remainder of case study is complete - contact author for further details].

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