Flight Lieutenant (Retired) Phil Barrett, CD
The last of the originals has passed away.
Phil Barrett joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Fire Service in 1941 when it was first being formed. He was on one of the two courses held by the Ontario Fire Marshal's office.He served at various sites during the war reaching Fire Chief and after the war wound up at the RCAF Fire Marshal's office in Ottawa. He was among the first firefighters to be commissioned and held various posts as a Command Fire Marshal and an Assistant Air Force Fire Marshal (AFFM) .
He had a strong sense of what was right and what was wrong. In fact this was the reason he retired from the CAF before he reached his mandatory retirement age.
The new Canadian Forces Fire Marshal (CFFM) told him he was being posted as the assistant to a civilian Command Fire Marshal (CFM) so he could support him in a job that otherwise he would not be able to handle. Phil asked if he had any choice and was told "No". He knew this was wrong so immediately took his release. He had no trouble finding a job as the Fire Prevention Officer for the Western region of the Dept of Penitentiaries.
When Phil retired from Government service he moved up to the interior of British Columbia. He built a world class transmitter and receiver. During the early days of Glasnost he was the only contact between Latvia through a Latvian wireless buff, and the outside world. Phil passed a running account to the Americans.
Phil suffered three great disappointments in his life. Two were the loss of two of his sons, one was particularly bitter when his 14 year old was knocked into a ditch in Richmond, drowned and Phil was the one who found him during the search. The third was leaving the RCAF.