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William George Barker, VC

Canadians in Flight

Stamp Info

Name Value
Date of Issue March 27, 2019
Year 2019
Quantity 450,000
Series Canadians in Flight
Series Time Span 2019
Postal Administration Canada

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Interesting Details

The William Barker, VC, Official First Day Cover was issued with a typo. In the French text, the date reads 1984-1930, when in fact it should be 1894-1930.


Booklet of 10 Stamps

Quantity Produced - 200,000
Original Price: $9.00
Perforation: Simulated perforation
Dimension: 40 mm x 32 mm
Printer: Lowe-Martin
Printing Process: Lithography in 5 colours
Gum Type: Pressure sensitive
Tagging: General tagging, four sides
Paper: Tullis Russell

Pane of 5 Stamps

Quantity Produced - 50,000
Original Price: $4.50
Perforation: 13+
Dimension: 160 mm x 180 mm
Printer: Lowe-Martin
Printing Process: Lithography in 5 colours
Gum Type: PVA
Tagging: General tagging, four sides
Paper: Tullis Russell

Official First Day Cover (Set of 5)

Quantity Produced - 7,000
Original Price: $9.50

Official First Day Cover (William George Barker)

Quantity Produced - 1,500
Cancellation Location: Dauphin MB
Original Price: $1.90

About Stamp

Born in a log cabin near Dauphin, Manitoba, William George Barker, VC, was a First World War pilot with the Royal Air Force who became (and remains) the most decorated member of the military in the history of Canada and the British Empire. For his wartime deeds and bravery, including 50 aerial victories in more than 900 hours of combat, Barker received the Distinguished Service Order (twice), the Military Cross (three times), the Croix de Guerre and the Medaglia d’Argento al Valor Militare (twice). He was awarded the Victoria Cross for downing four German planes during his final fight over France in October 1918, despite being vastly outnumbered and falling in and out of consciousness from his wounds.

Back in Canada after the war, Barker and fellow flying ace Billy Bishop formed Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes Limited, one of Canada’s first commercial air services. In a round-trip aerial race from Toronto to New York in 1919, Barker became the first Canadian pilot to carry international airmail. In 1921, he became the first to fly commercial cargo between the United States and Canada. Barker was appointed the first president of the Toronto Maple Leafs® by the hockey team’s founder (and fellow Flying Corps member) Conn Smythe. His last, solo dogfight became an instant legend inspiring writers for decades to come.  He is a named character in Ernest Hemingway’s 1936 short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

About Stamp Series

For millennia, we have looked skyward, longing to break the bonds of the earth to soar among the clouds. Canada has had its share of pioneers who bravely reached for the skies when flight was in its infancy or who used their gifts and vision to create new and better ways to fly. This stamp issue, designed by Ivan Novotny of Taylor|Sprules Corporation, celebrates three individuals and two aircraft that took Canadian aviation to new heights.


Design: Ivan Novotny, Taylor|Sprules Corporation. Photos: Stamp – Library and Archives Canada; background – Royal Air Force; Air Review, Sopwith: The Man and His Aircraft, 1970.

Similar Stamps


Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamp Details, March 2019, Volume XXVIII NO 3.

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