Squadron Leader James Barnes

Book Public Speaker James Barnes

Dorking, UK
My Fee Ranges

About Squadron Leader James Barnes

Squadron Leader Jim Barnes RAF Ret’d

Jim Barnes started his RAF service by studying electronics for three years in radar and wireless and was then commissioned into the flying branch.  He flew for five years as an Air Electronics Officer on 617 (Dambusters) squadron with the Avro Vulcan aircraft, met Barnes Wallis and has researched the dams raid. He was then seconded to the Army for three years with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards as a Forward Air Controller supporting the army with NATO jets from his armoured Ferret Scout Car.  Returning to the Royal Air Force he flew for five years in his second cold war bomber the Handley Page Victor on in flight air to air refuelling operations.  Finally, he became an RAF specialist in Electronic Warfare – the technology to detect and jam radar systems. His latter career was in marketing and he was a Marketing Director at GEC Marconi in IT systems.

Jim has experience of speaking engagements on cruise lines, U3A, Rotary, & Probus clubs, Zonta and various venues for St Catherine’s Hospice.   Jim has a wealth of aviation knowledge and speaks on subjects from Chinese lanterns to space technology.  What he does welcome are aviation stories and experiences from the audience which always adds to the presentation and his knowledge.


My Specialist Subjects


Jim Barnes Expanded Talk Explanation
1. The Peoples' Vulcan Bomber - in readiness for action
Jim Barnes relates the story of how the iconic Vulcan bomber came to be one of Britain’s greatest technical achievements, how it was going to be used in the Cold War and the challenge of getting the Vulcan back into the air for air shows. There is also the Vulcan’s participation in the Falklands war. Jim illustrates his talk with video clips and some unique slides.

2. Women at War, that superior race! - Those Magnificent Women in their Flying Machines.
Come and listen to Aviation Historian Jim Barnes tell the story of how some very courageous and talented women contributed to the two worlds wars. Jim compares the success of the Air Transport Auxiliary women with the unhappy story of the Women’s Air Service Pilots and how women became expert in flying and instructing on fighters and bombers like the Spitfire and Lancaster – yes superior to men!

3. When I met the Dambusters and Barnes Wallis – the Dams Raid.
Aviation Historian Jim Barnes started his flying career on 617 (Dambusters Squadron) and met Barnes Wallis and a number of the Dambusters. The presentation describes this most remarkable British engineer who designed Airships, a bouncing bomb and heavy precision bombs in World War Two before designing swing wing aircraft. Jim has researched the Dams raid and met with the Barnes Wallis family.

4. Destination Falklands - Air to Air refuelling development and the Handley Page Victor Tanker.
The history of Air to Air refuelling in the early 1900’s to the Falkland conflict and the remarkable story of getting a Vulcan Bomber to Port Stanley and back is the subject of Aviation Historian Jim Barnes’s talk. Jim relates from his five years spent on air to air refuelling operations with the Handley Page Victor and where air to air refuelling started. The Falklands Victor refuelling was the greatest transfer of fuel by the most sophisticated Cold War aircraft and the longest Cold War bomber in RAF service.

5. Fascinating Tales from Balloons, Barnstormers, famous British and German Pilots who developed the fighter.
So where did aviation start? Aviation Historian Jim Barnes tells the story of balloons to the pioneering work of the German Air Force and Royal Flying Corps 100 years ago. The talk includes development of what was a new element in 1914 – the aeroplane and the new dimension ‘Air Power’ what was Great Britain’s and Germany’s achievement? Much has been written but we look at the most interesting stories of men and their machines.

6. The mysterious disappearance of Amy and Amelia - Women in Aviation - they're better than men!
There can be no doubt that women have made a big impact on aviation. Aviation Historian Jim Barnes looks at the way women made world news and innovation in the story of flying. Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart to the Red Arrows bring that ‘superior race’ into why they are better than men and the many ‘firsts’ they achieved in the air and in engineering as women in aviation.

7. Great Britain – we invented the Jet engine and led the world in Aviation
Jim Barnes traces the all British invention of the jet engine by Sir Frank Whittle and how we showed the world the first airliners and became early industry leaders in aviation which further led us to some exceptional developments in propulsion. We take a look at Britain’s latest invention which will take you anywhere in the world in less than four hours: lunch in Sydney, anyone?

8. So how did we get into flying and where are we now? Anecdotes for cruisers
Aviation Historian Jim Barnes presents the development of flight from 400 BC, Sam Cody’s first Army aeroplane, aircraft which were world beaters to Concorde and the space race. He also reveals the latest plans for high speed travel and living on Mars.


Cruise Report D1720 - score 4 out of 5 -Jim is such a big character and has a wealth of knowledge also targeting a female audience his talks cover topics very close to the British hearts: Vulcan bomber, Damn busters, Women Spitfire pilots etc. L1703 Scored 4 out of 5:Jim really looks the part, he presents great talks in his RAF flight suit, which sparks interest before he's even started. He has an impressive knowledge of the aviation industry which was very much appreciated by audiences, showing in the continual good turn out for his talks. Cruise Report L1626 Scored 4 out of 5 Jim is a first class speaker who always had a full lounge and kept those figures even in good weather. Cruise Report D1325: A very good speaker, the subject of aviation history was of great interest to our guests this cruise, Jim presented his talks very well.

Fred Olsen Cruises

Clients I've Worked For

  • Fred Olsen P & O SAGA Cruise Maritime

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