Born: United Kingdom
Primarily active in: Australia
T.B. Barney O'Shea was a former U.K. Army Brigade Sergeant Major and Warrant Officer Air who went on to create the AHS Australia Chapter. He lived a storied life which he once remarked "could not have been better laid out if set up by a computer."
At age 14 1/2 he joined the Arborfield Army Apprentices School in the U.K. He went on to serve in Sudan, Singapore, Malaysia, Cyprus, Germany and elsewhere—25 countries in all. He was assigned by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the corps that provides the technicians and organization to support all arms of the British Army, as one of the 15 aircraft senior technicians to introduce helicopters into Royal Army Air Corps. Helicopters came to be one of Barney's great loves. He went on to serve as an engineer of the U.K.'s first all helicopter reconnaissance flight and help establish organisations worldwide to support British Army Aviation. He was also assigned as engineer officer for the Royal Marines Commando Brigade Aircraft Squadron, made up of Sioux and Scouts, which was the first army squadron to operate from a commando aircraft carrier. Later Barney served as Warrant Officer Air for the British Army's Headquarters Far East, during which he was responsible for the evaluation, standards, maintenance planning and supervision of more than 100 helicopters in 20 different locations. He went on to assist in the establishment of the Australian Army Aviation Corp's organization and training programs. Retiring from the British Army in 1974, Barney settled in Australia where he became a senior technical teacher for Victoria's Education Department and served as a Royal Australian Air Force Reserve Officer. He later became a guest lecturer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a freelance journalist for Rotor and Wing, Vertiflite and many other publications.
In recognition of his rich career, Barney was named a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, but regarded his top achievement as receiving the 1998 Gruppo Agusta International Fellowship in Montreal, Canada, which AHS awards to honor the "the most significant contributions to international vertical flight cooperation by an individual or group." During the same year, Barney founded the AHS Australia Chapter, which grew under Barney's leadership to become a primary support structure of Australian Army and Navy Aviation.
Barney passed away on February 17, 2010 at his home in Frankston South, Victoria, Australia.
AHS Updates: Vertiflite Spring 2010