William George Barker was born on November 3, 1894 in Dauphin, Manitoba. As a boy he wasn't interested in schoolwork and spent most of his free time riding his horse and hunting birds with a shotgun. He had an interest in shooting as a teenager and spent most of his allowance on ammunition for his guns. He became very efficient with a service rifle by shooting at a variety of ranges around Dauphin and Winnipeg. His family moved to Winnipeg shortly before the war started. In 1914 he joined the cavalry and soon after he would become a pilot.
Barker soon realized after he had been selected as a machine gunner and sent to the western Front that he did not want to stay in cavalry, it seemed useless and hopeless against the Germans. He then decided to join the Royal Flying Corps. as an Observer.
Barker earned many awards in his lifetime. His first badge was his Observers badge, which he got after completing his training as a pilot. Barker's first decoration was his Military Cross. He earned this when the skillfully fought off two Albotros II, as well as four other enemy planes, then continued to photograph the area. Barker was awarded his second decoration, the Croix de Geurre by the French for his extensive work he did to protect and aid the French aircraft conducting reconnaissance missions. He then earned two Bars for downing 5 Austrian aircraft's, a LVG two seater, and 2 more Albotros II. He was awarded his Victoria Cross after being critically injured in combat. This left him semi- crippled for the rest of his life. Later that spring he was given the Honor of the Flying Prince of Wales. He was then promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Air Force. .
After he resigned from the RCAF to develop the fledgling tobacco industry in Norfolk County, Ontario, however a serious bout of pneumonia in the spring of 1929 forced him to sell his tobacco interests in order to recuperate and avoid a loss of income.