John E Barry won second place in Queensland in the Senior University Examinations in 1920. He graduated from the University of Queensland in 1924 with first class honours in history and economics. He studied these subjects at Oxford after winning a Rhodes scholarship in 1925.
He later worked as secretary to a British delegation to the League of Nations at Geneva. When war broke out, he volunteered for service and while doing ‘confidential work’ for the British government, he was killed in action over Germany in 1942.