Barry was born in Whangarei in 1945, and received his secondary schooling at Fairfield College in Hamilton before attending the Royal Military College of Australia, Duntroon, graduating into the RNZA at the end of 1965.
Five months later, he was posted to active service with 161 Battery in Bien Hoa, Republic of Vietnam (May 1966), initially as a liaison officer, where he was involved in the setting up of arty tac headquarters for 1 Field Regiment RAA. He then spent a period as executive officer of the US medium artillery battery, A Battery 2/35th Artillery, before assuming the appointment of GPO 161 Battery for 11 months, returning to New Zealand in September 1967.
He was posted to IG (Field) at the School of Artillery, Waiouru, with a stint at North Head in Sydney, and then again back to Waiouru. He was posted as GSO3 Ops at HQ 1 Infantry Brigade Group, before being posted to BC 161 Battery, in Papakura. He then went to GSO2 Coord in Army General Staff Wellington, from where he left the Regular Force in 1976, to join Challenge Corporation Ltd, heading staff development for the non-manufacturing companies in the group before being appointed Head of Staff and Communications for the Group.
On the merger of Challenge Corporation, Fletcher Holdings, and Tasman Pulp and Paper, he was appointed Group Personnel Manager. During this period he completed a Master of Public Policy at Victoria University. He was also on the Councils of the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Administrative Staff College, and a frequent topic supervisor at the Administrative Staff College.
He left Fletcher Challenge in 1981 to travel overseas with his family. On his return in 1982 he, joined the start-up Peat Marwick Consulting in Auckland as a senior consultant, and in 1986 he moved to the management consulting company Fleet & Partners Ltd as a shareholder, where he still works as a partner.
Barry rejoined the Army in the Territorial Force in about 1985, when he was attached to Land Force Command, before being appointed Commanding Officer 16 Field Regiment. During his time as CO the Regiment re-equipped with UNIMOG vehicles, the L119 gun, and Cymbeline mortar locating radar, as well as moving 1 Locating Battery from Waiouru to Papakura. Barry left the Territorial Force in 1988 to focus on his business.
Barry has been actively involved in Gunner matters for some years. He was President of the RNZA Band Association on two occasions for a number of years and is now the Patron. He has also been involved for some time on the executive with the RNZA Association. He was the founding chairman of the Auckland Coastal Artillery Historic Trust which has the tourism concession from the Department of Conservation for fee-earning tourist activities on North Head and Fort Takapuna in Auckland. He has also been actively involved in the RNZRSA where he is presently on the executive at the Howick RSA, and chairs both their Poppy Fund Trust and the Community Welfare Trust.
Barry was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery in December 2010.
Barry is married to Judy and lives in Howick. They have three adult children. Apart from the RNZA, his interests include rugby and fishing, current affairs and travel.