Barry graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1965 as a regular artillery officer in the New Zealand Army. He served in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967 with 161 Bty RNZA. For a period he was the XO of A Btry 2/35th US Arty, before spending 11 months as GPO 161 Bty. His subsequent military roles include IG at both the SofA Waiouru and at North Head in Sydney, as well as BC 161 Bty after its return from Vietnam. As a Territorial Force officer he commanded 16 Fd Regt during the change from L5 to L119 guns, and during the introduction of the Cymbeline radar.

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 more recently, 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 North Head and Fort Takapuna in Auckland.

He has also been actively involved in the welfare and support of veterans since his retirement from the Regular Army.

In 2010 he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the RNZA, and served in this role until 2017.

He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2018 for his services to the New Zealand Defence Force and to the veteran community.

In his civilian life he has worked in management consulting in New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand for extended periods, and for shorter periods in China and Japan. He was a visiting expert for the Asian Development Bank responsible for running their advanced management programs for client vice presidents, for a number of years. His consulting work was with Peat Marwick, and as a shareholder in his own business.

Barry is married to Judy, with three adult children. He has a Master of Public Policy degree and his interests include sport, culture, politics and history, current affairs, and travel.