Churchill's Colonel

The War Diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Barne

Anthony Barne

Anthony Barne started his diary in August 1939 as a young, recently-married captain in the Royal Dragoons stationed in Palestine.
Date Published :
December 2019
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Editor :
Charles Barne
Illustration :
25 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526759702
Pages : 344
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Anthony Barne started his diary in August 1939 as a young, recently married captain in the Royal Dragoons stationed in Palestine. He wrote an entry for every day of the war, often with great difficulty, sometimes when dog-tired or under fire, and sometimes when things looked black and desperate, but more often in sunshine and optimism, ‘surrounded by good fellows who kept one cheerful and helped one through the sad and difficult times.' His diary ends in July 1945, by which time he was commanding officer of the 4th Hussars, having recently visited Downing Street for lunch alone with the Churchills.

The diaries have an enormous scope covering time in Palestine and Egypt before he joins the Eighth Army, describing the retreat back to El Alamein, the battle and its aftermath. He ends the campaign commanding his regiment. He often graphically details the physical realities of war: the appalling conditions in the desert, the bombardments of the regiment from the air, the deaths and serious injuries of fellow soldiers. In 1943, he flies down to Rhodesia to see his wife and infant son before returning to Cairo to join Churchill’s regiment, the 4th Hussars. Arriving in Italy in 1944, he recounts the campaign as the Allies push north.

The tone of the diaries varies wildly: often witty, sometimes outrageous but also poignant and philosophical. The voice and attitudes are entertainingly dated, but are delivered with warmth, a charming turn of phrase and a keen eye for the absurd.

About The Author

Charles Barne is a shipbroker for a Greek family. He discovered his grandfather’s war diaries when clearing out their house having not known of their existence. On moving out of London to Wiltshire in 2016, he spent the following 2 ½ years of his train commute typing up, editing and annotating the diaries. He grew up in Dorset on his grandparents' farm.


"... throws interesting light on life and soldiering during the Second World War."

- The NYMAS Review

"Very entertaining – diaries are always a good snapshot..."

- Al Murray, We Have Ways of Making You Talk Podcast

"Unseen photographs of Sir Winston Churchill at war and at leisure are revealed in a new book."

- The Daily Express

"The diary becomes less and less about the war and more and more about the sociology of the officer class during these times and its a great read because of this. The pages are full of funny skits as well as pathos but in the end I realised that I was a better person for reading and understanding Churchill's Colonel. I am so glad that his diaries were transcribed and turned into this years most surprising and thought provoking book."

- Army Rumour Service

"...a sensitively edited collection of diaries providing many new insights – Very Highly Recommended."

- Firetrench

"I loved Barne's sincerity and spontaneity, a man with a discreet desire to live and extricate himself even in the most difficult situations. Barne, given his observations, was perhaps the son of the time, of his Empire, but the portrait that emerges is that in the end he was a very decent person, religious, devoted to his wife and extremely intelligent and nice."

- Old Barbed Wire Blog

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