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Whilst clearing out his father’s house, Charlie Barne, grandson of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Barne came across his grandfather’s war diaries. When Charlie moved from out of London to Wiltshire in 2016, he used his commute to type up, edit and annotate the diaries. The result is a fascinating first-hand account of the entire Second World War from the perspective of ‘Churchill’s Colonel’. In honour of his grandfather, Charlie has decided to donate the royalties from the book to Walking With The Wounded.
Charlie notes, “The diaries offer an incredible insight into my grandfather’s military career. I initially started to type them up as a personal project; however, I soon realised that these are important stories for future generations. Thankfully, my grandfather returned from war unscathed but I am only too aware that not everyone is so fortunate. It seemed natural to support a charity helping those that have served, and I am delighted to support Walking With The Wounded and the outstanding work they do.”
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.
To purchase a copy of ‘Churchill’s Colonel’ visit www.pen-and-sword.co.uk and use code WWTW25 to receive a 25% discount at the checkout.