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Churchill's Colonel (Hardback)

The War Diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Barne

Military > Biographies > Military Biographies Military > Memoirs WWII > Battles & Campaigns > El Alamein WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Italian Front

By Anthony Barne, Edited by Charles Barne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 323
Illustrations: 25
ISBN: 9781526759702
Published: 7th October 2019


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In the news

'Royalties from Second World War diaries donated to Walking With The Wounded.' Read the full story via the WWTW website.

As featured by the Daily Express (4/10/19): 'Unseen photographs of Sir Winston Churchill at war and at leisure are revealed in a new book

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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.

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

The NYMAS Review, Spring 2020

As featured on The Diary Review

The Diary Review

Very entertaining – diaries are always a good snapshot.

Al Murray, We Have Ways of Making You Talk Podcast

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.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

Two good reasons for buying this book, its a cracking read and the proceeds go to ‘Walking With The Wounded’. This is a sensitively edited collection of diaries providing many new insights – Very Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


Slowly and surely this man grows on you, you find that you realise that his war was almost 100 years ago when the world was a different place and people like him had privilege but they knew it as well as the burden of duty that was placed upon them. 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 suprising and thought provoking book.

Five mushroom heads and definitely my book of the year 2019.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

'Reads inspired by our county'

Dorset and Daily Echo, 23rd November 2019

'Book round-up: your new favourite novel may be among these Dorset-inspired publications' as featured by

Dorset Echo, 24th November 2019

As featured on The Winston Churchill Blog

Winston Churchill Blog

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

Daily Express 4/10/19

Article: 'War of words: Shipbroker brings grandfather's diaries to life' as featured by

TradeWinds, 17th September 2019 – words by Lucy Hine

An interesting account of the diaries of an officer in the 4th Hussars who by virtue of its association with Winston Churchill offers some pointed insights into the ‘off duty’ life of Churchill. It also has valuable accounts of the fighting in North Africa.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Charles Barne

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.

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