A Rifle Brigade, 8th Army, Desert Rats, 2nd Battle of El Alamein, Italy Campaign, D+2 Normandy landing’s Group of 5 awarded to Sergeant Ernest George Barnes 1st Battalion The Rifle Brigade comprising 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, 8th Army Clasp, Italy Star, France & Germany Star, 1939-45 War Medal, unnamed as issued. In box of issue with Bestowal Slip addressed to Mr E.G. Barnes 305, St James’s Road, Camberwell, S.E.1, lightly toned very fine.
The 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade was in England on the outbreak of the War originally part of the 2nd Support Group, part of the 1st Armoured Division. In late April 1940, however, the Battalion transferred to the newly created 30th Infantry Brigade and landed in France the following month within the BEF but was lost at the Defence of Calais, where the brigade slowed the German advance and enabled the Dunkirk Evacuation to proceed. The battalion was reformed in the United Kingdom and became part of the 2nd Armoured Brigade of the 1st Armoured Division and took part in many battles in the North African Campaign before transferring to the 22nd Armoured Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division in June 1942. The Battalion’s four 6-pdrs were credited with destroying many tanks from the 21st Panzer Division at the Battle of Alam El Halfa on the 31st of August 1942. The t Battalion subsequently took part in the Second Battle of El Alamein and the Tunisian Campaign until May 1943 when the war in North Africa ended with the surrender of almost 250,000 German and Italian soldiers. The Battalion, with the rest of the 7th Armoured Division, took part in the Invasion of Italy, and the early stages of the war in Italy, in September 1943, returning to England in January 1944 and took part in the D Day Landings landing at Arromanche on the 8th of June 1944, going on to fight throughout the North West Europe Campaign until VE Day in May 1945, ending the war in Hamburg.
With a hand-written letter from his son:
“Just to confirm that the medals were my father’s “Ernest George Barnes” from his service during WW2 as a Sergeant in the Rifle Brigade which were shipped out to become part of the 8th Army fighting Rommel known as the Desert Rats under Monty.
Before callup he played Drums in a small dance band on his return to England he started as a Jam maker for Lipton’s in South London and played drums in the works band and in a few local pubs, So he made Jam during the Day and Jammed at night so to speak.
He would never watch and war films on TV he said there is nothing glorious about war seeing your friends maimed and killed. He would wear these medals with pride every year when he went to Remembrance Day Service in Whitehall London and met up with a few of his old Comrades to share a pint or two and swap memories, but as the years past these meetings sadly became smaller every year.
Terry Barnes Son
Sold with 3 original photographs and a 1939-45 Defence Medal, unnamed as issued and a1940 dated J. Hudson & Co of Birmingham Whistle which belonged to Sergeant Barnes’s Father (Ernest Barnes) of the Camberwell ARP.