BARTON, Bernard James

Known as: 
John
Rank: 
T/Captain (later Major)
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
The Buffs / Reconnaissance Regiment / Royal Armoured Corps
Service: 
Army
Service numbers: 
134120
Barton 2 Commando
Newspaper article re Lt Barton MC

Bernard James Barton was commissioned Second Lieutenant in The Buffs on the 22nd June 1940 (1).

On the 30th January 1941 he was transferred to the Recce Corps. (2)

Citation for the MC whilst serving with 44 Reconnaissance Regiment.

On the coastal sector North of Enfidaville on the night of 9th May 1943, Lieutenant Barton was in command of a night reconnaissance patrol consisting of himself, an RE Corporal, and 7 Other Ranks . In the course of the patrol it became necessary to negotiate an enemy minefield which was known to be sewn with A/Tk and A/P mines. Halfway through the minefield an 'S' mine exploded, wounding the Corporal and 5 other ranks. After arranging for their evacuation to the rear, Lieutenant Barton continued the patrol accompanied by the one remaining Sapper, and having crossed the remainder of the minefield, located two enemy posts which were known to be occupied by day, but were found by him to be unoccupied at night. Lieutenant Barton was successful in retracing his steps through the minefield. He brought back valuable information and throughout the whole operation showed great determination and courage of a high order (3).

On the 7th January 1944 the No 2 Commando war diary records the fact that Lieut. Barton MC joined No 2 Commando, with others, recruited from the 5th Army and from North Africa.

On the 20th July 1944 it was announced that he had been awarded the DSO for gallant and distinguished services in Italy. (4) 

The then Lieut (temp Captain) Barton had taken part in several recce operations on the Dalmatian islands, including Brac. On one of these he donned shepherds clothing to get past guards and kill the German Commandant of Brac. On these and others he brought back prisoners and information.  He was awarded the DSO for his gallantry. 

Despite the fact that the award recommendation by his Commanding Officer Lt Col Jack Churchill  was marked "No publicity to be given to this citation"(4), the details of the raid were published at the time in newspapers [view] in the UK  and as a result it was decided he could no longer remain with No 2 Commando as his life would have been at risk in the event of capture. The No 2 Commando War Diary for the 20th July 1944 records the fact that he was informed of this decision whilst holding the rank of Temporary Captain in charge of 5 troop. He left the Commando. 

On the 4th October 1945 the then Temp. Major Barton DSO, MC, was awarded a bar to his DSO for gallant and distinguished services in the field. (5)

On the 14th March 1951 Lt. (War Subs. Captain ) Barton, DSO *, MC, Recce Corps, relinquished his commission and was granted the honorary rank of Major (7).

Post war he moved to Africa and became a farmer (6).

Sources:
(1) London Gazettes supp. 34883, page 3925
(2) London Gazettes supp. 35211, page 3903
(3) London Gazettes supp. 36138, page 3722 
(3) National Archives WO/373/25
(4) London Gazettes supp. 36615, page 3375
(4) National Archives WO/373/6
(5) London Gazettes supp. 37293, page 4885
(6) London Gazettes supp. 39168, page 1287
(7) CVA Fourm message
 

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