Tony Barne joined the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars as 2IC at Beni Yusef camp, near the Giza Pyramids, in the spring of 1943.
He had been commissioned into the 1st Royal Dragoons in 1927 and had served with distinction in India, Palestine and the Western Desert.
When he joined the 4th Hussars, the Regiment was re-equipping with Sherman and Stuart tanks to become the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of the 1st Armoured Division, and Tony Barne’s firm grip of the Regiment’s administration rapidly impressed all ranks with his professionalism, dedication, humanity and insistence on the highest standards.
There was at this time an opportunity for many sporting activities too, at which Tony Barne excelled. He also contributed much to the Regiment’s training to master the gunnery and technical aspects of the new tanks.
It was, however, during the Regiment’s 1944 and 1945 battles in Italy that Tony Barne really showed his mettle. First, while still 2IC, he ensured that the Regiment’s administrative needs were smoothly and efficiently met, but more than this, he insisted on making frequent appearances on the front line with the Sabre squadrons and would stimulate morale by nonchalantly sitting on the turret of his tank during disagreeable shell and mortar fire.
In January 1945 Tony Barne took over command of the 4th Hussars, and then led the Regiment with courage and success during the final battles in Italy, including the renowned Argenta Gap breakthrough when he commanded a specially constituted Barne Force of all arms with great dash. He was awarded the OBE.
At the war’s end, he continued in command of the 4th Hussars, first in Austria, then Italy, when the Regiment was stationed near Trieste.
Tony Barne then showed what a fine cavalry Commanding Officer he was in peace, as well as war, keeping the Regiment in top form, and not only encouraging every form of adventurous sport; hunting (the 4th Hussars had a pack of foxhounds at this time with the incomparable Loopy Kennard as Master), steeplechasing at Aiello, sailing, skiing at Cortina d’Ampezzo – but setting a splendid example by doing all these things himself with great vigour and distinction.
He finally relinquished command of the 4th Hussars in January 1946, and after Staff College and command of a RAC Training Regiment, retired to Dorset, where again he, and his beautiful, accomplished wife, Cara, set an example of service to the county, enthusiasm for field sports, sailing and the joy of good company.
It was clear that Tony Barne regarded his years as Commanding Officer of the 4th Hussars as some of the most rewarding and memorable of his military career. He was a model of what a British cavalry officer should be; devoted to his Regiment, brave in battle, a fine sportsman, a generous host and one who set the highest
standards of behaviour, tolerance and service to his country.