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Charles Stanley Barber
Born 6 July 1888 (1888-07-06)
Died 4 October 1965 (1965-10-05) (aged 77)
Place of birth Melbourne, Australia
Place of death Melbourne
Allegiance Australian Army
Years of service 1914-1948
Rank Brigadier
Unit Field Engineers
Commands held
Awards Military Cross
Captain Barber surprising a Turkish sentry 1916

Captain Barber surprising a Turkish sentry in a hostile listening tunnel, 1916.[1][2]

Brigadier Charles Stanley Barber, MC (6 July 1888 - 4 Oct 1965) served in the Australian Army during World War I rising to the rank of Captain and being awarded the Military Cross. He served between the wars in the Citizens Military Force, and in World War II rose to the rank of Brigadier.

Early life and careerEdit

Charles was born in Kew, Melbourne, Australia, the son of Charles Deynes Barber and Margaret Anne (Maggie) McLean.[3][4] He attended Camberwell Grammar School and Scotch College, and completed a Bachelor of Mining Engineering at University of Melbourne.[4] While at University, he joined the Melbourne University Rifles and reached the rank of 2nd lieutenant.[4]

World War IEdit

When the war started, Charles was working in Broken Hill as a mining engineer where he enlisted on 29 August 1914[5] as a 2nd lieutenant in the 3rd Field Company Engineers of the AIF.[4] On 22 September 1914 he embarked from Melbourne for Alexandria with 3rd Field Company.[6] He trained in Mesopotamia and his company built and maintained a pontoon bridge over the Suez canal[3] until embarking for Gallipoli from Alexandria on 5 April 1915.[6]

Charles arrived at Anzac about 10:30am on 25 April 1915, about five hours after the first troops landed to attack Turkish positions. On 27 July 1915 he transferred to 4th Field Company Engineers and was promoted to Captain.[4]

By 12 September 1915 he was leading the 4th Field company at Lone Pine. On 19 October he was conducting tunneling operations.[7]

During the evening of the 6th November 1915, an opening was driven into a Turkish listening tunnel in front of LONE PINE. The work of reconnoitering was at once taken in hand by Captain Barber and his party under difficult and extremely hazardous conditions. Over 70 feet of the enemy’s heavily timbered main gallery was occupied, barricaded and surveyed within an hour of the first entry being made. The party had to enter the enemy work one by one through an untimbered hole barely large enough to crawl through. Their prompt action gained for us additional and most valuable protection for the LONE PINE front.

On 29 January 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross.[1][6][9]

On 31 January 1916 he transferred to hospital with ,[6] and then developed a related thrombosis in his leg[10] and spent some time in Alexandria, where he was joined by his mother and his sister who helped with his nursing.[3]

On 1 February 1916 he was promoted to Lieutenant.[4] On 13 March 1916 he returned to Australia on HT Nestor.[11] On 30 July 1916 he left active service.[4]

After World War IEdit

He joined his brother-in-law, Rene Vanderkelen, in a Melbourne Jewel Import Business where his mining qualification assisted in gem valuations.[3] He married Mary Winifred Ware Hickling Forbes on 6 July 1926 at Scots' Church, Melbourne.[12] They lived in Armadale, Melbourne,[13] and had 2 children: David Deynes Barber (5 November 1928) and Jane Forbes Barber (22 May 1930).[3]

Between the wars he worked to keep the militia active, and in 1920 was promoted to Captain.[13] In 1926 he was appointed to command 2nd Artillery Survey Company.[13] In 1928 he was promoted to Major. In 1935 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel[13] and transferred to command of 59th Battalion.[11] In August 1939 he was appointed to the command of 29th Battalion,[13] and was in charge of planning the defence of the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. His son remembered Saturday car trips around the peninsula when crossroads were studied with a view to gun emplacements and tank traps.[3]

World War IIEdit

At the outbreak of war he was involved with the training of 4th Infantry Brigade stationed in Bonegilla, Victoria.[14] On 24 June 1940 he was promoted to Colonel to command the 4th Infantry Brigade.[13] On 5 July 1941 he was promoted to Brigadier.[13] In November 1941 he commenced full-time duty with 4th Infantry Brigade at Bonegilla. In March 1942 he moved the 4th Infantry Brigade to Warwick, Queensland and, in May, to Brisbane where he was joined by his wife.[14]

In October 1942 he volunteered for service with the Australian Imperial Force, (a legal requirement before service overseas), and in February 1943 he was transferred to 4th Brigade headquarters in Port Moresby, New Guinea[13] while the Brigade was sent to Milne Bay. In July 1943 he was transferred to the headquarters of 3rd Division.[13]

On 19 August 1943, for medical reasons, he relinquished command of 4th Division and returned to Melbourne, seconded to the Citizens Military Force.[13] In September 1943 he left service with the rank of Honorary Brigadier,[13] but continued to assist with training and organising the Army Reserve.

After World War IIEdit

He lived at 60 Close St, South Yarra, Melbourne until about 1960, then moved to Terrara Rd, Mitcham, Melbourne. Charles died from a heart attack while driving and was cremated.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Captain Barber Surprising a Turkish Sentry in a Hostile Listening Tunnel". Retrieved 17 July 2012. "An opening having been driven into a hostile listening tunnel, Captain Charles Stanley Barber, of the 3rd Field Company Australian Engineers, crawled through with a few men on hands and knees. Captain Barber then surprised the Turkish sentry, and by barricading a large portion of the tunnel, considerably strengthened the advanced post. He was awarded the M.C. for conspicuous gallantry." 
  2. The contrast between the size of the tunnel depicted in the picture, and the size of tunnels described in the written records, (e.g.[1]), is an interesting comparison.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Carnegie, Helen (1974). The Barber Family Chronicle. p. 125. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "M51/463". Your Story, Our History: World War I: Item details for: B2455, BARBER C S: Image 15. National Archives. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  5. "Casualty Form Active Service". Your Story, Our History: World War I: Item details for: B2455, BARBER C S: Image 49. National Archives. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Australian Imperial Force - Statement of Service - BARBER C S". Your Story, Our History: World War I. National Archives. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  7. C.E.W. Bean (1921–1943). "XXVIII". Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918. Australian War Memorial. pp. 815–816. 
  9. "FOR GALLANTRY". Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 16 March 1916. p. 7. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  10. "Australian Imperial Force - Detailed Medical History of an Invalid - BARBER C S". Your Story, Our History: World War I. National Archives. 23 May 1916. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Australian Imperial Force - Record of Officers Services - BARBER C S". Your Story, Our History: World War I. National Archives. 23 May 1916. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  12. "Barber–Forbes Wedding". The Argus (Melbourne). 7 July 1926. p. 16. 
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 "Australian Imperial Force - Officers Record of Service - BARBER C S". Your Story, Our History: World War II. National Archives. 23 May 1916. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Etched in green : the history of the 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion 1939-1946". 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion Association. 1961. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 

External linksEdit

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