Robert Cecil Hildenbrand Barber
MontgomeryAt 's Hertogenbosch during the night of 26 / 27 October 1944, the Battalion was engaged during the night in strenuous hand to hand fighting in order to establish contact between two small bridgeheads which had been established over the River Dommel.
Durin these operations Major Barber was commanding the left forward Company and led his men with great enery and dash throughout the night.
Contact beteen the two bridgeheads having been established, it was the intention that at 0800hrs 27 October, the Battalion should start on clearance of the remaining part of the town. It was essential that this should not be delayed in order that a subsequent phase of the operation might be completed in daylight.
Shortly after first light 7 enemy tanks accompanied by some infantry entered the town from the West and took up position about l400 yards in front of Major Barber's Company, from which they could have made any further progress by the Battalion virtually impossible.
Major Barber immediately appreciated this and made a plan to deal with the situation. To get at the enemy tanks it was necessary to pass between the houses, some of which were occupied by the enemy. Nevertheless a party led by Major Barber himself approached under heavy fire and under smoke cover engared the tanks with PIATS from houses nearby while another party enared the enemy infantry. One enemy tank was knocked out and the crew killed. A further tank was severely damaged and the remaining tanks immediately withdrew, one being destroyed by an Anti Tank gun.
By his prompt and resolute action Major Barber made it possible for the days operation to be carried out as planned. Throuhout, he led his men with energy and initiative and showed a determination to destroy the enemy whilst inspiring his Company. But for his efficiency the whole progress of operations would have been halted.
Erfgoed 's-Hertogenbosch (0824.551)