Colin Muir Barber

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Colin Muir Barber
Nickname(s) "Tiny"
Born (1897-06-27)27 June 1897
Died 5 May 1964(1964-05-05) (aged 66)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Territorial Army,  British Army
Years of service 28 Mar 1916 – 28 Mar 1955
Rank Lieutenant-General
Commands held 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade
15th (Scottish) Division
Scottish Command and Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Battles/wars World War I
Waziristan 1921-24
Palestine 1936-39
World War II
- France 1940
- Normandy
- Operation Veritable
Awards KBE
DSO and bar
Mentioned in Despatches 5 times
Commander of the Order of the Crown with Palm (Belgium) (9 Oct 1945)
Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm[1]

Sir Colin Muir Barber, KBE, CB, DSO and bar (Birkenhead 27 June 1897 – 5 May 1964), was a British General who commanded the 15th (Scottish) Division during their actions across north west Europe in World War II. Barber was reputed to be the tallest officer in the British Army (at 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)) and thus earned the ironic nickname, "Tiny".[2]

Private life[edit]

Barber was educated at Uppingham School. He was married twice, first, in 1929, to Mary Edith Nixon. The couple had a son and a daughter; Mary died in 1949. His second wife was Mrs Anthony Milburn.[3]

Military career[edit]

Colin Muir Barber was mobilised in 1916 and served with the Liverpool Scottish in France and Belgium. In March 1918, he was commissioned into the 1st Battalion, Cameron Highlanders, continuing to serve in France and Belgium until the end of World War I.[3]

Between 1919 and 1939, Barber served in India. He was mentioned in despatches in 1925 for service in Waziristan and he attended the Staff College in Quetta in 1929 (from where he graduated with distinction[2]). On his return to Britain, he had several staff appointments, mainly within the British Army's Scottish Command. In 1936, after a brief posting to Palestine, he was appointed to the General Staff as a GSO2.[3]

In 1940, he was with 51st (Highland) Division of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, winning his first DSO[4] and mentioned in despatches. From March, 1941 Barber returned to the General Staff as a GSO1, until taking command, in October, of the 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade. From August, 1944 Barber, as an acting Major-General, commanded the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division for the remainder of the campaign in north-west Europe.[3] In this campaign, the 15th Division had the distinction to lead the three great river crossings of the Seine, the Rhine and the Elbe[2] and Barber was awarded the bar to his DSO.[5]

Barbour commanded Highland District (Scottish Command) between 1946 and 1949 when he became Director of Infantry & Military Training, War Office. Barber was promoted to Lieutenant-General on 27 February 1952 and made General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Scottish Command and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. He retired on 28 March 1955.[3]

Colin Muir Barber died on 5 May 1964.[3] A memorial service was held at Canongate Kirk (The Kirk of Holyroodhouse) on 22 May 1964. There is a memorial plaque for Lieutenant General Sir Colin Muir Barber, as a commander in the 15th Scottish Infantry Division that liberated Tourville in June 1944.[6]

Barber Lyashchenko Agreement[edit]

The villages redeployed by the Barber Lyashchenko Agreement.

On 13 November 1945 Barber and the Soviet major-general Nikolay Grigoryevich Lyashchenko (Russian: Николай Григорьевич Лященко) signed the Barber Lyashchenko Agreement ((German), also Gadebusch Agreement) in Gadebusch, redeploying some municipalities along the northern border between the Soviet and British zone of Allied-occupied Germany. Thus some eastern suburbs of Ratzeburg, such as Ziethen in Lauenburg, Mechow, Bäk and Römnitz became part of the Duchy of Lauenburg District (British zone), while the Lauenburgian municipalities of Dechow, Groß and Klein Thurow (now component parts of Roggendorf) as well as Lassahn (now a component part of Zarrentin am Schaalsee) were ceded to the adjacent Mecklenburgian district (Soviet zone). The redeployment was accomplished on 26 November, the respective occupational forces had to withdraw until 28 November to their new zonal territory.[7] The British occupational forces provided all the inhabitants of villages to be ceded to the Soviet zone to be evacuated, if they wished so, including all their chattels by vehicles provided by the British forces. All displaced people (usually formerly forced labourers under the prior Nazi rule) in these villages and other eventual foreigners - except of Soviet citizens among them - were obligatorily to be relocated, while Soviet displaced people would have to stay.

Honours and awards[edit]

Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire 1952
Companion of the Order of the Bath (Military Division) 5 July 1945
Distinguished Service Order 11 July 1940, 19 October 1944
Mentioned in Despatches 13 March 1925, 20 December 1940, 22 March 1945, 10 May 1945, 8 November 1945
Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium) 9 October 1945


  1. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette" (PDF). The London Gazette. 17 October 1946. Retrieved 2 Sep 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Henderson, Dr Diana M (September 2003). "The Elbe Crossing 1945". The Scots at War Trust. Retrieved 2 Sep 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Houterman & Koppes. "British Army Officers, 1939-1945". World War II unit histories. Retrieved 2 Sep 2009. 
  4. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette" (PDF). The London Gazette. 11 July 1940. Retrieved 2 Sep 2009. 
  5. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette" (PDF). The London Gazette. 19 October 1944. Retrieved 2 Sep 2009. 
  6. ^ Corvé, Philippe (2002). "Panzer blocked the crossing over the river Odon". Retrieved 2 Sep 2009. 
  7. ^ Cf. the translation of the agreement as given by the Archive of the Duchy of Lauenburg District.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Gordon MacMillan
GOC-in-C Scottish Command
Succeeded by
Sir Horatius Murray