Anthony Barnard, DSC: North Norfolk councillor had key D-Day role

A young naval lieutenant, Anthony Barnard, who has died at his Broadland home aged 92, cleared the approaches for the first assault craft to land on the D-Day beaches.

He was later decorated by King George VI at Buckingham Palace after he was awarded the DSC (Distinguished Service Cross) for his role commanding a minesweeper in an action off Cherbourg.

It had involved laying a smoke screen to protect a fleet of American ships from intense German gunfire and returning several times when it was wearing thin.

Just weeks earlier, his minesweeper was at the head of an invasion fleet in the early hours of June 6.

Born in Birmingham into a naval family, Anthony Ettwell Barnard went to the city's King Edward VI Grammar School. After qualifying as a tax inspector with the Inland Revenue, he volunteered for the Royal Navy and gained his first command at 19 as an acting lieutenant. He could not be promoted to full rank until he attained his majority at the age of 21.

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He married Kay, who was a Wren initially posted to the Dover. Later, she was transferred to the Admiralty in London. She attended the investiture at Buckingham Palace in early 1945 with her husband and his mother.

After the war, he worked in the emerging computer industry and joined the oil companies Shell-Mex and BP, working in sales. He retired in 1975 having worked in Shell Centre, London, and moved to north Norfolk.

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He became chairman of Briston parish council and played a vital role with another councillor in helping to establish the Copeman Centre as a centre for village and community activities. When the village school was closed, the council was keen to acquire the building. After extensive research, the descendants of the former owners were tracked down to Australia and legal title to the property acquired and the centre was formally opened in 1988.

He was an adviser with the Citizens Advice Bureau for many years. Latterly, Mr Barnard lived in Binham for some years before moving to Acle to be closer to his daughter.

He leaves three children, Simon, Nicola and Nigel, six grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

A funeral has been held at St Lawrence's, South Walsham.

Michael Pollitt

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