Neil Barber has been interviewing veterans and studying the actions of the 6thAirborne Division in Normandy for over 25 years. In that time he has written two definitive books, worked as an advisor on both TV films and documentaries and as a proof reader for other authors writing about the Division. He is a Committee Member of both the 9thParachute Battalion Reunion Club and the Merville Battery Museum, and is a volunteer for the Parachute Regiment Charity, which today looks after the memorials and other 6thAirborne Division interests in the region.
Neil’s two major publications each took five years of research and are therefore detailed accounts of the events, but related in the words of the men who were actually there. Every avenue of information has been followed, be it the interviewing of survivors, locating testimony by those who have passed away (both audio and written), walking the battlefields, plus analysis of photographic and film evidence. Consequently, the books go into their subjects in unprecedented detail and are unique in their ability to put the reader ‘on the ground’ with the men themselves.
These books are:
‘The Pegasus and Orne Bridges, (Their Capture, Defence and Relief on D-Day).’
The glider-borne operation to capture the Caen Canal and River Orne bridges in the early hours of D-Day has an established place in the annals of warfare. Conducted by Major John Howard and his six platoons of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, it was a superbly daring, brilliantly executed ‘Coup de Main.’ Consequently, over the years, so much has been written about this operation. However, most of this has been regurgitated material from Stephen Ambrose’s 1984 book, ‘Pegasus Bridge.’ The Pegasus and Orne Bridges is the first and only book that goes into the capture, defence and relief of the bridge and that of the River Orne, in detail, and in the words of the men who actually took part.
‘The Day the Devils Dropped In’ recounts the 9th Parachute Battalion’s epic D-Day assault on the Merville Gun Battery, which had the ability to fire on SWORD Beach, and the subsequent ferocious five day battle at the Chateau St Come on the vital Breville Ridge. Losing this battle would have allowed the Germans to sweep down onto the vital Pegasus Bridge.
The latest publications are Pocket Guide books for Pegasus Bridge and the Merville Battery. These have been specifically written as short walking tours, and are intended to enhance your visits by providing a picture of what happened and where. They feature many ‘Then and Now’ photographs for on the spot comparison.
Neil has also put together three biographies for veterans, these being:
Fighting with the Commandos (Stan Scott No 3 Commando).
Parachute Doctor (David Tibbs, 225 Field (Para) Ambulance and 13th Parachute Battalion)
Fighting Hitler from Dunkirk to D-Day (Jeff Haward MM, 1/7th Middlesex Battalion).
See the book page for further information.