Honour for former military policeman

James Barden
James Barden

A GUARD of honour was held at the funeral of a ‘kind and gentle’ former military policeman.

James Barden, 89, pictured above lived at Granville Road and died on January 17. His funeral was held last week at Eastbourne Crematorium and the Red Caps from the Royal Military Police Association attended.

Mr Barden joined the army in his late teens but became a prisoner of war under the Italian government and he was then captured by the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler.

Mr Barden wrote a memoir about his experiences in World War II. It details his five years as a prisoner of war and his longing to return to England.

After the war, Mr Barden served in the military police in London for 25 years.

He was a member of the Royal Military Police Association in Eastbourne for many years and would attend regular meetings at the RAFA Club in Wish Road.

He was also a freemason and played bowls for his masonic lodge. He played on the green at The Saffrons and travelled around Sussex for the game.

Mr Barden lost his first wife Patrica when she was 54 and the son they had together tragically died at the age of seven.

Mr Barden re-married but he also outlived his second wife. He had no family at the time of his death, but his close friend Beryl Etherington, who had known him for 16 years, has paid tribute to a kind and gentle man. Ms Etherington said, “He was very gentle with good manners. He was also very kind.

“He had an intersting life but he was a quiet man and you had to get the stories out of him.”