He was also commander of the British forces in Palestine from 1946 to 1947. The son of an officer, Major-General Sir George Barker, Evelyn Barker was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He served with the 3rd Battalion and was sent the next year to the Western Front of World War I and he fought in France, took part in the Thessaloniki operation, and was wounded and decorated. In 1919, still with the KRRC, Barker took part in the British military expedition against the Bolsheviks in the south of the former Russian Empire, Barker distinguished himself during the liberation of Le Havre in September. VIII Corps saw extensive action during the push into Germany between March and May 1945. On 15 April 1945, elements of Barkers Corps liberated the remaining survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, after the German capitulation, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, commander of the 21st Army Group, appointed Barker to head the Schleswig-Holstein Corps District of the British occupation zone. He was also knighted immediately after the campaign, in the spring of 1946, Barker was appointed GOC British Forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan, where he had served in the days of the Arab Revolt. Palestine was now the scene of a Jewish Revolt, primarily conducted by the Irgun and Lehi, and to an extent, the Haganah. Barker had the task of ending the increasingly numerous and lethal attacks by Zionist guerrillas. Officers reported that units were close to mutinying and going on a revengeful rampage in Jewish villages. Controlling the vindictive passions of his troops, as well as his own, together with other high-ranking British officers, Barker repeatedly asked civil authorities to let the army take off the gloves and employ harsher methods in the pursuit of the terrorists. All this had led to a state of affairs in which British rule existed only in name, soon after arriving in Palestine, Evelyn Barker became a frequenter of the Jerusalem haute societe gatherings in the mansion of Katie Antonius. The hostess was the widow of the famous Lebanese-Palestinian intellectual George Antonius, the evening dances in the Karm al Mufti mansion, the Shepherd Hotel, where Antonius had written his Arab Awakening, were attended by diplomats, artists and British officers. Evelyn Barker, by now married with a son, dallied there with his Arab hostess, Barker saw capital punishment as an effective discouragement against resorting to arms, and argued for a wide application of the death penalty against Zionist guerillas. That it was never applied in the years, he considered among the major causes of the failure to suppress the insurgency. Barker would later express his position in this way, I am in favour of the penalty for murder. The one strict law we had was against carrying arms, and its no good having a law like that if you dont enforce it. So if anyone was carrying arms, he was up before a court martial, he could state his case
Image: General Evelyn Barker
The unsatisfactory "timid-looking" polar bear.
Lieutenant General E. H. Barker, GOC VIII Corps, inspecting various captured German weapons during an inspection of the 3rd Division positions, 26 January 1945.
Field MarshalB. L. Montgomery poses for a group photograph with his staff, corps and divisional commanders at Walbeck, Germany, 22 March 1945. Pictured sitting, on the far left, is Lieutenant General E. H. Barker.