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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: Baron Anthony Barber

Anthony Barber was a British Conservative politician who served as a member of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Barber was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by Edward Heath in 1970 after the early death of Iain Macleod, serving in that capacity until 1974.

He became Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank after retiring from front-line politics in 1974, and served from 1974 to 1987.

Barber was the third son of John Barber, secretary-director of a confectionery works in Doncaster and his Danish wife, Musse. He had two brothers: Noel, who became a well-known journalist and novelist, and Keith, who became secretary of Midland Bank.

Barber was educated at King Edward VI's Grammar School in Retford, Nottinghamshire. He became an articled clerk, but joined the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry shortly before the Second World War started. He served in France with a Territorial Army artillery unit from Doncaster as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

He was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, but later he became a pilot in the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit of the RAF. He ran out of fuel on a reconnaissance mission on January 25, 1943 and ditched near Mont St Jean, but was captured by the Germans.

He was mentioned in dispatches for helping escapes from the prison camp at Stalag Luft 3: he himself once escaped as far as Denmark. The film The Wooden Horse was based on one of his escapes. While still a prisoner, he took a law degree with first-class honours through the International Red Cross.

On his return to England, he was awarded a state grant to Oxford University, where he took a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in two years at Oriel College, and a scholarship to the Inner Temple. He then practised as a barrister from 1948, and specialised in taxation.

Anthony Barber stood in Doncaster at the 1950 general election but lost by 878 votes. He contested the seat again at the 1951 general election, however, and beat the incumbent Labour Member of Parliament, Raymond Gunter by 384 votes.

Having failed to secure re-election in Conservative general election defeat in 1974, Barber left front-line politics. He was made a Life Peer in 1974, and served as Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank from that 1974 to 1987, where John Major was his personal assistant. Barber was also a director of BP from 1979 to 1988. He also visited Nelson Mandela in Prison.

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