Domvile, Barry

He was the elder son of Admiral Sir Barry Edward Domvile KBE, CB, CMG, and Lady Domvile (née Alexandrina von der Heydt), of Roehampton Vale, London.    Admiral Domvile (1878-1971) had fought in the First World War and become director of the Department of Naval Intelligence 1927-1930. From 1932 to 1934 he was President of the Royal Naval College. He was a council member of the Anglo-German Fellowship and founded the Anglo-German organization “The Link”, an ‘independent non-party organization to promote Anglo-German friendship’.   Domvile visited Germany on various occasions, attending in 1936 and 1937 the Nuremberg Rallies as a guest of the German Ambassador, Joachim von Ribbentrop. Owing to his pro-Nazi views, Admiral Domvile was interned during the Second World War. It has been alleged that Rudolph Hess flew to Britain in 1941 to meet up with members of “The Link”.

Admiral Domvile’s son Barry had not been intended for Winchester, being meant for Dartmouth and a naval career. However, he failed to get into the Navy owing to defective eyesight, and so went to Winchester instead. In his five years at the school, he made many friends and got into Sixth Book. He distinguished himself as a runner, running for the school against the Achilles Club in his last two years. On leaving, he studied in Germany from 1935 to 1936, and then went into the City.

When war broke out he was engaged in banking at Preston, with United Dominions Trust Ltd. Having joined the TA in May 1939, he was gazetted to a commission in the Lancashire Yeomanry, Royal Artillery, on August 24th 1939, and mobilized a week later in Liverpool.   In 1940 the Lancashire Yeomanry would be designated 106 Royal Horse Artillery.  A fellow officer in the unit was John Colpoys Haughton (F, 1926-1932), who would later be killed in the evacuation from Greece  (see individual entry).

In July 1940 Domvile was promoted to Lieutenant and in August 106RHA  took part in Wavell’s successful campaign against the Italians, culminating in the victory at Beda Fomm, although Domvile was not present. He was OC F Troop which was some way behind.

3/106 RHA were then dispatched to Greece where their job was to defend the harbours around Athens although it appears there was little for them to do.      There are no war diaries for the unit for April 1941 but other sources indicate that on 23rd April 3/106 RHA, with Domvile, were at Kriekouki to the west of Athens with  4 New Zealand Brigade, acting as rearguard for Commonwealth forces.      After the German invasion of Greece 3/106 RHA were evacuated from the beaches east of Athens on 27th April,  boarding a destroyer which took them to Crete where they disembarked at Suda Bay.

When German parachute troops landed on 20th May they were rapidly defeated in key areas but the defenders at the airstrip at Maleme did not manage to hold it and this enabled the Germans to fly in reinforcements.   From the moment that Maleme fell the defence of Crete was doomed and 106 RHA began its second retreat in the space of a month.  The mountain road and track to the evacuation point on the beach at Sphakia on the south coast of Crete witnessed scenes of considerable chaos, and Domvile was killed in the final stages of the retreat, in the hills above Sphakia, on 28th May 1941.  He was twenty four years old and has no known grave.

In June he was reported missing in Crete and in March 1942 he was posted as “missing, believed killed, June 1941”.    His obituary in The Times in April 1942 stated that  “he is believed to have been killed by a bomb on June 2nd 1941”.  The CWGC records his date of death as 28th May 1941.

He is commemorated on Face 3 of the Athens Memorial in the Phaleron War Cemetery.

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Domvile
  • Forenames or initials: Barry
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1930-1935
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Royal Artillery
  • Date of Birth: 8th January 1917
  • Date of Death: 28th May 1941
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner G1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on the Athens Memorial, Phaleron War Cemetery: Face 3