Robin Greenwood, who died on 3rd May 2017, was born in Devon in January 1937, though he spent the majority of his childhood in Yorkshire.

Brig R Greenwood
Brig R Greenwood

His personality developed early, being described by a childhood friend as popular, charismatic, reckless, fun to be with, good looking and very popular with the girls, probably helped by the fact he had obtained his pilot’s licence before his driving licence! By all accounts, he was a fairly terrifying flyer and an extremely fast driver in his little MG TF.

In 1956 Robin was commissioned into the 3rd Hussars, the senior Light Cavalry regiment, serving in Iserlohn and then Munster. After the amalgamation with the 7th Hussars in Tidworth that formed The Queen’s Own Hussars, it was back to Munster.

Then from 1961 to 62, he was selected for an instructor post at the RAC Junior Leaders Regiment at Bovington. It was there he met Josephine Mylne from Godmanstone and they were married in early 1964 in Cerne Abbas.

Robin returned to the Regiment, now in Detmold as Recce Troop Leader. It was then his sporting prowess came to its fore. Determined and competitive, Robin was a gymnast, advanced swimmer and able squash player, he was in the regimental rugby team that reached the BAOR final in 1964, and a useful polo player.

Above all though, he was the initiator, with Stephen Allday and Jeremy Phipps, of The Queen’s Own Hussars alpine skiing team which over the years produced a number of Army-level skiers, two Army team captains, and won some impressive championships. Robin recruited local ski instructors who stood for no slacking, making the team walk up the hills rather than taking the ski lift.

The training was at Alpbach, where no doubt some of the traditional pranks, continue to this day. There, the Regiment formed a close and friendly association with the community and was honoured by the team being invited to be ushers at the Alpbach Christmas carol service.

With the Regiment’s move to Catterick in 1965, Robin was OC ‘B’ Vehicle Wing and driver training. This was followed by his first staff job from 1966 to 67 as GSO3 Ops Cyrenaica District in Libya. At that time we had a garrison and a large training area there, which after we left was relocated to Suffield, Canada.

Further travels in 1969 took Robin to be 2i/c ‘C’ Squadron in Hong Kong with some polo on the tough little Borneo ponies. Staff College in 1970 was followed by further operational staff work at HQ 2 Division in BAOR.

Back to regimental duty, Robin commanded ‘A’ Squadron in Detmold. For the 1973 Belfast tour, ‘A’ Squadron was in the most active patch of the regimental area, including the infamous Twinbrook Estate, with a fair amount of rioting during the summer marching season: Robin rightly earned a Mention in Despatches. He then moved the Regiment back to Bovington as 2i/c to James Rucker.

Following a further staff tour as GSO2 RAC at HQ UKLF, in late 1976 Robin took command of the Regiment in Detmold. This was a busy and happy time for the Regiment.

The Regiment took part in some major exercises, visited Canada for Ex Medicine Man in Suffield, and carried out a successful operational tour in Northern Ireland. Robin and Jo loved their time in Germany and were frequent and often successful contenders in the BAOR Hunter Trial scene, and hunted with the famous Weser Vale Hunt.

After commanding the Regiment, Robin took on several personnel and training jobs, first commanding the Combat Team Commanders Course at Warminster, and then on promotion to Colonel, the Brigade Tactical Trainer at Sennelager (now the Combined Arms Staff Trainer), here pioneering computer tactical simulation.

In 1983 he was put in charge of the Royal Armoured Corps officers’ posting branch in Stanmore; and then became a College Commander at Sandhurst, where he was said to have brought a good sense of reality!

Finally, he concluded a successful military career in the rank of Brigadier from 1990 to 1993 as Defence Attaché in Ankara. He had to learn the Turkish language which he said was a particular challenge with highly selected young specialists as classmates.

After he left the Army, Robin’s diplomatic skills led him to work as a retired officer for the MOD Defence Export Sales Organisation in London. The job involved organising visits for and entertaining foreign VIPs, a high-profile post which also involved a good deal of fine dining at the smartest London hotels.

When back in England he and Jo hunted with the South and West Wiltshire Hunt, he shot at Bovington and elsewhere, and they became keen sailors in their yacht around the South Coast and the Channel.

Robin was Founding Chairman of The Queen’s Royal Hussars Regimental Association and a Regimental Trustee ex officio from 1993 to 1997, continuing as a Regimental Trustee until 2010.

Robin was a great family man. He and Jo had two charming children: Lucinda, and Rupert who followed him into the Regiment and is now a Lieutenant Colonel.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars