Skiing, sailing, windsurfing, flying, an MG Midget, a Porsche and an enormous number of friends demonstrate perfectly Tony Kavanagh’s love of life. He was always ready to try anything new, expand his knowledge and experience and live life to the full.
Tragically, his varied and exciting life was cut short on Christmas Day 1992, when he died peacefully after a short illness in Nicosia General Hospital, Cyprus, with his wife Jo at his side.
Tony joined the Army on 30 August 1975, following school at King Edward VIth in Birmingham. After Sandhurst, he attended Southampton University, reading economics, where his love of fun and fast cars came to the fore.
He rejoined the Regiment in Detmold in July 1978, moving to ‘B’ Squadron for Troop Tests, the Summer Ball, and as he always did, skiing in Alpbach.
Tony quickly settled, setting himself the highest standards in his chosen profession. He came top on his Troop Leaders course and soon developed his interest in Gunnery.
A tour of West Belfast followed, still in ‘B’ Squadron, but his talents were spotted by the Commanding Officer, who dragged him, most reluctantly, away from his tanks to become Intelligence Officer.
In 1981 he was very nearly taken from us in a horrific traffic regular, running the ski team for a period, although in an accident in Austria. However, against all the odds, he fought his way back to full recovery and, minus his spleen, was posted to Lulworth to pass on his love of Gunnery to others.
During this period, Tony once again proved his highly professional approach; he was instrumental in the return of SWINGFIRE to the RAC and strongly argued his case for the best training aids.
Whilst at Lulworth, Tony, in addition to gaining a decided that new adventure would have to be found, passion for windsurfing, began to seek new challenges, outside the Army, and he became a diplomat, joining as he always did. Most regrettably for the Regiment, he the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
His first tour was Berlin, having brushed up his ‘O’ Level German. He had a great time in the hustle and bustle of the city, and maintained his contacts with the Regiment, and naturally, Alpbach. A period in London followed with the typical accoutrements: a house in Battersea, a fast car, and many friends.
He continued to attract exciting and demanding postings – the next was Nigeria. Again the variety of the country, different cultures and further opportunities to make new friends provided Tony with new challenges. During the tour, he met Jo, a girl with exactly the same outlook on life as his own: variety, challenges, and fun.
They married in June 1992 and returned to Nigeria to start their life together. Their posting ended in November 1992 and, so typical of the two of them, they planned a long trip back to England: Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain.
Tony became ill in Egypt, and was determined to continue the tour, but was finally admitted to a hospital in Cyprus, where he tragically died; sadly unbeknown by his old ‘B’ Squadron who were stationed in Cyprus at the time.
Tony will be sadly missed by his many friends in the Regiment, the Army and around the world. In all that he did, he was well-known for his professionalism, dedication, organizing ability and sense of fun. He will be remembered for his generosity, loyal friendship and love of adventure. Our deepest sympathies are extended to Jo and to his family.