The news that reached England from South Africa in July of the death on the 1st June 1978, of Dick Hidden following a stroke a few days earlier will cause great sadness to his friends – which means to everyone who had the good fortune to know him, because he had no enemies.
These grievous tidings came in a letter from his wife Pat, whom he first met in Durban in 1941 when he was delayed for some weeks on his way by sea to join the 4th Hussars in Egypt to replace some of the enormous losses the Regiment had suffered in Greece. Dick returned to South Africa as soon as possible after he had been demobilised and married Pat in September 1946.
South Africa remained his home until his death.
During the four years Dick Hidden was with the Regiment he served as a Troop Leader in ‘A’ Squadron, as second-in-command of ‘C’ Squadron (during which time he was Mentioned in Despatches) and later as Squadron Leader of ‘HQ’ Squadron.
In addition, he held during his service two most important Regimental positions. He was Signals Officer during the Desert Battles in 1942 when an efficient system of communications was vital and Technical Adjutant in 1943/44 when the Regiment was re-equipped with Shermans prior to its move to Italy.
Everything Dick undertook was done with great enthusiasm and thoroughness and with a cheerfulness that was infectious. These attributes obviously stood him in good stead in his post-war civilian life in South Africa where, entirely on his merits, he rose from the lower echelons of a big company engaged in the manufacture of Safety glass to become its Overseas Sales Director.
Some of his former colleagues had the pleasure of meeting Dick and Pat when they visited the U.K. during the European tour in 1975 and it was a joy to see how little he had changed either in appearance or manner.
One of his former Squadron Leaders aptly sums up Dick’s great and endearing qualities when he says ‘He was such a nice chap, everybody’s friend, extrovert, jovial and given to mimicry. Besides his joviality, he was conscientious, energetic and reliable and popular, both with his brother Officers and the men who served under him‘. Anyone who heard Dick giving a rendering of either Mussolini or Gigli will subscribe to the view that he had the gift, amongst many others, of mimicry.