To those of us who were listening to the radio in the early morning of 16 May 1977, the news of Hugh Lovett’s death on the previous day, whilst piloting a helicopter at Biggin Hill, came as a remarkable shock one which was made the starker by seeing later in the papers the grotesque pictures of the mid-air collision.

It is mercifully seldom in peacetime that these pages have to contain the obituaries of the young-Hugh was only 33—but, when they do, there are so many of all ages that remember, and one attempts merely to set down that which we all already know.

It is only two numbers ago in the Journal that a valete was written when Hugh left the Regiment, and it would be superfluous to outline his career and achievements again; he was also a frequent contributor to the Journal himself and his escapades described in his witty articles are thus noted for posterity.

Hugh lived life to the full. He regarded it as his personal task to ensure that the young officers shared his enthusiasm, and he moulded them to the best traditions of the Regiment with convenient disregard for the fact that he had been so shaped himself!

He loved soldiering, but never really came to terms with playing soldiers, as we do in B.A.O.R.; he loved to paint (it was in his blood), but was not quite ready to devote his life entirely to painting; he loved the horse, but was not to his satisfaction able to give enough of his time to sport; he loved flying and died because he did.

Perhaps it was because a family and a regimental tragedy had been shared for a moment by the nation, but Hugh’s death affected us all most particularly: it reminded us that we can never know how long we will be given to achieve our ambitions, and Hugh has set an example in an endeavour which should serve to inspire us to strive the harder ourselves.

He was buried in Somerset in an idyllic setting, which he would have appreciated, and the overflowing church at Corfe bore witness to his host of friends.

To his family, and in particular to his father and sister, we extend our warmest sympathy, as we do to the families of his young passengers who died with him as he imbued them with the same joyful spirit of adventure with which he was blest.

Related topics

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