In 1971 Aged 18 Michael Charles Lavery was selected for The Queen’s Own Hussars and went to The RAC Training Regiment at Catterick.

Capt M Lavery
Capt M Lavery

The Trg Regiment was QDG but his intake Tp Ldr was a Queen’s Own Hussar, Capt Rory More O’Ferrel. Passing out from Catterick he joined the regiment in Hohne going to ‘C’ Sqn and 1st troop.

He was quick-witted, absorbed information easily and started to acquire Tank skills that made him a proficient and reliable crewman.

An Operational tour of Northern Ireland – the first of three – gave him a good experience as did a tour to Canada and in 1974 the Regiment was posted back to England and Bovington in Dorset as the RAC Centre Regiment.

It was a great period of his young military life in Heavy Track Troop but also a very stable time in his personal life because of course he met and married Mary Blackhurst on 30 June 1975.

In 1976 the Regiment was settled back in Germany and Hobart Barracks Detmold, with the Lavery family happily established in their Married Quarter on the Hakedahl.

However many will not forget the Regimental 2nd team football match on the airfield where his ankle was so badly broken. A break that eventually healed leaving him with a severe limp, but it never stopped him from doing anything – A lot of us might have thrown in the towel at that point, but not Mick, in fact, it made him even more determined to be medically FE.

Another tour of Northern Ireland followed with Mick now a Corporal, but on his return he was moved along with soldiers from all the Sqns’ to the Newly formed ‘D’ Sqn where he really flourished.

In his time in ‘D’ Sqn he was the Sigs Sgt to 3 Sqn Ldrs, Mike Butler, David Jenkins and JJ McNulty III from the US Army. He was highly regarded by all of them and the Sqn became eternally grateful for Mick’s perceptive understanding of his Leaders’. His ability to head problems off at the pass and bring calm to the turret was legendary.

In 1982 we were on the move again, to Catterick this time to become the RAC Training Regiment and for him a job running Ph 1 Signals courses for young recruits.

In 1985 the regiment returned to his original stamping ground Hohne and he again to ‘D’ Sqn. Not long after that further promoted to SSgt and a Troop Leader slot where his calm demeanour and professional approach to tank soldiering made him an absolute asset to his Sqn Ldr. He had also got the bug for Golf when we were in Catterick, and on the move became a valuable member of Hohne Golf Club.

In 1987 he was posted to the Army Careers Office in Birmingham. For Mick it was a grand job where his communication skills came to the fore and set a marker for his future. Returning to the regiment in ‘89 Mick was promoted to WO2 and appointed RSWO to his Commanding Officer who had been his Sqn Ldr in ‘D’ Sqn.

It was during a six-month Cyprus UN tour in 1991, with Mick as the RQMS in the SBA, that we learned the news of amalgamation, and so began a busy period where focus and flexibility were required. It was during this period that the 2 RQMSs came into their own distributing a Regiment’s worth of equipment to the corners of the Military Empire.

And so in 1993 the regiment amalgamated in Fallingbostel and, having carried the Guidon on the Amalgamation parade for the last time he left BFG with Mary to settle in Sunderland. Mick went back to the Recruiting world, initially at ACIO Sunderland and then on the Long Service List as the Group Warrant Officer of Northumberland Tyne and Wear working out of Newcastle.

He was promoted to WO1 and appointed Ops WO in the HQ in York, effectively the RSM of Recruiting in the NE. He had swapped Radios and Signals for Physical communication and IT. He was adept at both and made the wheels turn smoothly in an ever-changing recruiting world.

In 2010 He was selected for Commissioning into the Royal Engineers working from a base in Gateshead as the Regimental Operations Support Officer (ROSO) in the rank of Captain.

However, there comes a time in a Soldier’s life when decisions have to be made and after much deliberation, he called time on his Army career.

The thread of his selflessness was not to end there as he secured a job with Gateshead Council as a Veterans Outreach Worker and as a Voluntary SSAFA Caseworker. It was sadly during this period that he was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour and the Lavery family did absolutely everything in their power, and left no stone unturned, to make him well again, but sadly after so much fighting that was not to be.

Related topics

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