Ronnie was born and brought up in the Creggan Estate in the Maiden City of Londonderry. He eventually joined the Army and was badged to The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars.
Ronnie met June who was from the Waterside and they eventually married in May 1971, they had two children, Keith and Nicola, both now married with families of their own Keith and Nicky had two girls Georgia and Heidi who were born after her granddad passed away. Nicola and Hamish also have two girls Jasmine and Bryony.
Ronnie was worried that his granddaughters would not remember him after he was gone; there is no possibility that this will happen.
On leaving the Army Ronnie and June settled in the lovely City of Chester. Ronnie soon found work and worked for a firm, IRD, where he worked for some 10 years. He then went to work for Chester City Council becoming the Town Hall Keeper; he was still in this job when he passed away.
During this time in Chester Ronnie was the Prime mover in the forming of The Chester troop of the OCA, he became Chairman and had Sir Charles Lowther as the President, both he and June were staunch members of the troop. Ronnie had many friends and I am proud to count myself as one of them.
Appended below is the Eulogy given by Capt John Muir QRIH at the funeral at Holy Trinity Church, Blacon, Chester.
“Ronnie grew up in the maiden city of Londonderry from where he joined the British Army. After basic training, he joined the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars and for the next 25 years he served in that fine regiment, a regiment he was justly proud of.
Having left the Irish Hussars Ronnie joined the TA and was commissioned and became an officer in the Cheshire Regiment.
During his time as an Irish Hussar he served in countries such as Germany, Canada, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and of course main land UK. He was recognised as someone who had great potential and frequently gained promotion and reached the rank of Warrant Officer, not many soldiers achieve that.
Ronnie used his personality and position for the benefit of others and would always ensure his soldiers were well looked after whatever the situation. He also had a sense of humour and it has been said “when the chips are down, you could always rely on Ronnie to turn up and put a smile on everyone’s face.
We had to wear these tin hats with strips of camouflaged material hanging from them, we called them our Eddie Grants. We were moving into a wood about 3 o’ clock in the morning, it was cold, wet and some of us were not having a good hair day – all of a sudden we heard a soft and quiet rendition of Eddie Grant’s I don’t want to dance filter through the woods, it was Ronnie putting that smile on all our faces.
Throughout his time in the regiment Ronnie was a keen footballer and played in his squadron team, he was often seen defending the goalmouth. I wonder what he would have said about England’s goalie on his performance in that first game. He was also involved in adventure training activities (outdoor pursuits) and was a very good canoeist.
He spent 2 years with the army youth team as an instructor during which he used his passion and enthusiasm to encourage youngsters to do something with their lives. Ronnie was also a keen photographer and could often be seen with camera in hand doing his David Bailey impression.
Ronnie had a great talent for interacting and engaging with people from all walks of life. I believe it was this attribute and his many others that endeared him to so many people. He had many, many friends, some of whom are here today and there are others who couldn’t make it.
When he passed away his close friend Tex Mackenzie put a post on the Regimental Website. The number of messages of condolence has been incredible although not surprising, this was evidence of the high esteem and regard in which Ronnie was held. The words, True Friend, Trustworthy, Mate, Gentleman, A Tragic Loss, and A True Hussar are just some of the words used by many.
One ex soldier who had never met Ronnie, wrote “I have never seen so many messages of condolence about the passing away of an Hussar on this Website. He was obviously very popular. I never met Ronnie, but I wish to God I had”.
We have all heard the saying, behind every good man there’s a good woman and June is proof of this. Despite the difficulties, the uncertainties, the pain and suffering, June remained dedicated, committed, devoted and loyal in ensuring that Ronnie would be at home with his family when the end came.
Ronnie passed peacefully away on Saturday 12 June 2010.”