‘Geordie’ Wanless died on 6 February 2002 a month before his 81st birthday.
He was originally a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve but in May 1939 at age 18 enlisted in the Regular Army for a term of six years with the Colours and six on the Reserve.
He was initially posted to the Royal Armoured Corps at Catterick, joining The 51st Training Regiment in October of that year and in July 1940 was mustered as driver/operator in the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry.
In April 1942 he transferred to the 4th Hussars in North Africa serving with ‘B’ Squadron and moving with them into Italy in May 1944. He served as 2nd Troop leader’s wireless operator throughout the campaign.
At the end of hostilities, he returned to the UK in January 1946 remaining with B Reserve until recalled to the Colours in the 8th Hussars in August 1950.
He served with them in Korea returning home in December 1951 and being placed on the Z Reserve until the expiry of his 12 years’ service.
His military conduct is confirmed as ‘exemplary’ and his testimonial states: “This man is a Regular and has served continuously since May 1939, during which time he has given loyal service. He is a hardworking and reliable man whose work and conduct have been excellent. He is courteous, honest and of sober habits. A competent driver and wireless operator.’
Geordie Wanless was everything his testimonial states and more. I was extremely fortunate to have him as a member of my troop and more particularly as a member of my own crew.
The situation of a wireless operator trapped beyond the breech of the 75 in a single cupola Sherman was not an enviable one, but Cpl Wanless was efficiently personified in his dual role.
He had a quiet, dry and irrepressible sense of humour even in the most trying of times. He was immensely proud of his Regiment. He was a good man and a loyal 4th Hussar.