John died on 28 February 1999, aged 69.
The son of a Royal Artillery Riding Master, he first joined the Service in April 1947, when he joined the Royal Air Force, serving with them until October 1952. In November 1952 he joined the Irish Guards but only stayed with them for three months.
In May 1953 he was on the move again, this time joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force, with whom he served for two years. In September 1958 he enlisted in the RAC, joining the 16th/5th Lancers.
In May 1959 he joined the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in Hohne. He was appointed Lance Corporal in May 1960. He returned with the Regiment to Mooltan Barracks, Tidworth in June 1961. He flew to Aden in October 1961.
In May 1962 he did a cook’s course in Nairobi, prior to becoming a Regimental cook. He sailed with the Regiment from Aden to Penang in late September 1962.
In February 1963 he flew to Kuching and served two months there. In February 1964 he returned to Kuching for another two months. He was promoted to Corporal in May 1964. He returned to the UK in September 1964 and, after leave, joined the Regiment in Wolfenbuttel.
In November 1964 he was posted as a cook to the Officers’ Mess where presided the legendary Sgt Bill Holden, who was renowned for the alcohol content of his sauces.
Being teetotal, John did not monitor the preparation of these creations but simply added measures as he considered appropriate which, on occasions, proved excessive even by Sgt Bill’s lavish standards. Perhaps fearing for the sobriety of his officers, the Commanding Officer invited John to become his batman!
A devout, kindly and generous man, with strong moral principles, he was held in high esteem by all who came into contact with him, including one particular soldier whom he knocked out for failing to comply with his request to cease swearing in front of him.
He returned to the UK, Perham Down, with the Regiment in January 1968. He took his discharge in April 1969 from Bovington.
He returned to his home town of Reading, where for many years he nursed his sick mother. Although unmarried he took a great interest in the growing families of his many brothers and sisters, by whom he was greatly loved and who came to regard him as a wise patriarchal figure. He took employment on security duties and as a traffic warden.
He was very proud to be an Irish Hussar and was a regular attendee at the Cavalry Memorial Parade and Service and kept in close touch with Home Headquarters.