This obituary has been written by Matthew, his son.
Lance Corporal Robert Kill started his Regular Army career in September 1952, when he joined the Royal Armoured Corps, Boys Squadron, at Bovington, near Wool, in Dorset. Here he completed his initial military training.
After his Passing Out Parade, in 1955, he left the Boys Squadron for his first Regimental posting in 1955, to join ‘His’ regiment, 3rd The Kings Own Hussars, also in Bovington. Here he joined ‘The School of Tank Technology’, to further his training in his chosen trade as an Armoured Fighting Vehicle Crew/Driver.
In 1956, he went to Aden, to serve with the Aden Protectorate Levies Armoured Car Squadron. Whilst on Active Service in Aden he was ‘attached’ to the Aden Protectorate Levies, where he assisted which driving instruction of their newly formed ‘Armoured Car Squadron’, also Armed Escort Duties, both with the A.P.L. and the RAF ground forces, also stationed in Aden.
Robert came back to England in 1958, when the regiment became The Queens Own Hussars, after amalgamation. He spent another year or so with the Queens Own Hussars, back in Germany. After further training, for the trade of Tank Driver Crewman he was posted to Germany where he completed his Gunners training in Centurion tanks, on the well-known Hohne ranges.
He left the Army in 1961 and moved to Lymington, Hampshire where he pursued a new career as an Ambulance Driver, for the Hampshire Ambulance Service. It was here, at Lymington hospital where he met Joan, who later became his dearly beloved wife.
He would often talk of his days out in Aden, and reminiscing about his adventures and ‘close shaves’ with ‘the rebels’.
One such occurrence was when his Ferret Scout Car was hit by an armour piercing shell from an enemy heavy machine gun.
Apparently, the large calibre bullet hit the offside front mudguard, went through the upper part of the front tyre tread, through a side mounted stowage bin, and ended up inside a woolly hat that was rolled up inside his mess-tins, which were in the rearmost stowage bin! A lucky escape, indeed… whoever tried to write his name on that bullet, had obviously spelt it wrong!
Another time, above the Radfan Valley, whilst negotiating an extremely steep, single track mountain pass, when escorting a convoy of Bedford, 4 ton trucks, the leading truck broke down, and as there was no way of turning round, or repairing the stricken lorry, Dad and his mates divided it’s load between the other vehicles in the convoy, and the troublesome truck was pushed ‘over the edge’ of the road, and down the sheer side of the mountain, to meet its untimely end, far below on the valley floor.
A day or so later, when returning down the same pass, they came upon the spot where the truck would have landed, only to find it had completely disappeared! No doubt stripped of useful parts, by the scavenging rebels that were responsible for the troubles in the area. A good job Dad’s patrol decided to cut their losses and get well away from the area, no telling what the outcome may have been if they’d decided to stay put and attempt a repair.
Later in life he joined the Army Cadet Force, and used his extensive military knowledge and training as an instructor, to pass on some of his skills the eager-to-learn cadets, two of which were his sons, Matthew and Richard. He was full of inspiration for all members of the Army Cadet Force young and old, alike, and spent well over 10 years working with great enthusiasm for the organisation, finishing up as a very-much respected Company Sergeant-Major.
As he got older, he still kept his interest in the Army well and truly alive, by keeping up to date with the various news stories involving the Armed Forces, visiting various military shows, museums and such, also he was an avid collector of military history books, among which we’d often find him reading particularly his favourites: ‘History of the British Cavalry’ and any books on British Armoured vehicles.
Robert did manage to get one of his last wishes granted, back in May this year, a dear friend ‘let him loose’ in a 1964 Daimler Ferret Scout Car, at a recent military show. He actually drove the armored Ferret Scout Car, one of his favourite vehicles from his Army days, in the off-road Arena, for half an hour or more! Just moments previous to this, he doubted whether he’d ever manage to even get in one again after all these years, not bad for a one- legged, old soldier, aged 74!
He carried on talking of this particular experience for days and days afterward, with a mischievous glint in his eye, almost as if he was 20 yrs old, all over again.
Robert was 74 years old when he passed away, too young to go, really…. Now, although he has gone to his final posting, with Almighty God, he will forever be in our hearts, and our memories of him will be forever happy ones…
God Bless, Dad… Goodnight.