It was with genuine sorrow that all 3rd Hussars heard of the death, towards the end of 1957, of Lt Col F. R. Burnside at the age of almost 82 years.

“Birdie” joined the Regiment in Lucknow in 1900. having been commissioned a few months previously with the CLI in South Africa. Moving back to South Africa with the Regiment, he went through the South African War with them being awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with five clasps.

In 1904 he went to Somaliland and was seconded until 1910 to the K.A.R., gaining the African General Service Medal and clasp for the Somaliland Campaign from 1908 to 1910.

After two years at Regimental duty, he was seconded to the Southern Rhodesian Volunteers from 1912 to 1915, when he went to France. There he held various Staff Appointments and served in France and the Army of the Rhine until 1919.

For his service in German West Africa and France, he was awarded the D.S.O. and was mentioned five times in despatches.

In 1919 he was posted to a Staff Appointment in India, being promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel.

In 1924 he returned to the Regiment as Second-In-Command to Colonel P. V. Kelly. and succeeded him in command of the Regiment in 1925 in Cairo.

He commanded until 1929 when he handed over the Regiment to Colonel W. R . Tylden-Wright in Lucknow in exactly the same station and barracks in which he had himself joined them twenty-nine years before.

Perhaps to those who knew “Birdie” best and who had the privilege of serving with him, he exemplified above all others that true and well-known saying. “Once a 3rd Hussar, always a 3rd Hussar.” The Regiment came first in both his and Mrs Burnsides’ lives, and on retirement, he gave up a tremendous amount of time and put in an enormous amount of hard work to write that extremely able, accurate and readable book. “A Short History of the 3rd Hussars.”

For many years too he was a stalwart of the 3rd Hussars Council in England, and also its very able secretary, carrying on the traditions of the Regiment at home.

He was a very keen and efficient soldier and polo player, who stood for everything that was the best in Regimental soldiering, and his standards were of the highest. He never overlooked the smallest detail, and woe betide anybody who fell below those standards while he was commanding.

Behind his rather fierce exterior there lurked one of the kindest of hearts. Any 3rd Hussar’s trouble, officer or other rank, was his trouble; any 3rd Hussar’s success gave him outstanding joy, while any failure he believed to be his own personal fault.

The Regiment has lost a real friend and 3rd Hussar, who stood for everything that was the best in Regimental soldiering, and to whom tradition and past record were the only standard for the present and the future.

Related topics

  1. A Short History of The 3rd Hussars