Charles came from Regimental connections, his uncle being killed in the 3rd Hussars at Alamein.

Maj C Clarke
Maj C Clarke

He was born in 1940 and brought up in the country life by his mother and grandparents near Bath and Ireland.

He graduated with Honours in History and English at Cambridge, then had a year at Grenoble University which led to his love of France.

He joined ‘C’ Squadron in Detmold in 1962 and took full part in the Regiment’s hectic 1960s: 1965 Catterick (Assistant Adjutant), with horse and hunting; 1966 Berlin with ‘A’ Squadron; then to Maresfield, from which to Bahrein briefly and Aden.

He was a fine officer – and very popular, especially with various soldiers whom he defended with skill at Court Martial.

In 1967 he left the Army to try agriculture but rejoined a year later back in Maresfield. He then went with ‘A’ Squadron to Singapore where he qualified in Airportability and Forward Air Controlling and, as one of our intellectuals, enjoyed nothing more than historical debates with Rhodes Scholar gunner who lived in our Mess. Soon after this, he became the Army Instructor at the Royal Navy College Dartmouth.

On return, he commanded HQ Squadron in Hohne, including the 1973 Northern Ireland tour, and took the Squadron to Bovington as Admin and Depot Squadron.

The final part of his career was in Northern Ireland, first as SO2 Community Relations and later as LO to the RUC.

He left again in 1979 to live in County Armagh on a smallholding. Here he became a horse event photographer and chef d’equipe of the Northern Ireland Pony Club Event team.

At about the same time he bought an old farmhouse in the Ardeche in France which he restored, and used to spend many happy months there every year for more than twenty years, where he became engrossed in petanque or boules.

Later he was the founder, manager, coach and chief bottle washer for the Irish national petanque team (an eclectic mix of Irishmen and French waiters working in restaurants in Belfast) and led them in at least two world championship competitions in Mauritius and Italy.

He died on the 21st of May after a long illness borne with his usual humour. We have lost a good friend and Hussar.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars
  2. Aden 1967