David Cormack was born in London on 9th February 1934 and was educated at Edgeborough Prep School before going on to Bradfield College in September 1947, where he became first a house prefect and then a school prefect. Academically David was unremarkable, but he was a very talented and successful sportsman.

Maj D Cormack
Maj D Cormack

He played in the College cricket Ist XI, excelling as wicketkeeper and batsman, and was also in the College Football XI. He was also in the fives team which beat the Marlborough, Tonbridge and Winchester teams in his last term – notwithstanding the master’s comment: “On his day he hits the small ball beautifully but is apt to be careless on occasions!”

On leaving school David spent 6 months in the ranks before joining Sandhurst in March 1953. much to his credit, he managed to complete the Officer Cadet parachute course at Abingdon (known as the Edward Bear Club) during his academy training.

He was commissioned in August 1954 into The 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars.

While on his Young Officers’ course at Bovington, David showed characteristic style by seizing every opportunity to spend the weekend in London. On one of these, he volunteered to drive a brother officer back to Bovington late one Sunday night, having dragged him out of a nightclub.

As he was driving back, his inebriated passenger opened the car door and tried to jump out! He had apparently broken up with his fiancée and was in a terrible state. David, chivalrous as always, put his passenger back in the car and roped up the door aided by a policeman. On arriving at Lulworth his passenger subsequently went to his room and leapt out of the window, but fortunately, there was a soft flower bed beneath!

Cornet Cormack subsequently joined the Regiment in Luneburg and soon became a very popular young officer. Often called Jack (for reasons lost in the mists of time), his laid-back charm, coupled with perfect manners and dashing good looks belied his effective, if understated, powers of leadership, and he quickly earned the respect of the soldiers in his tank troop and of his brother officers throughout the Regiment. His sporting talents were much in evidence, and he continued to be the regimental wicket keeper for The 8th Hussars and later for the Irish Hussars.

He also became a very good light middle-weight boxer in probably the best boxing team that The 8th Hussars had fielded since the war (it was no mean feat at that time for a cavalry regiment to compete successfully against units which often had twice the manpower). He also trained hard with the regimental team to compete for the Duke of Edinburgh’s inter-regimental trophy and for The 7th Armoured Division Pentathlon competition. David was also an accomplished horseman riding Window breaker, but later on, horses and marriage somehow did not really go together.

Shortly after the amalgamation of The 8th with The 4th Hussars to form The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in 1958, David and Liselotte (known as Mau) Schroeder were married in Hamburg on 8th November, a few months before he was posted as a Lieutenant to the All Arms Junior Leaders Regiment.

Much to their joy, their daughter Eileen was born shortly after their arrival in England on 28th July 1959. On promotion to Captain, he was 2I/C of HQ Squadron in Hohne, and in 1961 he saw active service with the Regiment in Aden.

When the Irish Hussars moved to the Far East David was posted to HQ 99 Gurkha Brigade in Singapore and Kuching. On returning to Europe in September 1964 he became 2 I/C of ‘B’ Squadron in Wolfenbuttel. When the Parachute Squadron RAC was established in 1966 under the command of Major Ken Bidie QRIG, David was determined to serve under him. He successfully passed the parachute course and served with the Squadron from 1966 to 1968.

After returning from an operation in the Radfan their son Alexander was born on 26 March 1967. (Alexander also served in the QRIH). On promotion to Major, he became the Parachute Squadron’s Leader until 1971, after which he was posted as GSO2 (RAC) to the School of Artillery in Larkhill. In 1973 he then returned to the Regiment in Paderborn for the last time, as Second-in-Command to Lt. Col. Brian O’Rorke.

It was here that David would demonstrate his Parachute training by diving through the mess windows, less parachute!

David left the Regiment in 1974 and served in HQ RAC 1 BR Corps before being posted to the Combat Training Centre in Brunswick Canada. His last ten years in the Army were spent as a GLO with the RAF at Laarbruch and Gutersloh where his support was much appreciated, as was that of his wife Mau.

On leaving the army in 1992 they retired to Scotland to be near their daughter Eileen and their grandchildren as well as some very good Fly

David died on 19th October 2009, having very recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.

He was always a very loyal and devoted member of the Regiment, and a good friend of many, so it is with the greatest regret that we say our final farewell.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars