Eric was born in York in 1935. Following his early schooling, he trained as a Vehicle Mechanic before enlisting in the Army in 1953.
After his basic training, he joined the 7th Hussars in 1954 going with them to Hong Kong that year.
As a young and enthusiastic soldier, his ability as a technical storeman was soon recognised and he was quickly promoted to lance corporal in 1955 and corporal in 1956, which was the start of his long and illustrious career in the Quartermaster Technical Department.
Our return home to Tidworth saw the amalgamation of 3H and 7H on 3 November 1958. Eric was the Full Dress Sword Orderly on the Amalgamation Parade and can be seen in the painting of the parade. In 1959 he was promoted to sergeant and in 1960 he headed the tech stores element of the Regiment which joined ‘C’ Squadron and who were the first contingent of an armoured Regiment ever to go to Aden.
As the buildings in their new camp had not been completed, the Squadron spent some time living in tents, in the desert, in a heat that was at times unbearable. Eric survived all this and his only qualm was that he did not think the ‘keep fit’ squadron policy of running around the desert enhanced
his ability to keep the Squadron supplied with essential stores for man and vehicle.
‘C’ Squadron rejoined the Regiment in Munster in February 1961 with Eric returning to the tech stores.
In 1962 Eric was posted to the Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry in Warwick. It was here he met Jackie and they were married in Coventry on 12 October 1963.
Eric returned to the Regiment in 1965. From here he started a move with the Regiment serving in Catterick, a second tour on active service in Aden and then a return to Hong Kong with ‘C’ Squadron after gaining his promotion to staff sergeant. ‘C’ Squadron rejoined the Regiment in Hohne in 1970 with Eric returning to the tech stores.
In 1972 he was awarded his LS and GC Medal, promoted to warrant officer and appointed Regiment Quartermaster Sergeant (Technical). He then moved to Bovington with the Regiment as the RQMS (T) and, where, after 17 years he moved out of the tech stores to become the Motor Transport Officer after receiving his richly deserved commission in 1975.
In 1976 he moved, as MTO, with the Regiment to Detmold.
Promoted to captain in 1977 Eric was given a break from Regimental life with a posting to Aberdeen University Officers’ Training Corps where he had a trio of jobs being the Adjutant/QM/Paymaster. Eric returned to the Regiment in 1979 to be the QM(T).
In 1982 Eric left his beloved tech stores for the last time when he was appointed Quartermaster of the Regiment. When the Regiment left Detmold for Catterick in 1983 Eric remained with the rear party to hand over the barracks and an ageing fleet of Chieftain Tanks to 4/7 RDG. He must have done a good job because when he rejoined the Regiment at Catterick he had been promoted to major.
On 3 November 1983, the Regiment celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Queen’s Own Hussars. A special cake made for the occasion, by the Army Catering Corps, was cut by the Colonel and then by the longest-serving soldier on parade, the Quartermaster Maj Eric Elcock.
In early 1984 Eric would leave the Regiment for the last time on posting as the Camp Commandant Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, Chertsey.
Eric’s final posing in the Army was as OIC Call forward Cell, Recruit Selection Centre, Sutton Coldfield. He left the Army in 1990 having served 37 years with 27 of those years being in the Regiment. I believe that Eric may have been the only technical storeman in the Regiment to advance from trooper to warrant officer through the technical store, then become Quartermaster Technical of that department and, finally, the ultimate appointment,
Quartermaster of the Regiment – a feat most soldiers can only dream about.
Eric was a keen follower of field sports and in hockey played at troop and squadron level. He was a member of the ‘C’ Squadron hockey team who swept the board in all the Minor Units competitions during their tour in Hong Kong. He also enjoyed playing darts and dominos. At Hohne in 1972, the valiant Eric was awarded a trophy for the three-dart maximum score of 180 during the final of the Three Chevrons Darts League presentations. His interest in horse racing was always marked by a visit to his native York course for the Ebor meeting. Champagne was the order of the day providing Eric was backing the winning horses.
In the mid-seventies, Eric caught the golfing bug as it spread through the Officers’ and Sergeants’ Messes. It became very addictive and was known as ‘infantry polo’. Once Eric got the knack of hitting the ball further up the fairway than the turf divot, he enjoyed many happy days on golf courses in Germany, Canada and the UK.
Throughout his career in the tech stores, Eric’s contribution was always of the very highest standard. He never suffered fools gladly and many Troop Leaders and sergeants have left his stores with ‘a flea in their ear’ when trying to pull the wool over his eyes regarding items of equipment they could not account for.
As the Quartermaster his objective was to serve the Regiment ensuring that everything needed was available for whatever task they were asked to perform. Eric’s wealth of experience, integrity and good sense earned him not only the respect of everybody in the Regiment but also that of other military personnel he had to deal with.
Eric and Jackie finally settled in Upper Quinton where, over the years, their family increased with red setter dogs and a cat named Archie. As Archie was very independent and preferred to go ‘walkies’ on his own, he soon became Eric’s favourite pet.
Eric found employment with Debenhams as their chief stock controller and maintenance manager (the civilian equivalent of a quartermaster). Eric’s past experience of how to organise and run a store soon came to the fore and he was highly admired and respected by all around him. When asked what he did at
Debenhams, Eric’s witty reply would be that he worked in the ladies’ lingerie department.
Eric continued playing golf and dominos, encouraging members of Jackie’s family to join him in a game of dominos one Friday of each month at a pub venue. Eric’s visits to York included a trip to Scarborough for the annual Elcock family challenge on the golf putting green, a game of dominos and a supper of fish and chips washed down with a few jugs of ale.
Eric was much loved throughout the two Regiments he served with. His jollity, laughter and wonderful sense of humour made him a fun person to be with. He will be sadly missed by all those who had the good fortune to have known him and serve with him.