Gordon Douglas Denholm joined the 4th Hussars in 1945 in Trieste as a driver/operator and was posted to Recce Troop.

Maj GD Denholm, BEM
Maj GD Denholm, BEM

In 1947 he moved with the Regiment to Lubeck, where he was promoted to Corporal for 30 days and then to Sergeant at the age of 19. (This may seem remarkable today, but at that time the 4th Hussars was reduced to only one squadron with just 189 all ranks, but still maintained an establishment for 60 Sergeants. Gordon recalled that Trooper was the rarest rank in the Regiment). He was then posted to the Orderly Room where he stayed for the next 15 years.

In 1949, when the Regiment was in Malaya, he married Babs, who was also in Malaya with the Women’s Royal Army Corps. The wedding was attended by members of the Officers’ and Sergeants’ Messes and the Regimental Band. As a result, the day was declared a regimental holiday by Colonel George Kidston-Montgomerie, and the Sergeants’ Mess was able to present the happy couple with $100 from the sale of empty bottles.

He was promoted to ORQMS in 1952 and awarded the BEM in 1957. In 1960 he was posted from Hohne to HQ, RAC Centre as Superintending Clerk (WO1).

He rejoined the Regiment in 1961 in Aden, where the family’s quarter in Crater was occasionally assaulted by rocks thrown by the prisoners incarcerated opposite. (Shopping in the local bazaar, Gordon was proud to have bought a genuine Rolex for £32 which he wore for the next 57 years, and is now estimated to be worth £5,000!)

After a brief spell in charge of the RAC Records Documentation Team, he returned to the Regiment, now in Malaya. He recalled how his flight from Singapore to Ipoh was delayed by an hour while he had breakfast with Colonel Noel Wall, a former 3rd Hussar and now Colonel QMov FARELF.

He was commissioned in 1964 and posted to HQ Squadron as 2IC and RHQ Troop Leader under Major John Graham. His tasks included locating lost soldiers in the jungle (when found, they always tried to disguise the fact that they had been lost), and admiring many very large butterflies while inspecting pipelines in the jungle.

After a brief posting to Mill Hill, he returned to the Regiment, now in Wolfenbuttel, where he was promoted to Acting Major by Lieutenant Colonel Ken Bidie. Perham Down and Bovington followed, and then, on reverting to Captain, he became the UK Exchange Officer with the 8th Canadian Hussars in Petawawa for the next two very happy years.

Although initially, for diplomatic reasons, he could not accompany the regiment to Quebec during the crisis in September 1970, he later rejoined them as an observer whose duties included delivering rum to the troops. Less successful, he acknowledged, were his attempts to play ice hockey.

In January 1972, he was granted a regular Quartermaster Commission and posted to Gosford Castle, Co Armagh. His last appointment was as Quartermaster of the Royal Yeomanry in Westminster and he left the Army in March 1977.

For the next five years, he was employed by Angus Fraser (formerly QRIH Adjutant in Wolfenbuttel) as Administrator to 230 Chef & Brewer pubs in Northampton. This was followed by eight years as Secretary to The Northampton & County Club.

He then spent the next 15 years in what he believed was the most satisfying job of his life as a volunteer caseworker with SSAFA (Forces Help). This also enabled him to continue with his lifelong passion for fishing (to which he had been introduced many years before by Colonel Loopy Kennard) on Graffham Water until he was 89.

Throughout his retirement, marred by the loss of Babs in 2006, he maintained contact with his military friends and was a staunch supporter of the 4th Hussars Officers’ Dining Club.

He died on the 31st of August 2018, aged 90.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  3. Aden and The Persian Gulf 1961
  4. Malaya and Borneo 1962-64