Peter Cavendish was born on 26th August 1925 and was educated at Winchester. He was called up in April 1944 and was commissioned into the Royals on 1st July 1945. He was immediately posted to Palestine to join the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

In May 1946 when The 3rd Hussars took over the reconnaissance role Peter received a regular commission in the Regiment.

In June 1948 he was appointed as ADC to the Commander of the 6th Airborne Division with whom he moved to the RMA Sandhurst when the latter took over as Commandant in September 1948.

He remained in this appointment until returning to The 3rd Hussars at the beginning of 1950. Whilst at Sandhurst as ADC he officially had no direct responsibility for cadets but the officer who included The 3rd Hussars in his area of responsibility delegated the role to Peter and this was when I first met him.

He returned to The 3rd Hussars in January 1950 and I was lucky enough to be posted as a troop leader to ‘B’ Squadron where he was the Second Captain. One soon learned that he didn’t suffer fools gladly but at the same time he had a great sense of humour and was supportive of everything one was trying to do.

In the Autumn of 1951, he became Adjutant and I was lucky enough to serve as his Assistant Adjutant for some of the time whilst he was in this role; once again I broadened my military experience quite considerably.

Thereafter his career followed the normal pattern of postings to the staff and periods at Regimental Duty. In 1955 he attended the Staff College and from 1958 to 1961 was DAQMG at HQ Eastern Command Canada. On his return to the UK, he became 2i/c to the Regiment until he joined the RAC Directorate as GSOII.

In June 1965 his career changed direction when he was selected to Command 14/20H, joining them initially as 2i/c.

He held this appointment in Libya and in BAOR until he was appointed Colonel GS at Headquarters BAOR. At the end of 1971 he was promoted Brigadier and was appointed Commandant RAC Centre. Following relinquishment of this appointment he attended the National Defence College Canada.

In 1975 he was appointed Secretary to the International Military Staff in Brussels, an appointment he held until 1978 when he took over as Chairmen of the Military Agency for Standardisation in the rank of Major General; an appointment he held until his retirement in Autumn 1981.

Whilst in Brussels he was also Honorary Colonel of the 14/20 Hussars.

It was at times difficult to fill this appointment as a serving officer especially against the background of the importance and demands of his post in Brussels. He was, however, able to call upon the assistance of Peter Clarke, with whom he had served in The 3rd Hussars, who was able to relieve him of some of he day to day responsibilities, especially in the area of interviewing potential officers.

In retirement Peter maintained his close association with the Army, holding the appointments of Honorary Colonel of the Mercian Yeomanry from 1981 to 1986 and Colonel Commandant Yeomanry from 1986 to 1990. In both these appointments he was held in high regard.

He received the OBE in 1969 and was appointed a CBE in 1981.

Peter died on 24 October 2011.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars