Jeremy Earle joined the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in Singapore in 1964 and was given command of 3rd Troop ‘C’ Squadron. It was a time when the regiment was busy, being heavily involved in the war which became known as Confrontation as Indonesia tried to infiltrate the British colonies of Sarawak and Sabah (both of which were to join Malaysia) as well as support a rebellion in Brunei and attempt a landing in Johore state on the Malayan mainland.
At the end of that year, the regiment moved to Wolfenbüttel near the then Inner German Border where Cornet Earle remained with his troop.
He had always been fascinated by firearms and announced to his fellow subalterns that he intended to prove that the chain mail worn on the shoulders of the No. 1 dress uniform would stop a bullet fired by a service revolver.
The demonstration took place on the top floor of the Officers’ Mess in what was known as Cornets Corridor. The chain mail was hung on the door of a room and Jeremy fired.
The chainmail failed to do its duty and the bullet sped on its way – through the door, to lodge finally in the second of two suits hanging in the cupboard of the newest joined officer. For this offence he was awarded a number of extra orderly officer duties among which was attending the regimental restaurant at meal times, enabling him to test at length the quality of the potatoes on offer, his Irish heritage making him something of an expert in this field.
A further stint with the regiment when it moved to Bovington ended when he became a helicopter pilot resulting in a tour of duty at Netheravon, a location which handily placed him close to excellent fishing and game shooting, sports in which he excelled. He was also a first-class rifle shot, so good indeed that he coached the Irish international team for some twenty years.
Operational tours, flying in Cyprus and Northern Ireland during the worst of the Troubles, were followed by a return to the regiment in Paderborn, a staff job in Aldershot and finally to command ‘B’ Squadron at
Here he proved himself to be an excellent squadron leader taking it to Cyprus for a tour of six months on the so-called Green Line (which separated Greek Cypriots from Turks), winning plaudits for the way the squadron executed its tricky duties.
In 1990 he retired, keeping up with his Irish Hussar friends through fishing trips to Scotland and Ireland, shooting expeditions and many social occasions at which his guffawing laugh echoed loudly.
Jeremy was a gentleman soldier and his friends watched with dismay as his health slowly sunk into dementia. He will be hugely missed by his contemporaries in the regiment and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Debbie, his widow, their children, Annabel, Viv and James, and the grandchildren.
Maj J. Earle died on the 23rd of September 2022. He served with QRIH from 1963-93.