John Graham, the 17th Laird of Fintry, died suddenly while exercising his old springer spaniel Tosca, on a bright summer’s morning last August.

John spent the early part of his life in Canada where he was evacuated at the beginning of the war and on returning at the end of hostilities was sent to Millfield and Haileybury before passing into Sandhurst in January 1950.

In August 1951 he was commissioned into the 8th Hussars and posted to Luneburg Germany to join the Regiment which had just returned from Korea. After serving as a troop leader for four years he was posted to the British Military Mission in Baghdad to train the Iraqi Army to drive five Centurion
tanks, a gift from the British Government. This number was then increased to 100 but John, as a temporary captain, was considered too junior to have such increased responsibility and was replaced by a more senior member of the Regiment, Col George Strachan!

It was during this tour that he met and married Beryl King. On returning to England John attended the long technical course at the School of tank Technology at the RAC Centre and after a short period with the Regiment returned again to the centre as an instructor at the D and M School.

In 1963 he rejoined the Regiment in Malaysia to command HQ Squadron and after the Regiment finished its tour in the Far East he returned with them for a short period in Wolfenbuttel.

He was called in 1965 to work with the HQ FARELF exercise planning team in Singapore and Bangkok, returning to the UK early the following year. Finally, before retiring in 1968, John’s last appointment was as DAA and QMG HQ Southern Command under a previous Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Brig
George Butler.

On leaving the Army he first went briefly into the property business joining Lord Radnor in the Estate Agency market, but this was not for him. John had always taken a great interest in people, particularly in the advancement of the young, and he was approached by a firm known as the ‘Knightsbridge Tutors’ based in Chelsea which at the time ailing.

This was an organisation offering private tuition to students working for university exams, principally Oxbridge and A level re-takes.

After a short time John, with his wise counsel, leadership and drive, helped the business to re-establish itself and as a result, the owners invited him to take it over. This he did with great enthusiasm and continued to develop the school, supported by Beryl, even employing as an instructor a past member of the Regiment, namely Dick Randall. Over 1,000 pupils passed through his hands.

After his retirement in 1989, he pursued his great interest in history, in particular research, where he would often carry out work for those wanting to know about their family background, and in this respect was in much demand.

The Regimental Museum also made use of his expertise and he was always ready to spend considerable time researching in great depth about individuals or past actions where records were lacking.

Outside this, he was chairman of his local parish council for five years and took a keen interest in the community and particularly the countryside where he was an accomplished shot.

John was a quiet upstanding man of great kindness, full of fun and of complete integrity always ready to help someone in need. He was held in great affection by all those privileged to have known him.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  3. Malaya and Borneo 1962-64