Major John Ogier died on 15th August 1977, in hospital at Haywards Heath, Sussex, following a car accident the previous evening. He was only 56.

John was educated at St. Edwards School, Oxford and afterwards was apprenticed to the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge.

He joined the 4th Queens Own Hussars in Egypt in the latter half of 1941; he was one of a notable intake of subalterns who arrived about that time to replace the ravages which the regiment had suffered in Greece earlier in the year. John served with the regiment throughout the war either in ‘A’ or ‘B’ Squadron and commanded ‘B’ Squadron from early 1944.

He was wounded in the Western Desert campaign and mentioned in Despatches.

In Italy, he was again mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Military Cross for gallant leadership and devotion to duty.

After Sir Winston Churchill, then Colonel of the 4th Hussars was defeated in the 1945 General Election, John was made his ADC when Sir Winston spent some weeks of relaxation at Field Marshal Alexander’s villa, Villa D ‘Este at Lake Como, Italy. This appointment was not an easy one to fulfil but it says much for John’s resourcefulness, tact and personality that he remained a close friend of Sir Winston until Winston’s death. He also remained a friend of Lady Churchill whilst Lady Soames (Mary Churchill ) personally paid her respects to his family after his death.

As a soldier, John was always a leader be it of his troop or his squadron. It is doubtful if anyone of any rank ever held a grudge against, or said unkind words about, John. Surely there are few people about whom this can be said.

Of all the wartime officers who joined the regiment in the last war, it was John who had most of the attributes of a cavalry officer, although he did not ride. If he had and if he had joined the regiment in peacetime it is probable he would have ridden as fearlessly to hounds as he later drove racing cars.

When the regiment arrived in Italy early in 1944 John Ogier and Peter Crichton were both commanding sabre squadrons. For all their contemporaries at that time it is sad that both should pass away in the same year.

John became engaged to Wymond Paull during the Italian campaign. They were married as soon as John was released by Sir Winston on their return to England from Lake Como and Monte Carlo. John and Wymond had two sons and two daughters, the elder son, Michael, serving as a subaltern in the regiment from 1965 to 1968. John was married a second time to Patricia Merritt; they had one daughter. In all John left five children and four grandchildren.

After the war John’s enormous energy and enthusiasm involved him in a variety of activities from motor racing with its resultant accidents, one of which was nearly fatal; to farming; to founding a food industry; to industrial and commercial design, and latterly to helping establish an organisation — TRUE MID — whose main objects are to improve industrial relations and to try and rescue the country from self-inflicted wounds.

In all his activities John not only made friends but gave many of them tremendous, encouragement and at times inspiration. It is perhaps not surprising that at his Memorial Service on 16th September 1977, at St. James’ Piccadilly in London there were over 500 people present.

John Vaughan

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Middle East (Egypt and Libya) timeline
  3. Italy 1943-5 timeline
  4. Citation and Award for the Military Cross: Maj JLE Ogier