John, but always known as Jack in the Regiment was born in Chester on 15 May 1917 and died on 15 July 2004.

Maj JS Sutherland, MBE
Maj JS Sutherland, MBE

As a boy, he was very much involved with the local church, St John’s, where he was in the choir and a server. On leaving school he worked on the railways and later he never ceased remarking on the present-day state of them, saying… ‘It was never like that in my day’.

He joined the Cheshire Yeomanry in 1934 and mobilised with them at the outbreak of World War Two.

Until 1941 the Yeomanry remained as a horsed cavalry regiment and he served as a troop sergeant and troop leader with his beloved horse, Tommy, in the Syrian campaign, against the Vichy French.

He knew the horse’s name because when he received it before leaving England there was a note attached to the mane from the lady who owned him saying that was his name and requesting that great care should be taken to look after Tommy which Jack faithfully did. To prove it to the lady he later sent a photograph of Tommy and himself. They took part in the last mounted charge of the Cheshire Yeomanry and indeed of the British Cavalry.

In 1943 he was commissioned and served with the Royal Tank Regiment, the Derbyshire Yeomanry and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.

He joined the 7th Hussars in Luneburg in Germany in 1949 as transport officer later becoming Technical Adjutant in Fallingbostel. His daughters Janet and Anne were born in the military hospitals in Hamburg and Hanover.

After a tour at the Gunnery School in Lulworth, he rejoined the Regiment in Hong Kong to command Headquarters Squadron which he did for an exceptionally long tour – six years – because he was so good at it.

Among his many achievements, he was the regimental football officer for 12 years including winning the Cavalry Cup.

His high standards of leadership and dedicated service were recognised with the award of an MBE in 1961.

On retirement in 1962, he was appointed to set up the newly formed Home Headquarters of the Queen’s Own Hussars in Warwick. As ‘OIC HHQ’ (as the job was then entitled) he was directly under the commanding officer as the ‘fifth squadron leader’, albeit with a squadron of one – Shirley Moore. He tackled this new job with tremendous enthusiasm and dedication to duty.

Apart from already knowing the Regiment and the Old Comrades so well he established strong links with a succession of Lord Mayors and the City of Birmingham, the police, the Yeomanry, Cadet Force, the Recruiters and the Polish Ex-Servicemen.

Jack was a great communicator and he must have been known, and admired, by literally thousands of people.

He established the Regimental Museum in the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick and was tireless in his efforts to improve it. As far as the Regiment was concerned nothing was too much trouble for him and he attended to everything with gusto and efficiency that left many breathless. He made things happen.

He must have driven countless miles, often at night, to ensure the Regiment was represented throughout Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Of course, it was his style to tread on a few toes but only briefly and he was always quickly forgiving. He had an impish sense of humour. Look at photographs of him and you see a smiling man. Jack retired as Regimental Secretary on 15 May 1982.

In his last 20 years of retirement, he continued to support the Regiment as long as he was fit and able.

However, in recent years Jack was incapacitated more and more by severe arthritis and his failing health prevented him from attending regimental functions.

The local community had become increasingly important to him and he became a founder member of the Leamington Lions Club serving as President from 1982-83. He retired from the club in 1985.

He was the President of the Coventry Troop and enjoyed their functions.

Jack was a man of many talents. Perhaps his greatest talents were his deep interest in and concern for the welfare of his fellow men and women together with an utter devotion to the Regiment. He set us a fine example.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 7th Hussars