Kenneth Hedley joined the 4th Hussars in the summer of 1943 and was posted to ‘C’ Squadron, then commanded by Porgy Archer and in which both Guy Wheeler and I were troop leaders.

Kenneth rapidly made an impact on his personality and ability felt. The Regiment was re-equipping and training at the time, and there was plenty of opportunity for sporting activity. Gezira Sporting Club was frequently entertained by the sight of Kenneth hitting sixes on the cricket field and he also excelled as a squash racquet and bridge player.

His tendency to know best about everything sometimes resulted in clashes with both the NCOs of his troop and with higher authority, but this was more than outweighed by his generosity of spirit and strong sense of duty.

In 1944 the 4th Hussars became the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of 1st Armoured Division and after some inadequate training in southern Italy, led the Division in the Gothic line battle.

‘C’ Squadron now commanded by Jack White with five troops (led by Kenneth, Sgt Mansell, myself, Claud Thompson and John Paley — with Guy Wheeler as 2nd Captain), was in the van, and very soon after the first actions, Kenneth was wounded in the eyes by an exploding mine. He was evacuated to England and did not return until May 1945.

The Regiment moved to Austria, where Kenneth greatly distinguished himself by leading a party to capture some Nazi war criminals. He was awarded the MBE.

Back in Italy, Kenneth made a huge contribution to the success of Aiello race course by becoming Clerk of the Course and working indefatigably, although this did not prevent his enjoying to the full cricket, equitation — he had a huge bay gelding called Falstaff — and the excellent restaurants and opera in Trieste.

When the 4th Hussars moved to Lubeck, Kenneth became Adjutant to George Kidston, who took over command of the Regiment. He remained in this post until we went to Malaya in 1948 and then took command of ‘C’ Squadron, where his leadership and perseverance produced admirable results.

After three years in Malaya, the Regiment returned to Tidworth for a year or so, and Kenneth was able to resume his indulgence at the race course, the bridge table and on the cricket field.

By 1953 we were at Hohne and again Kenneth made a major contribution to BAOR racing at Hannover and to regimental cricket and squash.

In 1956 he married Lucy and their house at Hohne was a haven of hospitality.

He left the Regiment before the 1958 amalgamation and soon afterwards retired from the Army.

He was in every way a big man — extremely versatile and able, liking to get his own way, but constantly taking the lead in organizing events for the enjoyment of others, a great sportsman, a most valued and distinguished member of the Regiment, and a true friend.

The Crow will always be remembered by those privileged to know him and serve with him.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Italy 1943-5 timeline
  3. Malaya 1948-51