From the day that he joined The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in 1964 until his untimely death in December 2012, Peter was a devoted and loyal member of the Regiment and tireless servant and steadfast pillar of the Regimental Family.
Over the years, young or old – trooper or general, many have benefitted from his wise counsel and wholehearted friendship. There can be few more familiar faces than his and few who more richly deserve to be remembered as a true Regimental Character. He worked tirelessly and meticulously when necessary but when circumstances allowed would “ride a horse, go on a spree and sing a comic song” with the best of them.
Peter Gerald Pusinelli was born at Quetta, India in 1943. He was schooled at Bradfield and Sandhurst and commissioned into The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in August 1963.
At Sandhurst he excelled at squash and academic studies but never cut a very convincing figure on the drill square due to a design fault in his knees. He was however highly respected and achieved the rank of Junior Under Officer.
He joined The Regiment in January 1964 at Nee Soon in Singapore and was sent straight out to ‘B’ Squadron in Sarawak. Under the masterful guidance of their squadron leader, “uncle” Jock Colman, and their vigilant troop sergeants, he and his fellow subalterns (Bailey, Cramsie, Paton Smith et al) led their troops on road, track and river patrols in an attempt to disrupt the activities of the insurgents from Indonesia and their supporters.
After a spell at Ipoh in Malaya he returned with the Regiment to Wolfenbuttel. Here he enjoyed almost two years with his beloved troop with only a short break to attend a Guided Weapons Controllers course at Lulworth. It was during this period that his bond with many members of his troop was established and has endured ever since.
There followed a three year Young Officers Degree course at Shrivenham which included a Military Survey element spent “springing over the White Horse Downs, theodolite at the high port and well stocked picnic hamper to hand”. It also involved frequent sorties into the hunting field with the Old Berks and others. It is possible that lectures were a welcome opportunity to catch up on sleep. During college vacations he returned to The Regiment with glee.
Next was a three year stint at Regimental duty. First as Assistant Adjutant at Bovington, then an emergency tour in Northern Ireland as a watch keeper in 39 Brigade (Ian Paisley was a frequent and fiery caller on the telephone demanding answers. PGP and his team managed to connect the Rev to dial-a-prayer during one of his fiercest outbursts).
He took over as Adjutant at Bovington in May 1970. His meticulous preparation and planning took The Regiment to Paderborn to reunite as an armoured regiment after two disruptive years at the RAC Centre. Under his firm, humane control the administration within The Regiment excelled.
His diplomatic skills even tamed some of the excessive exuberance of the squadron leaders of the time. All ranks benefitted from and appreciated his touch on the tiller.
The next two years were spent as the army instructor at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. These were halcyon days for Peter who relished the opportunity to mix with the academic element at Dartmouth and instil an ethos of caring but audacious leadership into a generation of naval officers. It was at this time that he was convinced that his future did not lie in the army.
From Dartmouth he rejoined The Regiment to serve as the Humanitarian Officer at Paphos, Cyprus with the sad but vital task of repatriating Turkish Cypriots from their homes in the south after Operation Attila in July 1974. The last few months of his service were spent at Paderborn serving a short spell as Second in Command of his Regiment. He retired in January 1976.
His first job as a civilian was manager of the Littleton racing stud near Winchester. After four years he moved to Westbury “to immerse myself in fine wines and learn something of them from two masters of the industry”. In 1986 he joined the team looking after the Sultan of Brunei’s interests in England as financial supervisor and office manager. He served the Sultan for 21 years before his final retirement in 2007.
Peter always kept in close touch with the serving regiment and the many friends that he had from his time as an Irish Hussar. He was a conscientious trustee for 17 years and Chairman of the Regimental Association of the Queen’s Royal Hussars from 2008 until ill health forced his resignation. He was diligent in his duties as Chairman and tireless in attending troop do’s, funerals, weddings and whatever events involved the Regimental Family.
Truly a loyal and valued servant of The Regiment.
Peter would hate to be the cause of sadness or grief. “Sharpen Up and Kick On” would be his exhortation to us all. To his family and many friends we extend our deepest sympathy on the loss of a thoroughly good man.