Randle died on the day following his birthday after a life devoted to his family, his Regiment and his friends.
He joined the 8th Hussars at Leicester in 1949 from Eton where among other things he had a beagle pack and also hunted with the Fernie.
In 1950 he sailed with the Regiment to Korea as a troop leader and whilst he was attached to the United States Air Force as an observer, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and the pilot was killed. He managed to guide the crippled plane back towards the United Nations’ lines but was forced to make a late parachute jump over enemy territory opposite to and unseen by the Turkish Brigade. As a result, he was reported missing believed killed in action.
In early December 1951, his family were overjoyed to receive a letter from him and so began two years as a prisoner of war. Under interrogation, he had refused to divulge the name of his Commanding Officer.
One bitter day, with no glass in the window of his cell he asked for some paper to help keep the icy Manchurian wind out. An old copy of the People’s Daily was provided to cover the open space and he found himself looking at a photograph of Col Guy Lowther wearing his tent hat which had appeared because of some well-publicised comments about American tanks.
The Rev Sam Davies, last Padre of the 8th Hussars and first Padre of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars and a fellow prisoner gave a moving account of this time at Randle’s Thanksgiving Service. He described Randle as an imperturbable prisoner of war.
Some of Randle’s own recollections are described in the last edition of the Crossbelts entitled ‘Korea Revisited 2001’ where he represented the Regiment. On release, he returned to the Regiment at the former German cavalry barracks in Lüneburg where his enthusiasm for showjumping, knowledge of horses and his love of imparting that knowledge inspired many of the young officers.
He rode at many shows in Germany, the Royal Tournament and the Royal Windsor Horse Show. He was also Master of the Weser Vale Drag Hunt. He was a keen skipper and sailed with the British Kiel Yacht Club in passage races in German and Danish waters. Those of us lucky enough to sail under Captain Cooke and be allowed to man the galley will remember what fun it was.
He was the last Adjutant of the 8th Hussars before amalgamation and subsequently became ADC to the Divisional Commander, Gen Shan Hackett. He went to Sandhurst as an instructor and was also a Joint Master of the Sandhurst Foxhounds where he is particularly well remembered for being good on the horn.
He commanded a squadron in Malaya, Borneo and in Wolfenbüttel before being appointed Equerry to the Colonel-in-Chief, HRH Prince Philip where he served for three years and was subsequently appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.
He retired from the Army and became private secretary to the Lord Mayor, becoming a Freeman of the City of London. After a time in Ayrshire, he returned south, first to run his own recruitment consultancy business and then to raise funds at the Conservative Central Office and finally became the director of fundraising for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
Clare supported him in all his endeavours and an invitation to their house with the stimulating company was always lots of fun. His kindness and help, particularly to the young of his friends, to whom he freely gave his advice and the benefit of his experience coupled with his enthusiasm for Regimental reunions where he organised lunches and dinners for friends, was inexhaustible.
Randle was a deeply committed Christian, his belief being reinforced by his experiences as a prisoner of war.
With Clare, he supported their church, the Poppy Day Appeal and Help the Aged. He was a keen fisherman, and a carpenter, and was about to take a course on antique furniture restoration. We shall all miss Randle with his love of life, generosity and enthusiasm and to Clare, Priscilla and David and his adored grandchildren we offer our deepest sympathies.