Bill died on 12 July 1998, aged 70.

He enlisted at Chatham on 19 June 1945. After training and service with the 54 Training Regiment, he joined the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in Lingen in November

In 1947 he was promoted to Corporal and was a Sergeant by September 1948. His speciality was radio. He got a P1 on his Bovington instructor’s course from December 1947 – February 1948.

He rejoined the Regiment at Leicester East Airfield, joining ‘C’ Squadron as the signals sergeant. In October 1950 he sailed with the Regiment to Korea from Southampton on the Empire Fowey. Due to the squadron leader being on leave in Tokyo at the beginning of the Imjin battle, Bill commanded the tank for the first part of the battle. He moved with the Regiment to Luneburg in March 1952.

From November 1953 to June 1956 he was ERE at Mons Officers’ Cadet School as a staff sergeant. On his return to the 8th Hussars, still in Luneburg, he was appointed SQMS of ‘A’ Squadron. In early 1958 he attended a drill course at Pirbright. He was the last squadron Sergeant Major of ‘A’ Squadron, 8 KRIH.

In March 1959 he attended a light aircraft course at Middle Wallop, followed by a helicopter course which finished in July 1960, when he was posted to 651 Squadron AAC. He did the Alouette course in July/August 1961 at Middle Wallop. He then was posted to Kenya in November 1961 with 8 Flight AAC.

In November 1962 he rejoined the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in Ipoh as SSM of ‘A’ Squadron. In April 1964 he returned to the Army Air Corps and was promoted to WO1 in October 1964.

In November 1965 he was commissioned into the Army Air Corps, being promoted to major in October 1969. He was a qualified flying instructor and took many of the pilots on refresher and standardising courses. According to one of his pupils, who became a chief flying instructor and Commandant at Middle Wallop, Bill never failed to impress and one felt somewhat frustrated that try as you might, you were never able to achieve his levels of accuracy.

He was a brilliant instructor, always calm and unflappable even with the most ‘cak-handed’ pilot. He was never seen to be cross, irritated or flustered.

He left the Army in 1977 and worked briefly as a commercial pilot with Ferranti before returning to Middle Wallop as a Scout instructor in 1979. A year later, at the tender age of 58, he completed a Lynx conversion before becoming a full-time instructor on the Lynx simulator at Wallop. He retired from this in 1993. He was always eternally grateful for being allowed to do what he loved most and get paid for it.

Bill was a regular attendee at the Leicester and Wool Troop Dinners, and a loyal supporter of the Regimental Association. His smile, youthful looks and merry quips are much missed.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  3. Timeline: Korea 1950-51
  4. Timeline: Malaya and Borneo 1962-64