MQMS Richard Morris Westecott-always known as Westy by his many friends – died in the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, on 19 June 2000, aged 90.

MQMS R Westecott
MQMS R Westecott

He spent 64 years of his life in a variety of uniforms.

He joined the 3rd King’s Own Hussars in 1928 and started his service in India with the machine gun squadron, before returning to York in 1932. Between then and the outbreak of the war he served at Aldershot and Tidworth and while on a course at Morris Motors in Birmingham he met his wife, Madge, who he married in 1939.

Westy was a Sergeant in 1940 and in August of that year, the Regiment embarked for Egypt for six months of training before moving into the western desert as part of the 7th Armoured Division. He was engaged in all the sector campaigns, including the Siege of Tobruk and at El Alamein, where the Regiment suffered heavy casualties while supporting the 2nd New Zealand Division.

The Regiment then moved on to Palestine for re-equipping before landing in Italy for the push to the north. At the end of the war, he was with the London Yeomanry in northwest Europe for a few months before rejoining the 3rd in Palestine, where he served until 1948. He subsequently served in Germany before his discharge in 1949.

While he was renowned as a strict disciplinarian, with a sharp tongue for the unworthy, he was a man of great wit and charm, extremely compassionate and always helpful and supportive to the men, NCOs and officers of the Regiment.

After his Army service, and until his eventual retirement at the age of 73, he served for 34 years with the Royal Corps of Commissionaires, working at a variety of venues, including Birmingham City Football Club.

Westy was a keen and active member of three Old Comrades’ associations: the 3rd, the Queen’s Own Hussars and the Queen’s Royal Hussars.

After the death of his wife, he became an in-pensioner at the Royal Hospital in 1991, where he remained until his death. There he helped in the administration of the chapel and, with his Welsh background, he was known as a notable singer.

During the last ten or more years of his life, Westy became a close friend of former 3rd sergeant Tony Senior and was a regular visitor to his home. They attended many Old Comrades’ reunions together, both in the UK and Germany.

When Tony built a Regimental Mess/Museum in the garden of his home, Westy was a natural choice to be its first President. And it was there that, together with comrades from the Royal Hospital, he celebrated his 90th birthday.

There is a section of the museum devoted to his long career with various memorabilia, including his service medals and his Royal Hospital scarlet uniform.

His remains have been interred in the military cemetery at Brookwood.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. Timeline: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
  3. Timeline: Italy 1943-5