Fred enlisted in April 1940 to serve with the Irish Guards and The Reconnaissance Corps during the 2nd World War, seeing service in North Africa and Italy from 1943 with the 1st Army. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1945 and released to the Reserve in 1946, having on his last posting served in Palestine.

He joined the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in August 1950 as a reservist called up for the Korean War.

He was Troop Sergeant of the Assault Troop in ‘C’ Squadron, and his six-foot-plus tall frame — made more so by his very upright bearing together with his waxed moustache must have put fear into the heart of many a Chinaman.

Fred though was completely fearless and for his bravery during the ‘Imjin’ battle was awarded the Military Medal.

Typical of Big Fred was the reply he gave when nursing a scalp wound received in battle. The writer remarked that a quarter of an inch lower and the bullet would have killed him, and Fred’s reply was: ‘A quarter of an inch higher it would have missed me.’

When the Regiment moved to Luneburg in 1952, Fred was first the Provost Sergeant and then a Troop Sergeant with ‘C’ Squadron, and in 1955 became SSM ‘A’ Squadron.

Many an anecdote could be told about Fred from those days, such as his ‘habit’ of putting a lighted cigarette behind his ear and the singed consequences. Or his various short hobbies — like photography — which seemed to end after his ‘subjects’ appeared to ‘lose the top of their heads’ and then there was ‘The Car’ — said to have once been the property of ‘Hermann Goring’ — which graced the front of Fred’s house and looked most impressive but never appeared to get started, let alone go anywhere.

In later years he looked back on Luneburg days as being some of the happiest in his long career.

At the amalgamation in 1958, Fred had the honour of carrying the Guidon on parade. He became RSM in 1959 for a time before leaving the Regiment to become RSM of the Scots Greys. During this period he served in BAOR, the Middle East and Singapore. He retired in 1968.

Fred was a great family man and a first-class loyal and brave soldier.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Korea 1950-51
  3. Citation and Award for the Military Medal: Sgt F Rowan