Geordie, with some 8 years’ regular service behind him, joined The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars in November 1941, whilst they were at Mena Camp near the Pyramids, as a Sergeant in ‘C’ Squadron.

His Troop Leader, John Downes, who had joined shortly afterwards, was, in his own words, ‘very much under command’, until he had been trained by Geordie.

On a trip up the desert to engage the enemy, the troop was badly cut up, and Geordie was captured.

His Troop Leader on rejoining the Squadron 3 weeks after the engagement, was utterly amazed to find Geordie there with a smile of enormous size. His explanation as to why he was not still ‘In the Bag’ was that he didn’t like the food much, so during the night he had walked out due East until reaching the British front line.

Geordie won the Distinguished Conduct Medal at Alam Halfa and took part in the pursuit from Alamein to beyond Tobruk.

He was promoted to Squadron Sergeant Major ‘C’ Squadron in May 1943.

As SSM ‘C’ Squadron during the war in Italy, he was a tower of strength. Always smiling and cheerful, no matter how beastly the conditions, he was a terrific morale raiser, most notably in leaguer at night when the squadron would assemble for replenishment and maintenance after the day’s operations.

His absolute fearlessness, coupled with a combination of encouragement and joking, was a major factor in supporting the young soldiers.

He was also renowned for the superb remark made to the Commanding Officer, having been discovered by the Military Police (so the story goes) in an Out of Bounds area of Cairo with only his boots on. When his explanation was demanded by the CO — he replied that he must have lost his way in the blackout.

After the war, he again showed his skill and courage with horses and was always a loyal and immensely popular member of the Sergeants’ Mess. One of his great qualities was his ability to get on well with all ranks — from General to Trooper. All liked him, all respected him. He was one in a million.

Being a brilliant horseman he was instrumental in Austria in selecting good Cossack horses and building up a nucleus that served the Regiment well in the equitation field.

He served with the Regiment in Malaya and for the second time was Mentioned in Despatches.

He spent a couple of years with the Shropshire Yeomanry from 1952-1954, returning to become Squadron Sergeant Major of ‘B’ Squadron where his Troop Leader of 1941 was shortly to become the Squadron Leader.

In 1956 he returned to the Shropshire Yeomanry as Regimental Sergeant Major, his Squadron Leader following him as Second in Command and Training Major.

He retired in 1957 and became a Yeoman Warder in the Tower of London.

RSM Hoyle, D.C.M., was one of what has been described by a 4th Hussar Commanding Officer’ who also knew him well, as ‘that true aristocracy of men, the senior NCOs, whose constant and selfless loyalty to the Regiment can never have been surpassed’.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Middle East (Egypt and Libya) timeline
  3. Malaya 1948-51
  4. Gallantry Award: Citation and Immediate award for The Distinguished Conduct Medal: Sgt R Hoyle