Sgt Dunning known as ‘Dickie’ professed not to like his Christian names so consequently, he took the name of Richard after a brother who had died.

Sgt C Dunning
Sgt C Dunning

Thereafter, he was always known to us in the Regiment as Dickie. Dickie was born on the 24th of May 1927 (Empire Day) in Madras, India where his father was serving as a Colonel in the Indian Army and later as a coffee Planter.

One would assume that to be born in India in the days of the RAJ and your father a serving Colonel, life would have been very good, but Dickie as a young boy had his share of adversity.

The family came home to England in 1930 to put one of the older boys into school, but his mother died and Dickie and another brother spent the next few years in a Dr Barnados home until their father returned home to England some years later.

Dickie Enlisted in the Army on his 18th Birthday, 24th May 1945 and was embodied on the 5th July 1945 when he joined 96 PTC for his initial training. He was allocated to the RAC and joined The 4th Hussars in Italy in April 1946.

He was promoted to L/Cpl in December and then promoted to full Corporal in January 1947. In March 1947 the Regiment moved to Lubeck in Germany where Dickie met his future wife Lilli. In November 1947 the Regiment was on the move again this time to Colchester in the UK having been overseas continuously for seven years.

At this time (post-war) the services were running down their numbers and The 4th Hussars were being reduced to Cadre strength, presumably for a long stay in the UK. But it was not to be, The 4th Hussars were put on standby after a few months for service in Malaya. They were brought up to strength from other Regiments in the RAC and sailed on the 20th of August 1948 for a three-year tour on Active Service in the Far East (Malaya).

Malaya at this time was experiencing difficult times with an element of the Anti-Japanese Army attempting to disrupt the country and government.

They existed in the Jungles of Malaya terrorising the locals, killing Planters and their families and members of the Malayan Police Force. The terrorists had to be flushed out and eliminated or imprisoned.

Dickie returned to the UK in November 1949 to attend a wireless instructors course at the RAC Depot in Bovington, Dorset. At the conclusion of the course in January 1950, he was posted to the Shropshire Yeomanry as a wireless instructor in the rank of Corporal.

He was promoted to Sergeant in February 1953 and rejoined The 4th Hussars in Hohne, Germany, in September 1953 as Signals NCO A Squadron. Dickie was discharged to the Reserve in July 1957 having served 12 years.

He was awarded the War Medal and the GSM with Clasp Malaya.

In civilian life, Dickie worked in commerce, sales and the manufacture of gloves in South Wales, then branched out into banking and insurance. He had a brief retirement spell and then worked with the Small Firms Services and Enterprise Agencies which provided business support to small/medium-sized companies until he finally retired in 1997. He enjoyed reading and travelling.

He married Lilli on the 20th of April 1948 who pre-deceased him on the 24th of December 2005. They had two children, Martin and Suzanne and two grandchildren Daniel and Christopher.

Dickie died on the 3rd September 2010 having fought a stoic battle after a series of heart attacks in 1996 followed by triple bypass operations and other problems.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Malaya 1948-51