Frank died on 31st January 2007, aged 76 years.

Sergeant Francis William Sleeman, OBE
Sgt FW Sleeman, OBE

He enlisted at St Alban’s on 10th March 1947 and did his initial training with 8 RTR. He remained with them until 16th July 1948 when he was posted to The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, then at Colchester preparing to go to Malaya to fight the Communist insurgency.

He was initially a crewman but was spotted by the Quartermaster typing a letter to Doreen, his fiancé, and was immediately moved to the Orderly Room where he stayed until his demob, having risen to the rank of Sergeant and become Orderly Room Sergeant to Gordon Denholm.

He was a diligent, trustworthy and knowledgeable clerk with a phenomenal memory. He was appointed Lance Corporal on 1st August 1949 and promoted to Corporal on 30th April 1950. He passed the three Army Certificates of Education between January 1950 and January 1953.

He married Doreen on 6th October 1951. Frank had told Doreen to arrange the wedding on this date as he anticipated getting disembarkation leave. He was only allowed a 48-hour pass as he was on the Advance Party. Possibly the only time Frank got something seriously wrong.

Doreen joined Frank in Tidworth in early 1952. In August 1953 they moved to Hohne with the Regiment where they were to stay until Frank left for early retirement on 17th January 1957. He was demobbed on 9 March 1957. Kevin was born on 1st March 1954 and Duncan on 13th February 1955.

Frank had studied for and taken the military version of The Civil Service Examination before his discharge, hoping to get a post with the MOD. He passed the exam with flying colours, but the Civil Service examiners obviously knew a thing or two, because they employed him in the Inland Revenue, where he finished up as Chief Tax Inspector for the West Midlands.

After seven years at various posts in England, he was seconded to Ex Colonial Governments to advise on Inland Revenue matters. Firstly he went to Malaya (Penang) from 1964 until 1966 and then to Malawi from 1973 until 1976.

Before his retirement, Frank became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Being a true patriot and conscious of what the British Empire had done for the world he must have been incredibly proud.

Frank still kept a military connection during his retirement from the Regular Army by joining the RASC Army Emergency Reserve for seven years. He joined as an SSgt and in October 1958 was promoted to WO2 and then WO1 in November 1961.

From the late eighties, Frank was of great help to the Regimental Secretary on 4th Hussar’s accounting and tax matters. He took on the coordination of The 4th Hussars obituaries, writing many of them himself. Frank had a dry wit but could be terribly pedantic at times.

Due to his accounting and tax expertise, he was an ideal man to audit the regimental Accounts, mainly the Association and Museum ones. His tax experience saved the Regimental Association thousands of pounds at one stage by suggesting and getting approved by the appropriate Tax Inspector, a method which solved the problem.

He played a large part in getting the gravestones of The 4th Hussars and Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in Malaysia refurbished and maintained.

He was a founder and the driving force in setting up the Birmingham Troop and for many years was the Secretary. On retiring from the post he continued as the Troop Welfare Officer up to shortly before his death.

Frank often remarked that joining The 4th Hussars was the turning point in his life. He was a loyal and hard-working member of the Regimental Association and to the end a “Fourth Hussar”.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars