‘Ginger’, as he was inevitably known because of his shock of auburn hair, died on 22 October 1999, a week after his 79th birthday in his home town of Warrington, Cheshire.
He was enlisted into the Territorial Army under the provisions of the NS/(Armed Forces) Act 1939 on 23 January 1941 from his civilian job as a van driver.
After five months of training with the 59th Training Regiment RAC, he was posted to the 4th Hussars then in the Middle East on 25 June 1941 as a gunner/mechanic and apart from a period of 12 months from August 1941 when he served in 30 Corps Liaison he remained with his regiment until 5 December 1948 when his conscripted service ended.
This service took him from the Middle East up through Italy and Germany finally to Colchester.
Ginger distinguished himself throughout his service as a brave and competent tank commander and was invariably in the thick of the action on the battlefields of the Western Desert and Italy. He was awarded the Military Medal.
John Heesom, a fellow ‘townie’, life-long friend and well-known 4th Hussar, recalls going to a York Troop dinner in 1994 with Ginger where they met up with ‘Taff’ Fields, being the severely wounded man Ginger had rescued in the desert on 25 October 1943.
Taff’s wife, who had accompanied her husband to this dinner made an impromptu but most poignant speech in which she thanked Ginger for his bravery and humanity which had resulted in her having had at that time 52 years of wedded bliss. Probably for the first time in his life Ginger was speechless!
In civil life, Ginger worked for one company from 1949 until normal retirement and it is understood that he quickly made his mark there with his natural leadership and innovation.
He was a great follower of most sports and games, particularly rugby, at which his ability enabled him to represent his regiment way back in 1948 at a match in Chatham versus the Royal Engineers. When little more than a schoolboy Ginger was signed for Runcorn FC as a semi-pro. In later life, he contented himself with darts and dominoes and was honorary secretary of the local league.
Ginger’s earthly remains were interred alongside those of his mother in Warrington cemetery. John Heesom represented the 4th Hussars Association at his funeral. Among the 100 mourners were Ginger’s three daughters, two sons and 15 grandchildren and to those, we offer our sincere condolences.