‘Topper’ as he was affectionately known died on 20 February 2001 aged 93.
His military service spanned 33 years. He commenced his military service in the Royal Artillery in 1928, where he became a qualified Class 1 Saddler.
He left the Army in 1932 but was called up as a reservist in 1939. His former Royal Regiment of Artillery had been mechanised and he found himself in the Royal Signals. He retrained as an instrument mechanic and qualified within five months of being mobilised.
He then switched his interest to the radio. In 1942 he found himself permanently attached to the 4th Hussars Royal Signals Troop as its sergeant. Topper obviously realised that he was serving with the best cavalry regiment and he seems to have regarded the phrase permanently attached literally.
Many attempts by higher command, to post him with promotion were resisted by Topper, with the outcome that he stayed with 4H and latterly its successor QRIH until his ultimate discharge in 1961.
He was very proud of ‘his’ Regiment. Topper was also proud to be the longest-serving member of the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and was much admired for his technical abilities. It was quite a sight to see him plunge into a radio set with a pair of wire cutters removing various components, muttering ‘rubbish’ but somehow he managed to put it all together again.
As a soldier, Topper had the reputation of being more affluent than most of his contemporaries. It was said he never wore socks. because they would wear out and have to be replaced.
Many of his Regiment believed that Topper would be a permanent bachelor, but how wrong they were. It is grand to know that he had a very happy family life after he left the army and we extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Wilma and his daughter Anne. Many former members of 4H and QRIH made their way to Kent for Topper’s funeral. Col Jon Sutro OBE MC by invitation rendered a witty eulogy at the service.