Charlie (Tex) Newman died on 22 May 2002 after a fall while on holiday in Paignton.

SSgt CFA Newman
SSgt CFA Newman

Born in Cheltenham on 16 December 1917, he left school at the age of 14 and soon tired of his job as a milkman. Together with his friend Ginger, he enlisted with the 3rd Hussars at Tidworth on 18 December 1935.

After completing his basic training, he was drafted to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, stationed at Abbassia, Egypt.

Tex’s draft sailed from Southampton on 28 December 1936 aboard the troopship SS Dilwarra, the first time that he had ever seen the sea. On arrival at Abbassia, he was put in No 4 Troop, ‘A’ Squadron.

He joined in time to take part in the process of mechanisation, seeing the horses replaced by machine-gun-equipped Ford pick-ups and lorries. He soon settled into the social and sporting life of the regiment, joining the boxing and football teams. He excelled on the ranges, with both rifle and Bren gun, becoming an instructor on both, and was made up to ‘regimental shot’.

He enjoyed a brief, curtailed leave in the UK in 1939, but was recalled to Egypt on the outbreak of war, returning aboard the civilian liner Strathnaver.

He served throughout the North African campaign, with its successive advances and retreats, during which he was directly involved in many of the momentous events of the time. He was briefly captured at Gazala but escaped within 48 hours by making his way on foot through a minefield.

After El Alamein, Tex took the opportunity to return to the UK in the build-up to D-Day, transferring to the Westminster Dragoons. It was during this time that he married his long-time sweetheart Grace, known to all as Betty.

After training in Britain, he was sent into Normandy in the days following D-Day, driving a Sherman ‘Crab’ mine clearance tank. He took part in the advance through France and Holland and into Germany and was present at the liberation of Belsen. He was ever after proud of having taken part in the victory parade in Berlin.

With a six-month-old son back in Cheltenham, he left the service in January 1946. He kept in touch with many of the friends that he had made during the war, in particular with the family with whom he had been billeted in Kampen, Holland during a rest period, returning to visit them on several occasions.

His wife Grace sadly died in January 1996, but Tex (or Charlie as he was known to his family) leaves a son and daughter, three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.

Right up to the end, Charles Frederik Arthur Newman remained intensely proud of his war service, but particularly of having been a Desert Rat with the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Timeline: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)