The redoubtable George Neely died on 3 April 2001 aged 78.
George enlisted at Londonderry on 23 August 1940 into ‘the North Irish Horse’. He served with them in the UK until sailing to the Middle East on 21 January 1943. He then served with them in the Western Desert battles.
He was promoted to lance corporal in September 1943 and took part in the Italian campaign, including the battle of the Gustav Line (Monte Casino).
In January 1946 the Regiment, with George, moved to BOAR. By this time George was a sergeant and had been granted the Africa Star, with 1st Army Clasp, the Italy Star, the 1939-45 Star, and the Defence and War medal.
After the war, he served with the 4th Hussars after a spell at the RAC depot, returning to the UK (Colchester) with the Regiment in November 1947.
Having married Martha in May 1948, he sailed for Malaya in August 1948, returning again to the UK in October 1949 and taking his discharge on 7 November 1949. He re-enlisted, however, in April 1950, and joining the 8th Hussars sailed with the Regiment for Korea, arriving in Pusan on 14 November 1950. He was promoted to sergeant in December 1950 and returned to the UK with the Regiment in December 1951.
Next, he moved with the 8th Hussars to Luneberg in March 1952, before serving at the Army Recruiting Centre in Omagh and then in Ballymena, still as a recruiter. In January 1960, he was discharged, but re-enlisted on a short service engagement and was posted to FVRDE Kirkcudbright before taking his final discharge on 12 March 1966, returning to Coleraine.
George was a true ‘Irish Hussar’ having served as 4H, 8H and QRIH. In addition, in 1958, the North Irish Horse became the affiliated Territorial Army Regiment, so George had done the lot.
He had an exuberant personality and was liked and admired by all and with his, Jagdhund was a perpetual bane to the ‘forstmeisters’ of Luneberg Heath.
On retirement, George returned to Ulster where he continued to take an interest in the Regiment. Indeed, his son also served for a short while in the Irish Hussars. Many will remember him turning up to ensure that KAPE teams visiting the province were up to scratch, and also his frequent visits to Billy McLernon’s pub, the North Irish Horse, putting the world to rights and talking over old times.