Howard Painter was born in Devizes Wiltshire on 31 July 1927 and grew up in the village of Ramsbury where his father was a police sergeant.

Howard attended the village school then passed his 11-plus and moved on to the grammar school and eventually obtained a scholarship to Dauntseys School in Devizes where he was a boarder.

Howard left school at 17 and enlisted in the Army in January 1945. He served initially with ‘B’ Squadron 4th Hussars who at that time were serving in Trieste in Italy.

In 1947 the Regiment moved to Lubeck in Germany and Howard, along with other members of the Regiment was transferred to the 3rd Hussars who were serving in Palestine.

On discharge, in April 1948 Howard was employed as a civilian in the Alien Immigration Department of the Metropolitan Police. During this period he met and married his wife Gwen, transferred to the National Immigration Service and joined 21st SAS Regiment TA and served with them until 1962 attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

During his time with the Immigration Service Howard served in London, Kent, Southampton and eventually Cornwall where he retired.

Part of his duties with the Immigration Service required him to make frequent trips across the Atlantic on such ships as the QE2, Queen Mary and the Normandie. He was quoted as saying ‘a tough job, but someone had to do it!’ During his retirement in Cornwall, he was Secretary to the Cornwall Parachute Regimental Association for seven years.

Howard and Gwen moved to Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire in 1966 where he became very involved in various activities in the town, namely the Tenbury and Bromyard Historical and the Tenbury Wells Royal British Legion of which he eventually became Chairman.

He was also a member of the 4th Hussars OCA and the 3rd Hussars OCA and was instrumental in setting up the privately run Chessington Troop Museum of the 3rd Hussars.

Very sadly after 55 years together Gwen died in May 2006. Howard was visiting his old haunts in Devizes when he met Jean, a girl he knew first when she was four years of age. They married in February 2007.

Howard, a very much larger-than-life character, both in stature and character died aged 80 on 20 September 2007 following a fall during which he broke his leg in three places.

He had also broken his wrist in a fall a few days earlier and sadly he did not survive the operation dealing with his injuries.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  3. Italy 1943-5 timeline