Frank was Padre to The Queen’s Own Hussars from 1960 to 1962 in Germany – first in Munster then from 1961 in Detmold.

The Venerable Frank Johnston CB QHC
The Venerable Frank Johnston, C.B., Q.H.C.

He was a clearly excellent cleric, and a lovely man, respected, admired, and a friend to all: he became somewhat of a legend in the Regiment.

In turn, he was a great supporter of the Regiment and its activities. His great interests were rugby and later fishing.

In season 61/62 he was captain of the QOH rugby team and featured in the photograph in that year’s Journal. He had a wonderful knack for fully partaking in the party after games, except for the alcohol, the language, and the bluer jokes.

He welcomed all to his services – even those coming to the midnight Christmas Service direct from the NAAFI ‘in high spirits’.

Long after he had ceased to be the Regimental Padre, Frank was called upon by members of the Regiment to conduct their weddings, funerals or children’s baptisms. Richard Vaughan-Griffith MC wanted Frank to conduct his funeral which he did in 2012 – fifty years after serving with the Regiment. In 1984 he conducted the funeral of Col Marcus Fox – his CO when with QOH; and on a happier note, he conducted the service at the 1985 QOH Tercentenary Guidon Parade.

Frank was born and raised in County Kerry, Ireland. He studied Theology at Trinity College Dublin before being ordained into the Church of Ireland in 1955, serving his curacy in Belfast. In 1959, he was commissioned into The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, serving first as Chaplain to The Queen’s Own Hussars.

His distinguished career then led to postings – in 1964 to The Junior Tradesman’s Regiment in Rhyl; Senior Chaplain to the Forces at 24 Brigade in Aden Oct 1966 to Apr 1967; then to The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Frank’s next posting was as Senior Chaplain to Near East Land Forces, Dhekelia, Cyprus. In 1973 he returned to be Warden of the Chaplains’ Training Centre at Bagshot Park. More Senior Chaplain posts followed at 2nd Infantry Division, then at South East District, Aldershot.

In 1980, Frank was appointed as Chaplain General to Her Majesty’s Forces, and Honorary Chaplain to the Queen (QHC). He also served on the board for Social Responsibility and on the Prison Chaplaincy Advisory Group at General Synod. As Chaplain General, he also served as Archdeacon for the Army, with the title ‘The Venerable’.

After 28 years’ service, he retired from the Army in 1987 and stepped back into parish life as Rector of Winslow and Addington, with Great Horwood, Buckinghamshire, and then later as Rural Dean. In 1995, Frank and Jenny moved to Axminster, Devon, which had been Jenny’s childhood home. Frank continued his ministry, supporting the Axminster Team and taking services in the area.

A measure of the regard for him was that his Thanksgiving Service was attended by four octogenarian QOH contemporaries from as far afield as Yorkshire and Essex – two others had hoped to go – as well as by Col Charles Carter and Clare as official Regimental representatives.

Our condolences to his wife Jenny, a huge support to Frank and also a good friend of the Regiment, and to daughter Susie Lloyd and sons David and Andrew.

QOH Rugby Team with The Venerable Frank Johnston - QOH
The QOH Rugby Team

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars