Derek joined the Army at Doncaster, South Yorkshire on 27 July 1949.

Tpr DJ Burke
Tpr DJ Burke

Having worked for the National Coal Board he was exempt from National Service. Derek, along with his brothers and sisters, was living with his grandmother at the time. Unbeknown to her he volunteered for the services and was accepted.

After only four weeks in the Army, a request was made by his grandmother to have him discharged to look after the family.

This was granted only for him to be called up again to complete his National Service. Derek, rather pleased with the outcome, rejoined his friends at Catterick to continue with his training.

On completion of his basic training, he joined the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars at Leicester in September 1949.

On joining HQ Squadron he applied to join as a Regular and was accepted, his stay in HQ Squadron was only for a few months due to the Regiments move to Tidworth, he later joined ‘A’ Squadron as a crewman and remained with the Squadron throughout the period that the Regiment was in Korea, both with 3rd Troop and MT Troop.

Everyone who met Derek spoke very highly of him. He was always friendly and willing to help anyone. He was a very hard-working member of the Squadron and the Regiment and on his return to civilian life, he never forgot his comrades and was always in contact with them.

On returning to England with the Regiment in 1952, he completed his three years of service and was discharged to the reserve until finally discharged in 1959. He married Brenda in 1952 and lived in Scunthorpe, they had two sons, Stephen and Melvyn.

His hobby was cycling and he formed a cycling club in Scunthorpe and achieved many successes with it. Derek was also a keen supporter of Scunthorpe United Football Club. A very loyal supporter of York Troop, he will be sadly missed by them all.

Due to ill health, Derek finally had to retire in 1973, although at times very ill, he was always very cheerful and always willing to speak to his friends.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Timeline: Korea 1950-51