Born on the 27th of March 1929 at Tilbury Essex. Dennis O’Dell enlisted in October 1946 aged sixteen and a half years as a Boy Soldier. He was posted to the RAC on reaching the age of eighteen years and then posted to ‘C’ Squadron 4th Queen’s Own Hussars who were stationed at Colchester in July 1948.

Tpr DP O'Dell
Tpr DP O’Dell

The Regiment at that time was in the process of being brought up to strength as an all-regular Regiment for service in the Far East, namely Malaya, as an Armoured Car Regiment.

The Regiment sailed for Singapore in August 1948 aboard HMT Dilwara. On arrival in Singapore, they spent a couple of weeks in Nee Son Transit Camp and then moved up country in Malaya where the Regiment was split up with Regimental Headquarters and ‘A’ Squadron at Ipoh way up the on the western side of the country some three hundred miles from Singapore.

Sabre Squadrons were at various locations en route with ‘D’ Squadron having been in three locations within a period of a year. The duties of the Regiment in Malaya were varied such as road patrols, escorts and jungle patrols on foot in the infantry role.

In June 1949 ‘C’ Squadron was on the move again and sailed for Hong Kong to reinforce the Garrison as the Island of the New Territories was under threat of a takeover by Chinese Communist Forces.

‘C’ Squadron spent nine very pleasant months in Hong Kong, a complete contrast to the climate and jungle of Malaya.

The Squadron returned to Malaya in February 1950 and Dennis was involved in an accident and was classed as medically unfit to serve in the Far East. He was posted to the UK in August 1951 and was attached to the Lancaster Yeomanry TA followed by a period at the D and M School Bovington. He was then medically discharged in October 1952.

In civilian life, Dennis worked at a variety of jobs and companies including Plessey Engineering, Echo Television, Assistant Buyer at Southport Aviation, Southend, and finally as a Bank Messenger and on the Administrative Staff for various London Banks until retirement in 1994 at 65 years.

Always very fitness conscious he played golf to a very good standard, badminton, and was a keen follower of football and rugby and other sport until he suffered a heart attack in 2001.

Dennis was diagnosed with skin cancer (malignant melanoma) in June 2006, due to his service in the Far East.

After a courageous fight, he died on the 25th of June 2009 at the age of 80.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Malaya 1948-51