John died on 31 March 2003 aged 73 years in his adopted South Australia.

Some 12 months earlier he developed acute breathlessness and after various medicines had failed to improve his condition he underwent surgery during which an electronic gadget was attached to his heart.

This was not, alas, an entire success as in John’s words ‘when the gadget sprang into action he felt as if he had been hit by a tank’.

A man from Gloucestershire, he enlisted into the army on 3 September 1947. After basic military training at 28 PTC, he was posted to The 4th Hussars on 4 March 1948. Shortly afterwards he sailed through his trade test as a driver/mechanic CII.

On 20 August 1948, he embarked on HMT Dilwara with his Regiment at Southampton for service in the Far East. He remained with ‘B’ Squadron throughout his service which took him to Colchester, Thetford, Malaya, Hong Kong, Tidworth and Warminster. His troop leader was Michael Vyner.

John was released from the colours on 7 March 1953 when he returned to his roots in Great Witcombe. He married June, his childhood sweetheart, on 6 June 1953. In the fullness of time, they were blessed with a son and daughter.

The family emigrated under the £10 scheme to Australia. They survived the initial hardships of transit camps. John, who shipped out his Bedford dormobile became involved in transport.

He and June eventually bought a ‘block’ of land near the coast south of the city of Adelaide and built themselves a very attractive bungalow at Port Noarlunga; neither had previously dug footings or laid a brick! Their daughter Andrea and her children live nearby. Frank Sleeman contacted John on the second of his many trips to Adelaide and a firm friendship began, notwithstanding that John confessed to having avoided NCOs during his service!

John had an intense dislike of funeral undertakers and he willed his body for medical research. Shortly after his death, the family organised a memorial gathering in South Australia and very many friends attended including representatives from the RSL (the Australian equivalent of the Royal British Legion).

Related topics

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