John died on 6 August 2002 aged 82 years.

Tpr JW Hammerton
Tpr JW Hammerton

He enlisted initially into the Royal Artillery TA on 5 October 1931, serving with them until November 1936, when he enlisted in the 3rd King’s Own Hussars, then stationed at Tidworth. In January 1938 together with many other 3rd Hussars, he was transferred to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars then stationed at Main Barracks, Abassia Cairo.

He played his part in the sporting and social life of the Regiment and became an extremely proficient tank driver. He took part in the desert battles from July 1940 until March 1941.

He, among many other 8th Hussars, was part of a six-man team equipped with Hotchkiss machine guns on transport ships, supplying between Greece and Egypt. His first ship was destroyed by aircraft (Stukas), and his team transferred to another transport. The team subsequently travelled on two Royal Navy ships. They eventually returned to Mena Camp, Egypt.

He was captured with many other 8th Hussars at Sidi Rezegh on 22 November 1941. He spent time in prisoner-of-war camps, in Italy and Germany, being released in May 1945.

He was discharged on medical grounds in December 1945. He married Catherine on 27 October 1945 subsequently having two children, a daughter Carroll Ann and a son Ronald John. He became a civil engineer working for Howard Farrow. That was taken over by Lovell. When he was made redundant he went on to work with Kyle Stewart until he retired at the age of 66.

He was a loyal, honest and smart soldier, characteristics he took with him into civilian life. He was always most proud of his service with the 8th Hussars. He was a loyal and conscientious member of the Regimental Association and attended many Association events.

He represented the 8th Hussars and the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars, together with old wartime chums right up to the end, at the Armistice Parade at the Cenotaph in November of each year.

In October 1992, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein, he attended the ceremony at El Alamein, on 25 October. He brought back for the Regimental Collection a bottle of sand and a piece of desert scrub. He is sorely missed by his family.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Timeline: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)