Bill died on 6 February 2001 aged 82 years.

Tpr W Homer
Tpr W Homer

He enlisted at Oxford on 15 September 1936 and was posted to the 3rd King’s Own Hussars, then at Tidworth, where he completed his training on armoured cars and trucks (to represent light tanks). In 1937 training started on tanks.

On 20 January 1938, he joined a draft of the 3rd Hussars, to reinforce the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars.

He was taken on strength by the 8th Hussars on 21 January. Joining them in Abassia Barracks, Cairo. He spent five years and 225 days in North Africa, and took part in the sporting and social life on offer at this time. He took part in the Battle of the Western Desert. He was injured in the battle of Buq Buq.

He returned to the UK with the Regiment in mid-November 1943 arriving on 12 December 1943. First going to a camp at Woodland Park near Great Missenden then moved to West Toft’s camp near Thetford, Norfolk. The Regiment was camped near Bognor, waiting to cross over to Normandy.

Bill sailed on 12 June 1944 with ‘C’ Squadron. He remained in North West Europe until 21 December 1944, when he returned to the UK for six months returning to the Regiment, then on the Kiel Canal, on 23 June 1945.

He took part in the Victory Parade in Berlin.

He left the Regiment in Itzehoe on 12 January 1946 to take his release, being discharged on 15th May 1946 having served nine years and 24 days. He had picked up five medals and the 8th Army clasp.

Bill was a loyal, vociferous and active member of the Regimental Association. He could be guaranteed to give chapter and verse on any 8th Hussars event from 1939 to 1946. He kept in close contact with HHQ on the telephone.

In later years he lived in a Residential Home in Birmingham. His daughter, Yvonne, was most attentive to his needs and used to accompany him to Association events. He married Gladys May Stowe in Birmingham on 30 August 1949 and had three sons and two daughters.

In a final letter, left for his family to be read after his death, he wrote, ‘I am glad I was an 8th Hussar, I still think I am’. The villagers of Smetlede, in Belgium, held a Memorial Service for him on Sunday 8 July 2001.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Timeline: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
  3. Timeline: North-West Europe 1944-45