Dave Hugo died on 18 September 1997.
He was born in Cornwall on 5 March 1936 and later moved with his parents to live in Corsham, Wiltshire where I first met him when we were fellow cadets in the Wiltshire ACF. In 1954 he enlisted into the RAC and after his basic training at Catterick joined 3rd The King’s Own Hussars in Munster.
After qualifying in several trades and attending an Assistant D and M Instructor’s Course at Bovington, Dave was promoted to lance corporal in November 1955 and corporal in January 1956. However, in 1957 he decided to leave the Army, much to the disappointment of his superiors, who felt this young man had a great career in front of him.
Following the amalgamation of 3H and 7H Dave decided to re-enlist and was accepted into the Queen’s Own Hussars as a Lance Corporal in November 1958. He very quickly re-established himself as a promising member of a tank troop and regained his rank of Corporal in May 1959.
Dave moved from Tidworth back to Munster with his new Regiment where he soon confirmed himself as a very able troop Corporal. In November 1963 he returned to an NBC course achieving a ‘with credit’ qualification.
In January 1965 he was deservedly promoted to Sergeant on a posting to the 57 Army Youth Team where he received much praise for a job very well done. October 1965 saw his return to QOH in Catterick before returning back to the Midlands as a special recruiter at ACIO Birmingham.
A move back to the Regiment in early 1969 gave Dave the opportunity to go to Cyprus with ‘B’ Squadron, as a troop Sergeant, on a six-month operational tour which ended in December of that year.
In 1970 he attended a qualified testing officer’s course at the D and M School, was appointed a crew commander, promoted to Staff Sergeant and became a troop leader in ‘B’ Squadron. November 1971 saw his promotion to WO2 (SSM) and an operational tour in Northern Ireland, in 1973, as SSM of Command Squadron where he carried out much of the reconnaissance during that tour.
Dave finally left the Regiment in July 1974 on promotion to WO1 (RSM) and served with the 20 Cadet Training Team in Taunton. His last posting was to HQ Rheindahlen Garrison in January 1976 as the GSM.
Dave was a keen sportsman and represented his Regiment both on the rugby field and in the boxing ring. He was also a coach and trainer to his squadron boxing team. Dave always did everything to the best of his ability and never shirked a challenge. He always led from the front and was a shining example to all those around him.
On leaving the Army in 1978 Dave settled in Taunton, securing work with South Western Electricity Board. He also joined the Taunton Branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind as their Appeals Secretary and was later to become their Chairman in 1995.
He was continually looking for original and new ways of raising money. Among his many fundraising activities was the annual grand Christmas draw at SWEB, where every rep visiting was gently persuaded to donate a prize and every member of staff had to purchase draw tickets before being allowed to leave the stores. A special fete to commemorate the Association’s Silver Jubilee was a resounding success for Dave and included gymnastic and guide dog displays.
With these major achievements under his belt, Dave was now looking for bigger and better things. With the knowledge that his son-in-law and three friends had already climbed the Three Peaks, (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden) Dave challenged them to do all three in 24 hours.
They took up the challenge and Dave set about recruiting sponsors and backers. With Dave and his daughter doing the driving etc, the four climbers started their 24-hour challenge at the base of Ben Nevis on 4 July 1997 and completed it at the foot of Snowden 23 hours and 30 minutes later. The whole challenge involved 525 miles of driving and climbing a total of 11,175ft – another £1,000 raised.
During the 12 years Dave was connected with the Association he raised a total of £35,000, a staggering achievement which was rewarded with an invitation to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 1996.
Very sadly Dave entered the hospital just one month after this latest achievement which only reflects that he was a truly remarkable man with a lot of grit and determination, with the words ‘no’ and ‘can’t’, not being part of his vocabulary. Dave was much admired and respected by all who knew him. His dry sense of humour only added to his outstanding character and his will to help anyone in need.
We have all lost a true friend and I am sure there are many better off for having known Dave Hugo.
To Heather and their family, we offer our most sincere condolences on the loss of a loving husband and father.