Joe died on 23 March 2006 as a result of complications with his diabetes; he was 75.

WO1 RSM Pratt, BEM
WO1 RSM Pratt, BEM

He enlisted into the army on 26 January 1948 at Darlington on an engagement of five years with the colours and seven years on reserve. Subsequently, this engagement was extended and Joe finally retired from the Army on 9 April 1973.

After initial basic military training at 19 PTC, he was formally transferred to the RAC and posted to 14/20H then at Catterick Camp as a training regiment RAC.

Prior to his enlistment Joe was apprenticed as a boilermaker which appears to have stood him in good stead for his military ‘trade’. Initially, he qualified as a Vehicle mechanic AIII but in due course, under a scheme known as Phase II this trade fell into the realm of REME; Joe reclassified as a Driver AFV. Later he also qualified in tank gunnery. This enabled him to retain his RAC cap badges.

Initially, he was posted to 4H on 31 May 1949. The Regiment was then serving in the Far East Land Forces mostly in Malaya pursuing anti-terrorist operations but with one squadron located in the New Territories of Hong Kong; The 4th Hussar’s tour of duty ended circa November 1951 when they handed over to 12L.

Joe was amongst a number of 4H who had not completed a 3-year stint in Malaya and this led to his posting to 12L. In the fullness of time, Joe returned to the UK where after passing through the RAC Depot he served with 67th Training Regt. RAC.

On 8 September 1954 Joe was posted back to his allotted regiment – 4H then in BAOR at Hohne where he continued to serve up to the amalgamation with 8H and the creation of QRIH. He rebadged QRIH and subject to his attendance at various courses he served with the regiment until August 1970 which included further service in Aden and the Far East (Malaya & Borneo).

As recognition for his exploits especially in the Far East (Borneo), Joe was appointed a medallist of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire which was promulgated in the London Gazette supplement of 22 June 1965.

During his service, Jo made steady progress up the ranks and in August 1970 when a WOII (SSM) he was appointed RSM (WOI) of Bristol University OTC where he remained until his retirement on pension in March 1973.

Joe married Anne in 1955 who gave him great support from their various married quarters across the World. Their marriage produced 4 children: David, Deborah, Donald and Dianne. Some of these remain in the Bristol area. Following his retirement from the army Joe initially took up a post in the same area in the capacity of Distribution Manager for a wallpaper and paint company.

For diverse reasons Joe and Anne relocated to Yorkshire and acquired a home near Wakefield. Joe was initially the Distribution and Transport Manager for a Chemical Plant company but ill health caused him to take early retirement in 1993.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  3. Malaya 1948-51
  4. Malaya and Borneo 1962-64