Reg Scrugham was born in Cleator Moor, Cumbria, on 18 February 1917.
Having previously been a miner, he enlisted for the Cavalry of the Line in October 1935 and was originally posted to the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.
In January 1938 he was rebadged and on disembarking at Alexandria on 1 February 1938 he joined the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars at Abbassia the same day.
He mustered as a driver on ‘pickups’ and then on light tanks, and it was in the latter capacity that he won a well-deserved Military Medal for his brave conduct in May and June of 1942.
He went on to serve with the Regiment throughout the whole campaign in North Western Europe.
In early 1948 the 8th Hussars returned to the UK and were stationed at Oadby. It was there that Reg met Ethel and they were married later that year. He returned briefly to the 4th Queen’s own Hussars for the Malayan campaign but was back with the 8th in time to go to Korea with them in October 1950.
After returning from Korea and settling in at Luneburg, the Regiment reverted to a Regimental Transport system. Reg was a most popular and efficient Transport Sergeant.
By his example and approach, he got the very best from those serving under him. One Trooper who had been with him in Korea said Reg was like a father to him.
Reg was fond of animals and his chow Sheila was his constant companion at that time. He also invested in a flock of hens, for which he received much ribbing (taken in good part) from his fellow Mess members.
One memory is of one of the initial mounted parades, the Squadron Leader’s mount was attempting to back into the front tanks and Reg belabouring its backside with his belt.
He was a strong supporter of the Regimental football team, and his cry of Play the Wings, delivered in a stentorian voice, was a regular feature. He was a staunch supporter of that famous 1950s Sergeants Mess, where his wicked sense of humour often came to the fore. He was much respected by his fellow Mess
members, as indeed he was by everybody in the Regiment with whom he came in contact. Children loved ‘Uncle Reg’.
Reg and Ethel’s MQ at Luneburg was a byword for hospitality – an ever-open house. The single members descended en masse, particularly at weekends, to sample ‘Auntie’ Ethel’s excellent bill of fare.
In June 1953 Reg, as a Sergeant, was in the party representing the Regiment in London for the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth.
In mid-1954 he was promoted to SSM of HQ Squadron. Reg had experienced time both behind and in front of the desk, and this stood him in good stead. He is remembered as a strict but fair, firm and friendly SSM. He successfully taught many Squadron Leaders as to how to run HQ Squadron.
Reg held, as well as his Military Medal, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star (8th Army Clasp), France and Germany Star, 1939-45 War Medal, Defence Medal, General Service Medal (Clasp Malaya), Korea Medal, Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal and UN Korea Medal. Alas no, LS&GC Medal.
Reg was always a strong, imperturbable and colourful character. Perhaps this explains why his promotion record in the earlier days was of the snakes and ladders type. Yet another case of being long on the service requirement, but short on the second.
He took his release on 5 February 1958 and his character was exemplary.
On leaving the Army he became a War Department policeman at Windscale, near his boyhood home.
He was awarded the Police LS&GC Medal. It was here that he joined Durham Troop and met up with many old chums from his wartime years, amongst them Topper Brown – a friend since he joined the 8th Hussars; Dick Gascoyne and Alfie Vollans.
Unfortunately, Ethel suffered ill health during her latter days, so after Reg’s retirement, they moved back to Oadby to be near her family. Sadly she passed away some years ago.
Reg was treasurer of the Leicester Troop of the Regimental Association up till the time of his death.
He was also a member of the BKVA. Reg was always of a generous nature and it is appropriate that he will be remembered locally for his gift to the church of a crucifix.
He donated his body for scientific research.