Phil died on 16 August 2003 aged 76.

WO2 P Barker
WO2 P Barker

He enlisted into the Army on 26 February 1945 and after basic military training at 30 PTW, he was formally transferred to the RAC. There followed trade training with 57th Trg Regt. RAC at Catterick Camp and a posting to the 4th Hussars early in 1946.

At that time the Regiment was stationed in the CMF (Trieste, Monfalcone and Giardia). Phil moved with the 4th Hussars across Europe to BAOR (Lubeck) in the spring of 1947 and served there until November that year when the Regiment, reduced to cadre strength, was moved to Colchester.

Initially, it was housed in the very ancient Cavalry Barracks but moved along the road to Sobroan Barracks early in 1948. It was at this location the Regiment was earmarked for service in the Far East (Malaya); that country which was the source of much of the world’s rubber and tin was subject to insurrection by CTs (communist terrorists).

These bandits were well trained and armed in jungle warfare ironically by the British during the occupation of Malaya by the Japanese from 1941-1945.

The earmarking very quickly became a preparation order to move from Colchester to Malaya.

This involved the swelling of the Regiment to a full establishment of over 700 men; virtually all regulars with a minimum of three and a half years still to serve. The main party embarked on HMT Dilwara in August 1948 and spent four weeks aboard until arrival in Singapore.

Phil had trained in driving all types of vehicles and gunnery. He was sent to the Gunnery School in February 1950 where he remained in various capacities until February 1956 when he rejoined the 4th Hussars at Hohne (BAOR). Subsequently, he attended various courses concerned with becoming a ‘schools instructor’. He moved to the Gunnery School at Lulworth in March 1958.

When the 4th Hussars and 8th Hussars were amalgamated in 1958 Phil rebadged QRIH but served ERE (Northag Ranges) until 12 May 1961 when he actually joined the QRIH.

Thereafter he moved with the Regiment to Tidworth, Aden, Malaya (Borneo) until 12 August 1966 when he once again moved to the Gunnery School at Lulworth. His total colour service of 22 years and 74 days ended on 10 May 1967.

Apart from his prowess in tank gunnery, Phil passed a Guards foot drill course, a military accounting course and the very important ACE 1st Class. He was awarded various campaign medals and most importantly the LS and GC medal.

On 9 July 1948, Phil married Agnes at Colchester and they produced a son and daughter to join Dinae who had been adopted. Tragically, the daughter died when two days old. At the conclusion of their military service, Phil and his family settled near Huddersfield.

Phil was a buyer for an engineering company for 20 years.

Subsequently, he became production manager for a wire drawing company owned by an American consortium and he remained with them until his retirement at age 63.

For many years Phil was secretary of the Goldcar Branch RBL where, inter alia, he organised the Poppy Appeal. In company with Bernard Sharp and others, Phil was among the founders of York Troop. His retirement was also busy travelling the world on various cruises with Agnes.

His funeral was attended by a contingent of his Army friends and the RBL who carried the flags and sounded the Last post. May he rest in peace.

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