Tim Mockford, who died from a heart attack at Malvern on 18 October, joined the 3rd Hussars in 1955 when he was 18.
All who knew him will miss this much-loved regimental character and it is worth setting down, now, why he was so much loved.
First of all, he was a very Christian man showing real care and concern for all those around him whether they were his fellows, his subordinates or one of the long lines of officers he advised, guided and goaded through their duties.
Next, he was one of the Regiment’s “Gunnery Kings” but a more patient and painstaking instructor would be difficult to imagine; gunnery the Mockford Way was something even the most clueless chap could understand. He loved tanks and believed that everyone should be afforded every opportunity to do so too.
Perhaps his most endearing aspect, however, was that he was what is nowadays termed “Accident Prone” but was very reluctant to acknowledge the fact.
Stories of minor disasters besetting Corporal Mockford’s Conqueror in the early sixties are legion and I well remember the night he joined my Troop in the field in 1968.
One of the first things he did was to take the leading role in refuelling his Saladin with jerrycans but, no sooner had he started to pour, he must have missed his footing and was very suddenly on his back, on the ground, still clutching the near-full can to his chest.
Imagine his horror when, later that year, we actually found his old Conqueror on the range at Warcop, waiting to become a target!
Most of those who are still serving now will remember him best as SSM of ‘C’ Squadron, the sergeant major of the guard of honour found for the Queen Mother in 1975 and the most conscientious, avuncular figure to whom his soldiers could always turn when in need of help.
He left regimental duty in 1977 and went to serve as a recruiter, first in Wolverhampton and then in Worcester. Of course, in both these posts, he continued to give his most faithful service to the Regiment but he may be remembered best in the Midlands for the immense trouble he would characteristically take over those young men and boys who were not good enough to get into the Regiment of their choice.
A signal of the high esteem in which he was held is the great number of people, of all sorts and from all walks of life, who turned out to pay him tribute at his funeral in Malvern Abbey. “God giveth, and God taketh away”, the Parson said. Tim Mockford gave and gave of his best to everyone.