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4th Queens Own Hussars in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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4th Queens Own Hussars




       When war broke out in 1939 the 4th Hussars were stationed at Tidworth, Hampshire with the 1st Light Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division. They went to France with the BEF and were evacuated at Dunkirk. After being re-equipped and re-trained in Briatin, the 4th Hussars deployed in January 1941 to the Middle East with the 1st Armoured Brigade. In March 1941 they moved to Greece to support of 6th Australian Infantry Division. At the Corinth Canal Bridge the 4th Hussars fought a rearguard action to allow the allied forces to retreat to the Peloponnese Peninsula. During this action all the senior officers and over 400 men of the 4th Hussars were taken prisoner.

    The regiment was re-constituted in June 1941 at Cairo and in April 1942 they received Grant and Stuart tanks before they re-joined 1st Armoured Brigade. B Squadron was detailed to the London Yeomanry, but during the Gazala battles on the 12th June, it was ambushed and almost the whole squadron was lost. The 4th Hussars, along with the rest of 8th Army was withdrawn to El Alamein, where they were temporary amalgamated with one Squadron from 8th Hussars to become the 4th/8th Hussars. They saw action at Alam Haifa and during the battle of El Alamein, the combined regiment crossed the German minefields and captured the strategically important Halfaya Pass. In November 1942 the 4th/8th Hussars disolved and 4th Hussars moved to Cyprus for a rest and further training. In June 1943 they returned to Egypt and then later went to Italy with 1st Armoured Division, where they were in action on the Gothic Line at Coriano. Whilst in Italy they re-equipped with Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carriers. In April 1945 they were again in action in the final battles up to the river Po and at the Argenta Gap.

    After VE day the 4th Hussars served in Austria helping to root out former SS members on the run. In October 1945 they transferred to 56th (London) Division. In July 1946 the regiment moved to Northern Austria and Syria and in March 1947 they moved to Lubeck on the Baltic coast for nine months until returning to Colchester at the end of the year.

    29th Feb 1940 New CO.


    If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.



    Those known to have served with

    4th Queens Own Hussars

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    • Ayre Sidney.
    • Etches Alfred Edwin. Tpr.
    • Mulhinch John. Signalman.
    • Mulhinch John.
    • Newman Francis Edgar. L/Cpl
    • Ord James Edward Francis. Cpl. (d.4 September 1942)
    • Smith Richard Sydney Grenville. 2nd Lt.
    • Thomas Henry.

    The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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    There are 2 pages in our library tagged 4th Queens Own Hussars  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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    Signalman. John Mulhinch 4th Queen's Own Hussars

    I would like to submit my Father, John Mulhinch's, story of his experiences as a POW during WW2. My father passed away in November of 1994 but he recorded his war time memories as part of a school project for my niece. I think your website is a wonderful recollection of wartime memories so future generations do not forget the sacrifices of those gone before us.

    Mulhinch, John, Signalman, 4th Queen's Own Hussars, 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats). Born Glasgow, Scotland 9th September 1914 son of William and Alice Mulhinch of Welltrees, Rutherglen. John was captured on 12th June 1942 along with his radio operator when his tank was bombed and destroyed at Knightbridge, south of Tobruk by the German army and turned over to the Italian Army. The Germans were pushing on to El Alamein and could not take prisoners. He was held prisoner in an Italian camp in Italy from October, 1942 until September, 1944. His captors told the prisoners that Italy was withdrawing from the war to seek peace and that they could go and try to escape to Switzerland or stay for the German army to pick them up. John Mulhinch and three others, a South African, and two Englishmen made their way walking to Switzerland stopping in small villages along the way for 2 days at a time. A Friar in an Italian Monastery near the border showed them a safe passage to Switzerland and they escaped at night to freedom. John stayed in Switzerland for ten months until the end of the war in 1945.

    He married Mary Forsyth Fenner on June 30, 1945, had three children, and emigrated to the United States in 1951. John died in Michigan in 1994.

    Irene Hahn



    John Mulhinch 4th Queen's Own Hussars

    My father, John Mulhinch, was a Signalman, with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, attached to the 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats).

    Born in Glasgow, Scotland 9th September, 1914, the son of William and Alice Mulhinch of Welltrees, Rutherglen. John was captured on 12th June 1942 along with his radio operator when his tank was bombed and destroyed at Knightbridge, south of Tobruk by the German army and turned over to the Italian Army. The Germans were pushing on to El Alamein and could not take prisoners. He was held prisoner in an Italian camp in Italy from October, 1942 until September, 1944. His captors told the prisoners that Italy was withdrawing from the war to seek peace and that they could go and try to escape to Switzerland or stay for the German army to pick them up. John Mulhinch and three others, a South African, and two Englishmen made their way walking to Switzerland stopping in small villages along the way for 2 days at a time. A Friar in an Italian Monastery near the border showed them a safe passage to Switzerland and they escaped at night to freedom. John stayed in Switzerland for ten months until the end of the war in 1945.

    He married Mary Forsyth Fenner, a former WLA, on June 30, 1945, had three children, and emigrated to the United States in 1951. John died in Michigan from emphysema in 1994.

    He always carried a "prayer card" honouring the first communion of a "Reginald Secker". I would love to know who this is as we are not Catholic and don't usually carry prayer cards. It is dated 9 July 1944 In the Chapel of the Sisters of Menizingen, Munchwilen, Switzerland. This person must have been important during my Dad's time in Switzerland before his return to Scotland in Oct. 1944. If anyone has a similar card or can answer this, I would love to hear from you.

    Irene Hahn



    L/Cpl Francis Edgar Newman 4th Queens Own Hussars

    My father, Francis Edgar Newman, 1905 - 1984 was a POW. Records from the International Red Cross show he was captured by the Germans at Corinthe in 1941. He arrived at Stalag XVIIID on 5th July 1941 having been transported from Saloniki, Greece. He then ended up in Stalag XVIIIA on 25th July 1941 and so far as I know, he was there until 1945.

    Richard Newman



    2nd Lt. Richard Sydney Grenville Smith 4th Queen's Own Hussars

    Richard Sydney Grenville Smith, was made a PoW in Greece in 1941 whilst serving with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, ending up in Stalag XVIIIA, in Austria.

    James Close-Smith



    Tpr. Alfred Edwin Etches 4th Queens Own Hussars

    Alf Etches was my uncle. As a reservist he was called up immediately WW2 broke out and was sent to Greece as part of the 2nd Armoured Division following the Greek request for assistance in the face of German and Italian invasion.Because of the enemy's superior strength the British troops were forced to evacuate and on the night of 28th/29th April 1941 as he was awaiting embarkation from the port of Kalamata, Alf was captured. He was taken to a temporary camp in Salonika and then dispatched to Stalag 18A, Wolfsburg. From here he was sent to work camps at Niklasdorf(924/GW) and Peggau (119/GW). He said that he was one of the luckier PoW's in that he wasn't assigned heavy manual work such as in the quarry or timber mill. He added that the camp commander, Kommandant Steiner, was a fairly amiable man. As the War came to an end he was transferred back to Stalag 18A to await liberation. There was a scare however when US aircraft mistakenly bombed the camp. A number of huts were damaged and there were some casualties. When Alf returned to his home in Wandsworth he was dreadfully thin but he had a loving wife, Violet,who made a great fuss of him and he was soon back to his cheery self.Like many others he was reluctant to talk about his experiences though.

    He had a number of jobs such as house painting and storekeeping. He and Vi led a quiet life and had no children. Alf died on the 19th January 1988 of a heart attack. The photo shows Alf (standing on the extreme left) in the camp, presumably after a game of football. I would be interested if anyone could identify his comrades in the photo.

    Mike Etches



    Cpl. James Edward Francis Ord Royal Armoured Corp 4th Hussars (d.4 September 1942)

    James Ord married Gwedonline Pollock in January 1940 in St Albans before being despatched with the 4th Hussars and Royal Armoured Corp to France with the BEF and evacuated following the Siege of Calais.

    After returning to the UK James was sent to the Middle East along with the 1st Armoured Brigade and then Greece where James was captured following the Battle of Corinth Canal.

    James was transferred to Stalag 18a POW Camp near Wolfsberg, Austria. He developed pneumonia and died 4th September 1941 in Stalag 18 and was buried in Klagenfurt Cemetery.

    Russell Greig



    Henry Thomas 4th Btn. Queen's Own Hussars

    My father served with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars in Greece in 1941, but was captured during the retreat. He was a POW somewhere in either Italy or Germany.

    Barry Thomas









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