example was instrumental in keeping the Regiment on an even keel during this difficult time. Henry was a hugely popular Commanding Officer with both his officers and his men. He had a quick brain and gave clear direction at all times. In matters of opinion there were no grey areas. He was quick to defend those he commanded from external criticism and was kind hearted in a no-nonsense sort of way. When a Guards Brigadier complained about the standard of saluting by one of Henry’s soldiers, he was very swiftly invited to look at the standards of saluting in the rest of the Garrison. Certain topics could provoke a furious reaction sometimes resulting in hilarious consequences. On one such occasion, while emphasising a point, Henry flung his arm out, thereby managing to spot-weld his hook to the battery of the engine in his yacht, Shabraque. He was a keen sailor and would frequently invite his officers to join him on board. After command, Henry had a number of roles including command of the UK element in the Sinai. In 1987 he was promoted full Colonel and served as Defence Attaché in Nairobi until his retirement on medical grounds in 1991. He was appointed National Chairman of the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association (BLESMA) in 1996 until 2010. He was elected a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1970 and also belonged to the Royal Cruising Club. In 2010, aged 72, he sailed across the Atlantic in the Royal Ocean Racing Club 600 Yacht Race with fourteen ex-service men as the first all-amputee crew. His philosophy was that “there is no disability when everyone on board is somewhat in bits.” He owned a number of boats - the last two being named appropriately Drum Horse - and based in the Caribbean.
volunteered for military service and was commissioned, aged 18, into the Royal Dragoons. Crossing over to France after D-Day, he saw action in France, Holland and Germany and was mentioned in dispatches after volunteering to paddle across to small hilly island to spy out enemy positions. Though the island came under sustained enemy fire (and was obliterated by the Germans the following day), he made his escape and after paddling back, relayed the vital information. In Holland, leading a group of armoured cars through a town, his car was blown up by a panzerfaust anti-tank weapon, the explosion throwing him clear of the car, and knocking him unconscious. When he came to he was deaf from the blast and since the burning wreckage shielded him from the Germans, began to crawl towards a muddy ditch. Instead, remembering that his driver was still in the car, he ran back and pulled the man out. As they ran for cover, Strachan received a bullet in the leg. Captured by the Germans, Strachan was taken to a hospital, in which he was the only Allied patient. There he played chess with his German neighbour and when on Hitler’s birthday an SS officer arrived to distribute sweets and cigarettes, he pulled the sheet over his head and held out his hand, later speculating that he was probably the only Allied soldier to have received a “birthday” present from the Fuhrer. He nearly died from blood poisoning until the hospital was overrun and he was flown back to Britain.
Henry was a dedicated, courageous and professional officer and a good friend of many. He always stuck up for those less able to look after themselves. No one will forget his indomitable spirit and he will be remembered with respect and affection by his family, those who served with him, and all who knew and worked with him.
Ben Strachan Late The Royal Dragoons with acknowledgment to The Daily Telegraph Benjamin Leckie Strachan, who was 92 years old when he died on 12th July, was born in Edinburgh on 4th January 1924. His father was a doctor who had won an MC in the First World War for rescuing wounded men under fire. A brother, Gordon, would become well known in Scotland as the Reverend Gordon Strachan, author of Freeing the Feminine and Jesus the Master Builder. Ben won a scholarship to Rossall School, Lancashire, followed by an exhibition to Oxford, but instead of going up he
After the war Strachan joined the 4th Hussars and, while serving in Malaya during the Emergency in 1948, was shot in the arm during an ambush. It was only later that he discovered that the bullet had gone straight through his arm and penetrated his chest, lodging a few centimetres from his heart. He later transferred to the 10th Hussars, taking command of the regiment as major. During his Army service Strachan had studied at the Royal Military College of Science and learned Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Army’s Middle East Centre for Arabic Studies in Lebanon and served as an intelligence officer in Egypt, ending his military career as deputy head of MI10 (technical intelligence). By 1961, however, he had concluded that he was not a good peacetime soldier and decided on a whim to apply for the diplomatic service. When asked at the interview what he would do about the Egyptian president Nasser, he responded that it was a bit unfair to ask him to solve in 10 minutes a problem that had baffled the British government for 10 years. Nonetheless, he was appointed head of the Middle East section of the Foreign Office’s counter-propaganda department and ran the information services of the British colonial government in Aden. He followed that with postings in Kuwait, as commercial attaché, and as chargé d’affaires in Jordan, where he had to barricade himself into the downstairs cloakroom of his house
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