An old soldier who sounded the bugle during the last charge on horseback by the British Army has passed away aged 94.
Trumpeter Douglas ‘Dougie’ Hall, originally from Boughton but who lived in Blacon, Upton and latterly Vicar’s Cross, took part in a cavalry ‘charge’ by Cheshire Yeomanry B Squadron in a raid on a Vichy-French-held village in Lebanon during the Syria campaign of June 1941.
The village was caught by surprise and its German collaborators surrendered. The historic charge proved vital as part of the Allies' final victory in the Middle East before Rommel was defeated at El Alamein.
Dougie told the Chronicle's sister paper The Daily Post in 1997: “It wasn’t considered a proper charge because we did not raise our swords, but the whole village was a mass of confusion as we rode through. They must have wondered what on earth was going on.”
Dougie finally said farewell to his faithful mount called Blighty following a victory parade in Beirut. He was then posted to communications with the 8th Army in the fight against Rommel, and exchanged four legs for two-wheels when he became a motorcycle dispatch rider.
The old soldier’s family had a long link with the Cheshire Yeomanry. His father, Chester baker Frederick Hall, bred horses for the regiment down by the River Dee.
The Duke of Westminster and one time Colonel of The Cheshire Yeomanry has sent a letter of condolence to the family through his private secretary.
Dougie, known as “an outgoing and gregarious character”, was president of Upton Royal British Legion going back over many years and could be seen selling poppies at Sainsbury’s around Remembrance Day each year.
After the war, he was a band leader with Doug Hall and his Band, and played the drums as recently as his 91st birthday. He first worked in his dad’s bakery in the days when bread was delivered by horse and cart, then for local car parts businesses Kerry’s and Brown Brothers, as a storeman for Hawker Siddley and at Vauxhall Motors as a fitter’s mate. He and his brother Fred worked on the turnstiles and behind the bar at Chester Football Club. In retirement, Dougie was a commissionaire at Chester Racecourse and a car park attendant at Chester Cathedral.
Beloved husband of the late Marjorie, Dougie, who died on May 13, is survived by his daughters Jean and Susan and grandchildren Simon, Lisa, Helen and David.
His funeral service will be held at Holy Ascension Church, Upton, at 12.15pm on Tuesday, June 3, followed by cremation at Blacon Crematorium. Family flowers only. Donations if desired to Cheshire Yeomanry Benevolent Fund. All enquiries to George Pettit & Son Funeral Directors, 17 Delamere Street, Chester, CH1 4DS. Call 01244 390578.