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Big Jack ?
June 17, 2017

Joined: May 8, 2014
Posts: 1203
Big Jack ?

June 17, 2017

I had the pleasure of working on the Provo with Jack ,also Geoff Welsh and Johny Holden all under the command of Joe Duda when I came back from the AAC in Hobart. We had some good laughs with the antic of a certain 2nd Leutenant Hall ( Harry later Mj Gen) .if you remember we had a up/ down barrier ,Harry had a mini which fitted under the barrier ,routine was identify lift salute , but Harry had us upping the barrier also trying to salute. Joe got the LAD welder put chains hanging down thus causing damage to said mini . Another story on Jack was in Larzac tending the garden outside the guardroom,dressed in his pt shorts and gaters,talk about dressed to kill. Yes Jack won a few bob on the Lotto ,thus his big Opel Admiral and also being the only single guy ( at that time ) living down town with his German girlfriend. There was one story which was very funny from Chester Dale,if you remember the guardroom was the old cricket pavilion in the centre of the bks ,being a full screw in MT we had to pick up AWOL soldiers from local police stations then ship them to their respective depot ,Bovvy Pirbrite etc. We had picked up a runner from Liverpool and the police told he'd even tried to escape their nick ,Jack had a novel way to keep him from absconding  ,easy handcuffed him to the cricket roller weighing about 3/4 hundred weight .Then shipped him handcuffed to the L/Rover . R I P Jack you were a great Carb  

June 18, 2017

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 683
Big Jack ?

June 18, 2017

I was on the 3DG provost with John Holden, Jack, Chester Price and Geordie Cairns in Muenster and in Herford. The lotto win was DM 5000, a lot of money in those days and as Bob says he bought that big old Opel Admiral with it. He told me he was on his way to the ferry terminal in Zeebrugge when he checked his numbers in a filling station, saw he had won, did a u-turn and drove back to collect it. Jack drove everywhere, he even drove  from York Barracks to the pub in Gremmendorf, a good 300 meters or so, where he used to drink. How he never got done for drink driving until he finally got caught in Sennelager I will never know. He drove that Admiral from Gremmendorf  to York Barracks one night entirely along the pavement. Jack always had a woman in tow, his long suffering partner in Detmold seemed impervious to his way of life and she told me one day she just accepted him the way he was. I played a lot of golf with Jack, he was very good at it and hit the ball a country mile. In Sennelager, whilst I was Families SNCO, I got a call from the Ordely Officer asking if I could help out. Jack, who was a L/Sgt , Sgts Mess Caterer at the time, was cornered at the HeideKotten  pub  which was just along for one of the army housing estates and a local for many of us. He was apparently drunk, fighting  mad and the RMP had called our guardroom for help. I lived 100 yards from the pub, I walked over and saw 4 RMP surrounding a very belligerent Jack who was inviting them to try their luck and arrest him. I asked the RMP Sgt if I got Jack back to camp would they let the matter be dealt with by the Regiment. He agreed but said he didn't think there was a chance in hell of that happening. I walked up to Jack  who greeted me with a huge grin and his customary 'boyo' I asked him if I could run him back to camp, he put his arms around me and suggested we took the RMP on together. Long story short I drove him back to camp and placed him under mess arrest as was the deal with the RMP. He was given a severe reprimand for that escapade. Jack was a larger than life character. I always thought he would die before he ever reached 50, his lifestyle was certainly not conducive to a long life. I think he ended up driving a taxi in Catterick after he left the army. His departure from Sennelager required a degree of subterfuge as he had been banned from driving by then,  'once I get to the border I'll be fine' he remarked when I asked him about it!! John Henry Hughes, one of the old school 'Regimental Characters' they don't make em like that any more that's for sure!! R.I.P.              

June 18, 2017

Joined: May 5, 2014
Posts: 555
Big Jack ?

June 18, 2017

Received a reply from Peter Farley to my request for confirmation, or otherwise, that it is deffo Big Jack who has passed on - sadly, it is the Big Fella, who has gone to the Big Guardroom in the Sky - rest in peace Jack, you were a legend, known & liked by everyone. John (JKW)

June 18, 2017

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 683
Big Jack ?

June 18, 2017

Sad news indeed. I am guessing Jack would have been in his late 70s? Re your bit about boxing and Big Jack, John, I recall he fought Billy Walker (Gunnery buff like yourself) in the inter squadron boxing in the very early Muenster days. Billy was a very powerfully built, strong but well spoken and quiet guy as you will recall. My recollection of the fight is that Jack was throwing haymakers all over the place and missing by a country mile, Billy was getting in some really good solid punches but Jack seemed impervious to them. Then, an epiphany, a real JKW moment, Jack got a punch on the nose, got really angry threw a half dozen punches and one of them landed. Bout over. I always thought how brave Billy Walker was to fight Jack who towered over him and must have had several stone weight advantage. Now, my memory is pathetically poor so anyone else who was there and witnessed that fight and has a different recollection please feel free to add your perspective. I'm not even sure that fight took place now!! Anyway as you say a true character, difficult guy not to like and mostly a gentle giant.

June 19, 2017

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 683
Big Jack ?

June 19, 2017

Just had the official notification from HHQ about Jack, I estimate he would have been about 75/76. R.I.P. big fellah!      

June 19, 2017

Joined: May 14, 2014
Posts: 977
Big Jack ?

June 19, 2017

Sad news indeed my friends, one thing I remember fondly about the "Big Un" was how he let everyone know he was not amused by a Carb soldier's  behaviour was his huge "HUMMMFFF" at the top of his voice. I am sure they could hear it from Detmold to Berlin......Even with all tanks full throttle in the tank park.......... One of a kind, never bettered by anyone.......  Rest in Peace old comrade, Tom

June 19, 2017

Joined: May 5, 2014
Posts: 555
Big Jack ?

June 19, 2017

I sparred many times with both Big Jack & Billy Walker whilst I was in training for the BAOR Championships - with Jack, the secret was to let him swing, bob n weave or duck to get him to miss, and then move in & out quick punching his head. He never felt much, and I knew to beat him would be on a points basis only, cos no matter how I tried, I couldn't get him to go down ! With Billy W it was similar, although relentless jabbing to his head used to cause him to throw off his gloves in frustration and stamp his feet, because again, I kept moving to prevent him catching me - after all, he was a big fella like Jack and if he caught you it would be "goodnight" !  Both were heavyweights ( I was a middleweight then) and were vital to my training - to get me used to speedier boxers, I sparred with Jim Hardy & Ken Day, both welterweights I think, and both sadly RIP as well. Too many of our former comrades are passing on, but at least we can retain our memories of great moments shared, and a huge reason for keeping this website so alive where we can do so - thanks again Freddy. John (JKW)


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