General Sir Anthony FARRAR-HOCKLEY
GBE, KCB, MBE, DSO, MC, Blitt
Anthony Heritage Farrar-Hockley was born in Coventry on April 8th 1924.
He was educated at Exeter School.
JOINED THE ARMY
In 1939 at the age of 15 with the outbreak of the Second World War, he ran away from home and his schooling, and joined the Gloucestershire Regiment.
Within a month his age was found out and he was discharged from the Army.
He didn't leave it there as he had always wanted to be in the Army so in 1941, he enlisted and joined the 70th Young Soldiers Battalion, and quickly got promoted to Sergeant at the young age of 17.
JOINED THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT
He saw the formation of the Parachute Regiment, and in November 1942, at the age of 18 volunteered, and passed selection and was given a commission.
In 1944 at the age of 20 he was given command of a Rifle Company whilst putting down a Communist uprising in Athens. He was in command of A Company, of the 6th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, when he was awarded the Military Cross in the area of Thebes, Greece. The 6th Battalion was part of the newly formed 1st Airborne Division.
RETURNED TO THE GLOSTERS
In 1946 he returned to the Gloucesters serving in Palestine as a Captain and was later sent to Korea.
Captain Farrar-Hockley was adjutant of the Gloucestershire Regiment's 1st Battalion when it was sent to Korea late in 1950 as part of the 29th Brigade.
The United Nations (mainly American) forces were faring badly against the North Koreans and a further 350,000 Chinese troops had also joined the conflict.
The Brigade acted as rearguard when theAmericans withdrew south of the 38th parallel, only to be attacked again on New Year's Day 1951.
The Chinese launched another massive offensive on April 22, when the 29th Brigade occupied a defensive position south of the Imjin river with its one Belgian and three British battalions, including the 1st Gloucesters, on the left of the UN line.
The Chinese sent three divisions against the 29th in a flanking attack, after which they intended to swing east behind two slowly advancing American Divisions, encircling them.
Brigadier .T. Brodie was defending a 12-mile front with his Brigade-group of four Battalions supported by tanks and artillery. The "Glosters" under Lieutenant-Colonel J P Carne were on the extreme left and were assaulted by the Chinese 189th Division.
By dawn on April 24, the Glosters were completely surrounded on a low hill but were ordered to hold on. As they ran out of ammunition, hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and even beer bottles followed. For his part in this fierce action, Farrar-Hockley was awarded the DSO, normally a decoration for majors and above. His citation read:
"Throughout this desperate engagement on which the ability of the Battalion to hold its position entirely depended on Captain Farrar-Hockley as an inspiration to the defenders.His outstanding gallantry, fighting spirit and great powers of leadership heartened his men and welded them into an indomitable team. His conduct could not have been surpassed"
The Americans intended to relieve them but"dallied, then sent too little, too late," Farrar-Hockley recalled later. "Surrounded, the Glosters were ordered to make their own way out. Only two small groups of the Battalion and one artillery troop escaped. Running a gauntlet of fire, they fell in successfully with a rescue sortie. The remainder were captured."
Such was the origin of the Glorious Glosters legend, which won the battalion a special place in British military history.
But the 8th Army as a whole held on, in what turned out to be the turning point in the war, the UN forces were able to go back to the 38th parallel and commence peace talks in June1951.
Prisoners of War included Farrar-Hockley, who escaped six times and was recaptured on each occasion but earned amention in dispatches for his defiance.
On his return to the UK in 1953, Farrar-Hockley went to the staff college at Sandhurst, Camberley, then rejoined airborne forces to combat the EOKA rebels in Cyprus, and in time for the 1956 Suez landings.
After the British show of support for King Hussein of Jordan in 1958 - and a period as a chief instructor at Sandhurst - he was promoted lieutenant colonel, and given command of the 3rd battalion of the Parachute Regiment in 1962.
CO - 3 PARA - RADFAN
In 1964 "Farrar the Para", as his troops knew him, won his second DSO, during operations against the Radfan tribesmen, 60 miles north of Aden, who, under the influence of Arab nationalists, mined and ambushed the road from the British protectorateon the coast to the Yemen.
MALAYA - BORNEO
The following year 1965 he served as a staff officer in Borneo, in support of the two-year-old Malaysian Federation during the confrontation with Indonesia, returning to command the 16th Parachute Brigade in 1966.
He went to Northern Ireland as a Major-General, when unrest was mounting after the army's arrival in August 1969. The first soldier was killed there in February 1971.
Farrar-Hockley left that July, having publicly identified the IRA's role in organising republican violence,and the following month tension rose to new heights and levels, when internment without trial was introduced.
Relations between the Army and the Catholic community deteriorated, the IRA was revitalised, and the departing commander became a potential target in the future for it.
Farrar-Hockley moved on to West Germany in October 1971 as Commander of the 4th Division for two years.
Following three years at the Ministry of Defence, he became General Officer Commanding South-East District as a Lieutenant-General from 1977 to 1979 and then took up his final C-in-Cpost.
COLONEL COMMANDANT OF THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT
Among several honorary appointments, he was colonel commandant of the Parachute Regiment and colonel of the Gloucester Regiment, as well as ADC General to H.M. The Queen. His many works of military history included The Somme (1964) and the official, two-volume account of the British part in the Korean war (1990 and 1995).
In retirement, he became a pundit, writing military articles in the press. He aroused controversy in 1983 by getting involved with a campaign for a new home guard against Soviet sabotage in the event of war. In 1990 he revealed that Britain had been involved in a secret, armed anti-communist resistance network set up in many western European countries.
IRA ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE
Farrar-Hockley's name was found on an IRA hit list in the 1980s and in 1990, his five-year-old grandson found a bomb attached to a garden hose at his Oxfordshire home, which failed to go off.
Farrar-Hockley was married twice, to Margaret Wells, who died in 1981, and to Linda Wood, from 1983. She survives him, as do two of the three sons from his first marriage.
DARE FARRAR-HOCKLEY MC - FALKLANDS WAR
One of them became a Major-General who, to his father's immense pride, won the MC as a company commander with 2 PARA in the Falklands in 1982.
·Anthony Heritage Farrar-Hockley, soldier and military historian.
Born April 8 1924……………Died on March 11 2006
ONE OF THE GREAT COMMANDERS OF THE REGIMENT
Written and compiled by Gil Boyd B.E.M
Ex 2 PARA
General Sir Anthony Farra-Hockley