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Obituary

Major John Desmond Fellowes Hunter

Major John Hunter, who died on 22 September 2006 aged 77, was involved with the sea for many years. In 1940 he crossed the Atlantic with his mother and sister to be evacuated to America. After nearly two years they returned and John went to Sherborne School. He took the Civil Service Exam in 1947 and gained a place in the Royal Marines as a Probationary Temporary Second Lieutenant.

After his three and a half years of training, culminating with the Commando Course, he was promoted to Lieutenant. John was posted to the Far East. His first full service job was as a subaltern in HMS Ceylon which at that time was heavily involved in the Korean war. He joined the ship in June 1951 Two months after joining, John was ordered to to lead a small scale snatch raid on the West Coast of North Korea. His party of some 20 men were rowed to a selected spot on shore. The actual landing was very difficult due to the high and strong tides and many found themselves having to swim ashore. As they approached the enemy position the element of surprise was lost and the raiding party was met with heavy machine gun fire. Two men were wounded seriously and John also received a minor wound. Since the object of the snatch had failed they now had the difficult task of extricating themselves with their wounded. John achieved this and all members of the raiding party got back to their ship. For his part in the action John was awarded a Mention in Despatches.

After Korea John had various sea and shore postings. He attended the Army Staff College in 1962. He was then posted to 42 Commando in Aden becoming the adjutant of that unit. After a staff appointment in the Ministry of Defence John was posted to 42 Commando. Carol and his family were in Singapore whilst John and his unit were in various places including Malaya and Borneo. In 1974 he was the Naval Member on the NATO planning Staff at Headquarters Wilton.. His final two years were spent at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone.

On leaving The Royal Marines in 1978 John became the Chief Executive officer of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce. In 1981 he moved to the North East where he became Chief Executive of the Tyne and Wear Chamber of Commerce. A post he held until his retirement in 1988.

It was after his move to the North East that John became interested in Horse driving Trials. Previously off shore sailing had been his main sporting interest. Horse Driving Trials became fourth in his priorities after family, the Devon County Show, an event he stewarded at annually and The Royal Marines.

John was by nature calm, methodical and imperturbable so it was little wonder that he inevitably was at the start of Section A on Marathon day, Carol always acting as his writer. Befitting a former member of The Royal Marines his turn out as a steward on Dressage and Cones day was impeccable

To be invited to dine with John and Carol at a Driving Trial was a delight. You would not as in most horse boxes or caravans dine from campers cutlery, plates and glass but fine cutlery, bone china and cut glass. The food was always delicious. John though normally always correct did have a failing: he was not noted for always complying with the modern cult of Political Correctness. John would serve large tots to the boys and small tots to the girls. He believed in good old fashioned standards and values!

John was a devoted family man, when Carol was struck down with a stroke John nursed her back to health with loving care and tenderness. Sadly in the last eighteen months of John?s life it was Carol who had to nurse John with equal love and care. He was a very experienced and gallant officer, a gentleman and loyal supporter of Horse Driving Trials. He is survived by his wife Carol, who he married in 1957 and their son James and daughter Fiona.

Tony Booth

 

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