Honorary Colonel Howard Armstrong

Howard Armstrong was always known to his friends as ‘Fish’ simply because he joined the Regiment in 1917 at the same time as another officer nicknamed ‘Chips’.  He served initially with the 3rd Battalion, taking part in the 3rd Afghan War before transferring to the 2nd Battalion in 1920 and later, in 1924, to the 1st Battalion.  In 1921 he became Training Officer to the Resident’s Escort in Kathmandu.  Later he trained recruits of the 9th Jat Regiment and from 1934-37 he was a Military Intelligence Officer in Bengal and Assam, for which he was awarded the Indian Police Medal.

In February 1941 he raised the 4th Battalion of 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, and from April that year commanded the 4th Battalion of the 2nd Goorkhas, going with it to the North-West Frontier from January 1942 until October 1943.  He was then sent as Second-in-Command of the Regimental Centre in Dehra Dun, which he subsequently commanded from September 1945 to October 1947.  He retired from the Army in January 1948 with the rank of Honorary Colonel.

He was a keen all-round sportsman and particularly good at golf, tennis and squash.  He and Lieutenant Colonel Ross won the Peshawar District inter-regimental golf competition in 1932 and he was runner-up in the North-West Frontier Province squash tournament the same year.  During the big shoot organised for the Prince of Wales’s visit to Nepal in 1921 ‘Fish’ Armstrong is reputed to have bagged a rhinoceros.

After retiring from the Army he lived in Cheltenham, but as a passionate supporter of the Regiment travelled frequently to visit them in the Far East.  He was the founder and first Honorary Secretary of the UK Regimental Association, which later became the Sirmoor Club.  From 1953 he was the State Home Guard Officer in Trengganu, Malaya.  Shortly before he died there in 1955 he was awarded the Trengganu Meritorious Service Medal.  He was buried with full military honours at the Kuala Trengganu Cemetery.  He was unmarried.


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