Concordia Winter 2023 Obituaries

General Sir Antony Walker (1948-1952)

Much-married tank commander with little patience, and less regard for personal consequences, who saw action in the Congo force and was admired by pupils and staff alike.


F ear Nought”, the motto of seemed equally appropriate for the man himself. Whether volunteering to serve in the (Belgian) Congo in its murderous chaos after independence, or in retirement speaking out against the management of the army, he had little regard for the personal consequences. Indeed, in his final military appointment, commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), where the future president of Pakistan, General Musharraf, and the Crown Prince of Thailand were among his “students”, he took as his maxim the rule attributed to St Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux: “Fear only God, notice all things, correct some things, cherish the brethren”. On commissioning in 1954, Second Lieutenant Walker joined Second Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). He was soon selected to be the gunnery officer, which in a regiment where gunnery was everything, indicated both ability and promise. Unusually, he was next made regimental signal officer, requiring a second long specialist course at the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) centre in Bovington, Dorset. By then, 2RTR had moved to Libya, which in the reign of King Idris was still a significant British garrison, and which remained so until Colonel Gaddafi’s coup in 1969. A junior staff appointment in HQ Tripolitania Area Antony Walker’s parent corps, the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR),

know, or are you guessing?” became a catchphrase. In 1974 he took command of 1RTR, which was then the border counties reconnaissance regiment in Northern Ireland, and for which he was mentioned in dispatches. Then followed a six-month tour of duty with the UN Force in Cyprus during the Turkish invasion, again in armoured cars, before returning to main battle tanks in Germany. This obituary was published in The Times , 1st November 2023

followed, but, wanting to see action, Walker, now a captain, volunteered for loan service with the 2nd Ghana Reconnaissance Squadron attached to the United Nations Operation in the Congo (Onuc). It was meant to be a peacekeeping operation, although there was little peace to keep. Onuc’s mandate was to use force only as a last resort to maintain order, but the various warring factions saw it differently, believing it to be a mandate to subdue them by force. In April at Port Francqui, the 90 man Ghanaian garrison was attacked and quickly overpowered. Forty of them were killed. Walker witnessed much violence. On return to 2RTR as second-in command of Cyclops (squadron), by now back in BAOR, he organised the trials to drop by parachute the “Malkara” guided-weapon system mounted on Humber “Hornet” armoured cars, each Hornet dispatched from the aircraft on a platform with four 66ft parachutes. The trials led to the creation in 1965 of the RAC Parachute Squadron. After attending the staff college at Camberley and a staff job in Hong Kong, Walker returned once more to 2RTR to command a tank squadron, first in BAOR and then at the School of Infantry on Salisbury Plain. Early promotion to lieutenant colonel followed, and a return to Camberley as a member of the directing staff, where his habit of asking students “Do you


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