Obituary – Simon Ward (B3 1965 – 1970)

Simon Andrew Buxton Ward (B3 1965-70)

 11 June 1952 – 20 April 2021

Simon had an idyllic childhood in Windsor Great Park, where his father was Chaplain to HM the Queen and after Prep School at Scaitcliffe, went to MC at the age of thirteen. His were happy days at Marlborough, where cricket and escapes for illicit smokes on Granham Hill were higher on his agenda than academic pursuits. So, the day after receiving less than shining A level results, he was marched to the local recruiting office to take the Queen’s shilling. He first served as a Greenjacket before making up for missed academic qualifications at the Army School of Education in Beaconsfield, where his chief achievement was learning to complete the Telegraph crossword in 10 minutes, a skill which he maintained throughout his life until cancer got the better of his brain. Thus began a military career which was to span more than 44 years, serving as a Queen’s Dragoon Guard in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, Australia and the UK. His many postings included Second-in-Command of his regiment, British Liaison Officer to the Bundeswehr, various staff jobs and latterly as co-ordinator of all Army Band engagements.

The moral courage, sense of duty and justice which was instilled by his parents and nurtured at Marlborough stayed with him for the rest of his life, once costing him his appointment as ADC when he stood up for an injustice done to a member of a General’s house staff. On another occasion he earned respect and gratitude when, as the Pommie exchange officer, he summarily dismissed the Australian Military Police who had intervened in a domestic incident concerning one of his soldiers, freeing the Trooper from the public humiliation of being tied to a lamp post half-naked outside his married quarter. Listening to the poor soldier’s problems proved far more effective; not only did Simon genuinely care about his soldiers, but he was just as at ease in conversation with the highest ranking general and the lowest ranking recruit, and was equally curious about what each would have to say.

Simon loved his time at Marlborough, recounting happy days catching butterflies on the Downs, participating in sport, gardening in St Peter’s churchyard as part of Community Service (in order, ironically, to avoid the CCF), hanging sheets like ghosts from the bridge over the Bath Road to frighten motorists below as well as other mischievous occupations. Having a father on Council probably saved his bacon on many an occasion.  Simon’s love of cricket continued after Marlborough, leading him to play for his Regiment and once for the Army. He was an avid follower of the English team’s fortunes and qualified as an umpire. His aim on retirement was to get his golf handicap down to single figures, another ambition which was frustrated by ill health.

Above all, Simon was devoted to his family and was immensely proud of his two children and three grandchildren. In 1979 Simon married Margaret and both their children, Andrew (C2 1997-2000) and Catherine (MM 1995-2002), enjoyed a successful and happy education at Marlborough.