The Royal Anglian Regiment museum
- Hugh William
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Home town
- Final rank
- Army number
- Date enlisted
- Background info
- Hugh Alden was born in India in 1921, and was 18 when WWII broke out. He had just left school and was planning to train as a vet, but it was obvious he would have to join up. Initially he applied to be an RAF fighter pilot, only to be rejected because he confused green and blue.
This probably saved him, as life expectancy for teenage fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain was not good. Undaunted, he then joined the Army. After a period in the ranks, before seeing active service he was selected for officer training. Because of his knowledge of India was commissioned in the Dogra Regiment, an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army.
En route to India to join his regiment his ship was sunk by German action off the coast of West Africa. Picked up by a Spanish vessel, he was interned on the Canary Islands, but managed to escape and return to England.
At the age of 21 he was a Major, and posted to India, winning an MC at the battle of Imphal in 1944. In doing so he was shot through the chest.
The field hospital managed to save Hugh, and recuperating later, he met 18 year old Audrey Guest, one of two nurses who later served in Burma.
Because Red Cross Nurses were not allowed to use military equipment, she had been allocated an elephant on which to escape if the Japanese attacked, and was always rather disappointed not to get the opportunity to use her elephant.
Their romance blossomed,and they married in 1946, returning to the UK in 1948. Hugh joined the Essex Regiment in Colchester, because of family links to East Anglia. Staff College in 1954 was followed by secondment to the Malayan Army in 1956.
In 1958 the Essex Regiment amalgamated to form the 3rd East Anglian Regiment.
Hugh died in 1960 at Millbank Hospital aged only 39. Now a war widow, Audrey lived on for fifty years, and died in 2012.
- Army career
- Date of death
- Resting place