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Major Glyn White MBE
Late Welsh Guards

by Brigadier Peter Williams DL
formerly Welsh Guards

Glyn White, who died on 7th August after a brief illness at the age of 88, was the epitome of a Welsh Guardsman. He was born in Mountain Ash in 1933, the cradle of many a rugby player, left school at the age of sixteen and became apprenticed to a blacksmith, where work at the anvil bestowed on him a crushing, if unwitting, handshake. He enlisted in the Welsh Guards in 1953, and joined the battalion in the Canal Zone, initially leaving after three years. He re-joined in 1958 when the battalion was in the old Chelsea barracks, the start of a thirty-year career which culminated in a Quartermaster commission. After two years as a Company Sergeant Major at Sandhurst, he returned in 1975 to the Battalion as the Regimental Sergeant Major, having seen service in Canada, Cyprus, Norway, BAOR and Northern Ireland, and was the Sergeant Major in Caterham, on the United Nations tour in Cyprus, and in Berlin. His unswerving loyalty to the Regiment and insistence on the highest standards were central not only to his leadership but to the thoughtful advice he always gave. He was an excellent shot, and throughout his life maintained an abiding passion for rugby, where he was a formidable second row forward, and a member of the Battalion’s Army Cup winning team. He could have played first class rugby had he not believed that his family needed his time more. His pithy analysis in his later years of the Welsh national team for good or ill was an education in itself, though their ears must have burned when they fell below what he expected.

In 1977 he was granted a Quartermaster commission and posted to the Battalion as Transport Officer, and was on the Sir Galahad when she was set ablaze in a devastating airstrike during the Falklands War. He was badly burned on the face and hands in his efforts to help rescue wounded from the inferno, and many felt that his bravery should have been formally recognised. He served latterly as Quartermaster of the Battalion and the Guards Depot and retired in 1987. He was appointed MBE in the New Year’s Honours 1988.

A convinced Christian, in retirement he devoted himself to his family, his garden and rugby. Having married Sue in Abercymboi in 1956, they celebrated sixty-five years of marriage; to her and their two sons, Michael and Brian, we send our condolences.

His love of rugby bore remarkable fruit in the genesis of the Welsh Guards Rugby Reunion Club which, with the motivation of Chris Beynon and the committee, over the years raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal. Perhaps no better example of the help it can give is that of the rather forlorn, down on his luck ex-Guardsmen Glyn recognised and stopped in the street. After having a word, he immediately got the necessary funds from the Appeal for clothes, took him under his wing and saw him settled in work; a remarkable Welsh Guards Sergeant Major and a true gentleman.

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