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Grenadier Guards.


Company Sergeant Major, ‘C’ Company, Arborfield Army Apprentices School, 1955 onwards.


Contributed by Trevor STUBBERFIELD (52A)


The Telegraph  Daily Telegraph, dated Tuesday 9th of August 2011.


Dougie Huxley

Doug Huxley M.M.


Doug Huxley, who died on July 19 aged 90, was awarded a Military Medal while commanding a troop of Grenadier Guards in April 1945.

Mounted in Churchill tanks, 2 and 3 Squadron, 4th Grenadier Guards (part of 6 Guards Armoured Brigade), had been making their way just beyond the Rhine down roads blocked by felled and booby-trapped trees when, north of the town of Lengerich, 2 Squadron came under fire and lost two tanks.  Sergeant Huxley, commanding the leading troop of 3 Squadron, was ordered to reconnoiter the enemy position, dominated by an 88mm gun, but to go no further once he had done so. He, however, repeatedly asked permission to close with the enemy and finally got it. Almost immediately his tank came under heavy fire, receiving at least seven high explosive and one armour-piercing rounds, which put his own guns out of action and immobilised the vehicle.

Huxley remained in the tank, calmly reporting the situation on the wireless and laying down two inch smoke so his crew could get away. Only when they were safely back did he run for cover himself.

Throughout the action Sgt Huxley's conduct was considered to be beyond praise. His determination to get to grips with the enemy and push forward at all costs was seen as an example to all. Moreover, his disregard for his personal safety and determination to keep his guns in action was said, most unusually by his citation, "to represent an outstanding feat of arms".

Douglas John Huxley was born in Preston on November 11 1920, one of four children whose father found life impossible following service in the Great War.

Reduced to living in the local workhouse and deeply affected by seeing his mother struggle to keep him and his siblings, Doug ran away to become a farmhand before lying about his age to join the Grenadier Guards. His true age emerged eventually, however, and rather than lose him the Grenadiers made him a Drummer Boy until he was eligible for full service.

Having missed Dunkirk, Huxley was posted to the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, where he qualified as a sergeant tank commander. He landed on Gold Beach on July 19 1944 to begin the push to Germany, often encountering an enemy which fought to the last man. Confrontations were brutal and bitter. "We showed no mercy," he later said.

Postwar service took him to Palestine and Germany. As CSM he served under RSM "The Voice" Ronald Brittain at Mons Officer Cadet School, also completing tours with the Army Apprentices School and London University OTC. In 1961 he retired as Warrant Officer Class 1, after 24 years service.

During his service he had met Lt-Gen Sir Brian Horrocks, commander of XXX corps during Operation Market Garden, who made Huxley a friendly promise: "Look me up if ever you need help." Huxley noted this and, shortly before retiring, gatecrashed a cocktail party at the House of Lords to remind Sir Brian, then Black Rod, of his offer.

The effort bore fruit, and Huxley was appointed Assistant Doorkeeper for the House of Lords, later becoming Principal Doorkeeper. When once there was trouble in the Peeresses Gallery, Huxley discovered Vivien Leigh protesting noisily over the closure of the St James Theatre. He told Sir Brian, who promptly invited Lady Olivier to tea.

After 24 years in the job, Huxley retired and was appointed MBE.

In 1943 Doug Huxley had found time to marry "Peggie" Friend, a girl he had known since their teens. They were together for 60 years until her death in 2003, when he joined the Royal Hospital Chelsea. There he was a strong, gentlemanly presence and much respected by all. He is survived by his niece and two grandsons.


The Obituary above appeared in the Daily Telegraph, dated Tuesday 9th of August 2011.

The Telegraph

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Arborfield Old Boys Association Reunion 2007.

Chelsea Pensioners obit wo

Photo © Alan MORTON (51B)

‘Duggie’ Huxley, on the left, attended the AOBA Reunion of 2007.  Those who were in his charge during their time as apprentices at Arborfield remember him with great respect, and indeed, affection.  This was visibly demonstrated by those who attended the reunion.  He was held in high esteem by all.

Although not of my term, I did spend some time talking to him before the reunion proceedings got going and it was immediately apparent that he was indeed a very genuine man who had the greatest respect for the boys who were in his care. Arborfield has lost an icon, described in just one word as ‘Gentleman’.



Information Added  15th July 2021.


Editor’s Note.


As often happens, the photo below was found by pure chance and is very relevant to the information already published about ‘Duggie’ Huxley and will be of interest to those who knew him from his Arborfield days.

Seated in the Front Row, 2nd from the right, he is the commanding figure of a proud British Grenadier.

More information about the photo is available from the link below it.


Photo Credit: Charnwoodgenealogy.  




  First Published: 15th August 2011.

 Latest Update: 15th July 2021.  












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