It is with great sadness that we have to announce the recent death of our friend and Branch Treasurer, Richard O’Neill. He would have been seventy-five on the 2nd of October.
A founder member of OUS Southwest France, Richard rarely missed a committee meeting, and was as meticulous in the planning of events as in keeping the Branch accounts. His jocular approach to life, and to his own problems in particular, could not really mask his shrewd intelligence, courage, and concern for others.
After attending Portsmouth Grammar School, Richard went up to Oriel in 1960 where he read Physics. After a short spell as a stockbroker, he joined the family insurance firm. But his real vocation was elsewhere. He joined the 1st Battalion of the Wessex Regiment (Territorial Army) and served as a reserve officer. During a mission in the first Gulf War, an injury left him with a damaged leg which later had to be amputated. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
At one of the first events organized by the Branch (a dinner with the Chancellor), Richard met John Allsop (Christ Church 1956) who had recently taken on the work of co-ordinating the activities of the Royal British Legion in southwest France. He was looking for a Treasurer and Richard immediately accepted the job, doing the RBL’s accounts up until a fortnight before his death.
Having been injured himself, he was particularly concerned by the fate of wounded soldiers and their families, and he supported a charity « Help for Heroes » which works to relieve their moral, physical and financial difficulties. His two sons feel he would have appreciated that any donations made in his memory should go to this charity.
Marion has emailed members on this last subject.
John Baylis, Marion Tempé, John Perry, Pip Kirby