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Regimental Sergeant Major Jack Horton (5723680), Dorsetshire Regiment

Jack Horton enlisted in the Dorset Regiment in January 1931.  By 18 February 1933 he was pictured as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion in a group at the opening of Dorchester Football Club.[1]   By 1936, he was serving as a Sergeant probably in the 1st Battalion,[2] with whom he may have served in India.

Promoted WO (1) on 26 December 1942[1], he landed in Normandy as RSM of the 5th Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment in June 1944.  In the next eleven months he took part in:

                the campaign in Normandy June-August  1944

                the crossing of the Seine in late August 1944

                the advance through Belgium in September 1944

                the advance to Arnhem and operations south of the Neder Rhine in September-October 1944 (Operation Market Garden)

                holding the Groesbeek area in November 1944

                operations around Geilenkirchen November 1944 – January 1945

                defending the Meuse during Monty’s Ardennes operation December 1944

                clearing the west bank of the Rhine (Operation Veritable) February-March 1945

                crossing the Rhine March 1945

                the rapid advance towards Bremen March-April 1945

                and the capture of Bremen April 1945.

He was mentioned in Despatches for his distinguished service as RSM[1] and remained with the 5th Dorsets in the British Army of Occupation until September 1946.

                RSM Jack Horton, whose last days with us were unfortunately spent in hospital, went home to England on much overdue and well-earned leave.  At the time of going to press we don’t   know what job he has got, but we hope it is a worthy one and connected with the Regiment, and we wish him all the very best of luck in it, at the same time thanking him for all his hard work for the good of the Battalion and the Regiment.[2] 

After serving as RSM of the 1st Battalion in Austria in 1948-49[3] and receiving the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, he was appointed RSM of the Regimental Depot until he retired in 1953.

                Well, we are sorry to say that the day has arrived when RSM Horton has turned his back on  Army life and has gone to find a niche for himself somewhere among the idle rich.  After 23  years with the Regiment, of which almost 12 years was spent as Regimental Sergeant-Major,  he has had his discharge documents completed and has quietly wended his way to Woking to  receive his new wardrobe for civilian life.  Although these are Depot Sergeants’ Mess Notes, we are sure in our own minds that we can speak for all Sergeants’ Mess members of the  Regiment, wherever they may be serving, in saying in what high esteem he has been held by  all ranks for his quiet, efficient and understanding manner whilst carrying out his duties…[4]

Around the time of his retirement he added the Meritorious Service Medal to the other medals he had earned: the 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, 1939-45 War Medal with mention in Despatches oak leaf and Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.  His medals are displayed at the Devon & Dorset Regiment Museum. 

In retirement Jack Horton kept a pub in Weymouth.  His daughter married another distinguished NCO from the 5th Dorsets, Corporal Leonard Metcalfe MM.[1]   


[1] London Gazette 22 January 1946 p 644


[1] London Gazette 8 November 1945 p 5446

[2] Dorsetshire Regiment Journal October 1946 p 98

[3] Dorsetshire Regiment Journal November 1948 p 99

[4] Dorsetshire Regiment Journal March 1953 p 24

[1] Army List 1952

[1] The Keep photograph collection 1977/20 Drawer 2 Wallet 146

[2] Dorsetshire Regiment Journal May 1947 p 233