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By Maurice E Hope.
It is my sad duty to have to report the passing of former WO1(ASM)Alexander (Pat) Patterson,at the age of 88 years.
He was born in Streatham,London,into a military family and became a lifetime member of the R.E.M.E family from it's birth, having joined the old Army Technical School (Boys) at Arborfield,(intake 39A), in April 1939 as an Armourer Apprentice,all the way through to when he passed away as a vice-president of the Potteries & District Branch of the R.E.M.E Association.
On leaving the A.T.S.(Boys) in June 1942, he spent 3 years at 1st A.A. Div in London District,during which time he met and married his wife Rose (a Dagenham girl) in 1944 at Romford,after which he was posted in Aug 45 to M.E.L.F serving at 2 Base Wksp & 533 Base Wksp in Cairo. He was promoted to a local/acting S/Sgt while in Tel-El-Kebir,before doing his Armourer/Artificer course in 1947/48 at Arborfield,prior to posting to the Command Wksp in Portsmouth.
August 48 to 51 saw him back to M.E.L.F at 2 Base Wksp as a WO2,before doing a three year stint at the LAD in Bovington.1954 to 56 saw him at the Scales Branch in Singapore,before returning to the UK as a PSI at the T.A Centre at Epsom.
From October 58 to April 62 he was seconded to the Malayan Army as a WO1,running a Transport Wksp,as well as acting as a Brigade E.M.E,and running the Inspection Team.
From April 62 to July 65 saw him at his only B.A.O.R. posting to a Transport Company LAD,before completing his service as a WO1, (ASM) PSI at the T.A. Centre in Stoke-on-Trent,being discharged in June 1967.
As a civilian he was employed as a foreman making printed circuits at I.C.L. Kidsgrove for many years until he retired.
In 1991 he was the main instigator and one of the founder members of the Potteries & District Branch of the R.E.M.E. Association,being the first name on the branch membership list,and continued to be a very active member throughout his remaining years,as a lifetime vice president of the branch,still organising the branch Christmas Party last year,and even though in his eighties he revelled in acting as the Parade Marshal at the annual remembrance parade at the local cenotaph,and was always willing to act as the stand in branch standard bearer as and when required.
Following the death of his beloved wife Rose,whose photo in her service uniform he always carried on his person,it was the Association activities that kept him going,until sadly just before last Christmas he had to curtail his involvement due to heart problems that meant he lost his licence...he was still very positive that following the heart by-pass surgery that followed, he would return full of his usual vim & vigour,but sadly following complications this was not to be,and he passed away in the Critical Care Unit of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire on Wednesday 24th of April..
He was very proud of his family,his two sons,the eldest being Michael who followed the family trait and enlisted into the Army rising to the rank of L/Col in the Royal Corps of Signals, and two daughters,who between them gave him eight grand children and several g/g/children. Last year he proudly informed the branch that his (step) grandson,the UK pole Vault record holder Stephen Lewis was in the British Olympic Squad.
He was very much into anything to do with model trains,with his own extensive layout.
They say these things come in threes,and sadly that has been the case in our branch with three of our senior members passing away since Christmas. Alex's passing will leave a large hole in the branch,as he was one of that ever decreasing number of original Corps founders who loved his involvement in the branch ,and who epitomised all that the R.E.M.E Association holds dear.
His funeral took place with a Requiem Mass for family,friends and neighbours at the Sacred Heart Church in Hanley on Wednesday the 8th of May,where his coffin had been placed overnight, covered by the Corps drapes,and surmounted with his photo and beret with medals. At the funeral service the R.E.M.E Association branch standard was present at the families request,carried by Mr John Hughes, this service was followed by a committal service at the Carmountside Crematorium.
Sadly,it was only five years ago that Alex had attended his beloved wife Rose's funeral.
Our own branch Padre ,the Rev Richard Pemberton assisted the resident Priest throughout both services.
The Chapel was full of family,friends and veterans with the coffin flanked by the standards of our R.E.M.E. Branch carried this time by Mr Gil Mould,and the R.A.S.C./R.C.T standard carried by Mr Michael Beaman.
There were 29 veterans and wives present from the branch to pay their final respects,and also a detachment of three uniformed regular soldiers from our twinned unit from M.O.D.Stafford (22 Signals Regiment,LAD),which was very much appreciated by the family..(L/Cpl Gareth Forster,and Craftsmen Greg Williamson and Ryan O'Gorman).
The veterans had formed a Guard of Honour on either side of the Chapel entrance,under the command of our branch Chairman Ed Gibson,and all with berets saluted as the coffin passed between them into the service. Mourners entered and exited the Chapel to the Corps march “Lilliburlero”,with all the branch veterans wearing a beret approaching the coffin and giving an individual salute to a departing comrade at his final posting.
His presence will be sadly missed by the branch.