Farewell to beloved Chelsea Pensioner Paddy

editorial image

Tributes have been paid to a much-loved Chelsea Pensioner who has died aged 82.

Bill “Paddy” Fox, was born in racing stables near Clonmel, County Tipperary, and lived in Cahir after spending his childhood there.

Cahir became twinned with Scarborough through the efforts of his sister Edie and their niece.

The connection with Scarborough began when Paddy’s eldest brother - also known as Paddy - married a Scarborough girl and settled here after the war.

Another brother, Michael, and sister Edie, also settled here. Paddy came to Scarborough on holiday in 1951 and ended up joining the army here.

Edie, 77, who lives off Scalby Road, said: “He was always close to Scarborough - he loved it here. He joined up and then went off round the world.”

Paddy, who was recruited into the 15/19th Hussars, began his training in Carlisle as a radio operator and was posted to Hamburg, where he became skilled in gunnery and driving armoured cars.

In 1953 he was posted to Londonderry as a TA instructor and later to Barnard Castle as a radio instructor.

Next he went to Northallerton as House Corporal to run the home of General the Lord Thurlow at Ainderby Steeple.

The staff included a batman, an Aide de Camp, two army cooks, and a Pipe Corporal who played reveille on the bagpipes on the lawn every morning.

After two interesting years there, looking after many VIP guests, Paddy decided he wanted to rejoin his regiment - much to the General’s disappointment.

Paddy went on to teach radio in Munster, enjoyed a spell as an Air Troop Sergeant in Skeeter helicopters and once made regimental history by losing his troops on a busy nudist beach in France during a training trip, finally rounding the soliders up at 10.30pm.

His biggest achievement was recruiting for his regiment. In his first year as a recruiting sergeant he recruited 132 men, with the total at 2,500 by the time he retired in 1988.

He was given the nickname “Daddy Paddy” as he took a great interest in all his recruits and drove their parents to passing out parades all over the country.

It was for his exceptional recruiting work - the highest number of recruits in the country - that he received the British Empire Medal.

Paddy was also given the Meritous Service Medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal with bar, the latter awarded after 36 years.

On his retirement he became a Chelsea Pensioner and moved in to the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.

The site provides accommodation, comradeship and the highest standards of care for veterans in recognition of their loyal service to the nation.

They are known for their smart red uniforms, which tend to be worn on visits and for special occasions - with a navy blue uniform to be worn locally.

Paddy wore his red uniform while visiting Edie in Scarborough and became a familiar sight in town and in Seamer, where the pair would worship.

He was the chief tour guide and gave talks about the Royal Hospital, meeting many people, including dignitaries, from all over the world - resulting in him receiving around 400 Christmas cards.

He got to know Princess Beatrice after forging links with her school and also met the Queen numerous times.

Paddy was a keen gardener and had two allotments on site, which helped the hospital win an award for its entry in the Chelsea Flower Show.

Edie said: “I’m very proud of him. He was a positive, cheerful person who loved to travel.

“He was also so kind and thoughtful. He would often send little gifts to people if he saw something he thought they’d like.

“He was so proud to be a Chelsea Pensioner and to wear the uniform.”

Paddy’s funeral, with full military honours, will be held on January 28 at 3.30pm in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital.