7th Hussars

Michael Stanley-Evans MC

In March 1942 the 7th Hussars were part of the 7th Armoured Brigade near Pegu, Burma. Japanese artillery began shelling the column from the cover of a small wood. The RA fired back and silenced the guns, and Lieutenant Stanley-Evans was ordered to take his Troop and check that the enemy were really out of action. Some Japanese were still alive and had to be dealt with. He at first went into the copse alone to check the bodies, but as he walked away he realised that he had not looked up into the trees. When he did peer up he saw a huge bear in the branches, ready to jump on him. He beat a hasty retreat and had to cajole his men to go in and finish off any Japanese they could find. A grenade was thrown which must have changed the bear's mind. Later the same day, 6th March, his Troop attacked four enemy tanks and destroyed 3 of them. His actions brought a citation for bravery and initiative and he won the MC.

Michael Stanley-Evans was born in Clapham on 6th Feb 1919, and went to Haileybury. He was also educated in Haggerstown, Maryland USA. He joined the 7th Hussars in August 1940 when they were in Egypt. He earned a reputation as a good defence advocate in courts martial. He was in action in the North African desert and also commanded A Squadron in Italy, at Cesano and Croce.

After the army, he went into the film industry and worked closely with Richard Attenborough on films such as Oh What a Lovely War, Young Winston, A Bridge Too Far and Gandhi. He was highly regarded for his negotiating skill and astute judgement. He never married, and in 1984 he built himself a house in Majorca. He died at the age of 85 and his obituary appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 30th Dec 2004.

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by Stephen Luscombe