Paddy Kelly: Soldier and child protection officer

 

Matthew Kelly, known to everyone as Paddy, was born in Dublin on 6 January 1916. His father, Laurence, served with the Machine Gun Corps on the Western Front and was killed at Ypres in 1917. Paddy's mother, Ellen, remarried after the war – and Paddy, one of seven children, spent an idyllic childhood having Huckleberry Finn-style adventures with his brother Terry.

After attending school sufficiently frequently to scrape through, he left to work in the family dairy business; but despite (allegedly) having the fastest pony and trap in Dublin, he decided that life would be more exciting if he were to run away and join the British Army, which he did at the age of 18.

Paddy joined the 3rd Carabiniers, a cavalry regiment, and in 1936 he performed mounted police duties at King George V's funeral procession andalso took part in the musical ride at the Royal Tournament. His prowess as a horseman had been noted and he was offered a position as an instructor at the Army Riding School. Had he accepted this post, he would have become the youngest instructor ever in the British Army (he was aged 20); however, his regiment was due to go to India, and he decided that he wanted to stay with his mates.

The regiment was based at Sialkot on the north-west frontier; its role was to guard against incursions by Afghan raiding parties and to perform garrison duties. The regiment mechanised in 1938, exchanging their horses for Mark IV and Mark VI tanks, lightly armed with Vickers machine guns.

With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the 3rd Carabiniers found themselves seemingly stuck in India for the duration. However, in 1944, in order to be rid of officers who had served in the Great War and had outmoded tactical ideas, a ruling was passed that any troops who had been in India for six years or more would return to the UK. Therefore, by now holding the rank of Squadron Sergeant Major, Paddy was repatriated; on his return, he taught Bomber Command aircrew unarmed combat and escape techniques.

Later stationed at Snare Hill Camp in Norfolk, Paddy processed Indian prisoners of war who had been repatriated from various war theatres. While in Norfolk he met Joyce Chapman, who became his wife.

After transferring to the Royal Engineers to work in movement control, Paddy was posted to Germany in 1946, where the results of the devastating Allied air-raids left a lasting impression on him, and where he experienced the developing Cold War first-hand in Berlin. Paddy and his family returned to the UK in 1951, and were based in Donnington in Shropshire.

Retiring from the Army in 1956 with the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major, Paddy became an Inspector with the NSPCC in East Ham, London. He subsequently transferred to Salisbury in Wiltshire, followed by Rhyl in North Wales, where he was Group Officer.

Retirement from the NSPCC came in 1981, but Paddy couldn't remain inactive for long. In 1982 he took charge of freight forwarding for Greenray Engineering Ltd. This involved travel to the Middle East and North Africa. He finally retired at the age of 74 in 1990.

Paddy was an adored family man and remained active throughout his retirement until his sudden passing on 25 April. Always the instructor, he taught his grandchildren how to drive and how to dive (at the age of 70, he was reprimanded for performing backwards somersaults from the high board at Rugby swimming baths); he kept bullocks and took up horse riding again in his early 80s; and he took long countryside walks with his beloved Joyce.

He is survived by Joyce, three children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence