|Birth: ||Feb. 19, 1918|
|Death: ||Dec. 14, 2002|
County Mayo, Ireland
From The Telegraph. UK
The Reverend Guy Armstrong, who has died aged 84, had a distinguished career in the Indian Army, then in the Royal Artillery, before taking Holy Orders; after exercising a much valued ministy in two Surrey Parishes, he became involved in the care and rehabilitation of long-term offenders in Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight - a task that engaged him until almost the end of his life.
Armstrong's concern for prisoners began in the 1970's when, as vicar of Ripley, in Surrey, he was also chaplain of Send Prison - a small institution for young offenders. Early retirement, enforced by ill health, took him to the Isle of Wight and within reach of Parkhurst Prison.
There he was employed as a substitute chaplain, standing in for regular chaplain whenever he was absent. But, although paid for no more than two days a week, Armstrong worked virtually full-time, ministering to the prisoners and officers and their families, earning great respect and affection.
A tall, upright and compassionate man, he brought to his prison ministry a wealth of Army experience, but he was much more of a caring father figure than a tough military leader. This also found expression in his founding of a trust to assist long-serving prisoners at the time of their release.
He perceived that if they were to go straight they would need more help than would normally be availble from official sources. So he raised every year some 20,000 - 30,000 pounds to provide the men with such things as tools and computer training, and sometimes captial to start small businesses.
Characteristically, Armstrong refused to allow the trust to be named after himself, preferring it to be known as the Hardman Trust, in memory of an admired prison officer who had died young.
Guy Lionel Walter Armstrong was born on February 19, 1918 at Highclere in Hampshire. His Canadian father, who was serving in the Royal Flying Corps, had recently been taken prisoner of war, and on his release the family moved to Toronto, where young Guy received his early education. When the family moved again, to Jamaica, he attended Munroe College.
Aged 17 he returned to England to enlist in the Royal West Kent Regiment. Having served in the ranks for three years, he won a cadetship to RMA Sandhurst in 1937 and passed out the following year.
Armstrong was commissioned into the Indian Army on January 26, 1939 and attended OTC. In March 1939, he was attached to 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers, stationed at Landi Kotal in the Khyber Pass, and served with the battalion on the North West Frontier before joining the 4th Battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment at Peshawar in late 1939.
On the outbreak of the Second World War, he was transfered to the newly raised 7th Battalion as Quartermaster, becoming adjutant a few years later. In March 1942 the battalion was mobilised for service on the Burma front against the Japanese and, because of a shortage of officers, he took command of two companies.
Later Armstrong was selected for a staff appointment at Inphal followed by a Staff College course at Quetta, before being posted to the staff of Lord Louis Mountbatten at the new South East Asia Command HQ in Ceylon. He served there until the end of the war, reaching the rank of lieutenant-colonel and moved with Mountbatten to Singapore after the Japanese surrender.
After Singapore declared its independence, Armstrong was the last senior officer to leave Government House. He took the Union flag with him for safe-keeping, and this flag was subsequently used to drape his father's coffin and that of Mountbatten following his assassination.
After India became independent, Armstrong transferred to the British Army. He was re-badged Royal Artillery in the rank of acting major and was posted to BAOR to take command of a field company RA, alternating between regimental and staff duties. Having a obtained parachute qualification, a brave choice for an officer over 40 years of age,
Armstrong was for time second-in-command of 16th Parachute Brigade. He retired in July 1960 in the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel.
In 1960 Armstrong went to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford to prepare for ordination and, from 1961 to 1965, was a curate in the large parish of Caversham, near Reading, where he was given responsibility for the district church of St. Andrew. He then spent eight years a vicar of Bagshot, in Surrey, where he played a full part in the life of the community.
This was repeated in the parish of Ripley from 1973 to 1977, which saw the beginning of a prison ministry that extended over 25 years.
In retirement, he also assisted at Holy Trinity Church, Ryde. He was appoined OBE in 1993.
Armstrong died on December 14. his wife Rita predeceased him, and he is survived by two daughters.
Guy William Armstrong (1892 - 1969)
Gladys Evelyn Killick Armstrong (1890 - 1982)
Guy Lionel Walter Armstrong (1918 - 2002)
Mary Norma Annesley Armstrong Riddell (1920 - 2010)*
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Created by: L Lane
Record added: Jul 31, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40102731
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