WO2 Ian Hilton BEM

Lancashire Fusiliers

3rd Battalion
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Good afternoon everyone. My name is Paul Budis and I am an independent funeral celebrant. It is my privilege and my honour to lead this service in memory of Ian Hilton who died at home on 16th November aged 74.

As you are all only too well aware a fine gentleman has been lost to us and I would ask that you feel free to be at one with your sorrow, your sadness, your grief and your memories - but I also ask you to feel the gladness, the happiness, the purpose and the serenity of a life well lived. We grieve today with thoughts of Ian foremost in our minds. His passing has brought sorrow to his family and his friends.

But while we think of Ian's passing with sadness and regret, we should recall his life with respect and happiness. You see, nothing now can detract from the happiness and the closeness you shared with Ian. Nothing now can affect the happiness and the joy of life that Ian knew and nothing now can ever alter your love for him and his love for you. This love can never be altered by time, circumstances or even death. The past, with all its meaning, remains sacred and secure. It cannot be taken away.

Be grateful that Ian was part of your lives and let his influence, his character, his warmth and his deeds live on.

Let us now listen to the first reading which has been chosen for our service this afternoon. This is going to be read by Ian's son-in-law, Geoff:

As We Look Back (Anon)

As we look back over time
We find ourselves wondering .....
Did we remember to thank you enough
For all you have done for us?
For all the times you were by our sides
To help and support us .....
To celebrate our successes
To understand our problems
And accept our defeats?
Or for teaching us by your example,
The value of hard work, good judgment,
Courage and integrity?
We wonder if we ever thanked you
For the sacrifices you made.
To let us have the very best?
And for the simple things
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?
If we have forgotten to show our
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,
We're thanking you now.
And we are hoping you knew all along,
How much you meant to us.


It is my privilege now to share with you some thoughts on Ian's life.

Ian was born in Abram on 24th January 1945, the younger of two children to George and Mary Hilton. Sadly his elder brother, Keith, has passed away before him.

He was raised and educated in the local area and went to Bedford High. On leaving school he worked initially as a coach sprayer but around his 18th birthday he joined the army and served in 1st battalion Lancashire fusiliers then 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers . He served in Hong Kong, British Guyana, Gibraltar , Cyprus, Canada and Northern Ireland amongst other places. Received BEM in 1980 and whgich he was extremely proud of and continued serving until 1984. He later worked as Manchester University Facilities Manager and moved on to part time roles in retirement following Frances' death. He worked at Miko coffee with Ann and Andrea where they had many laughs.

He first met Frances in the Top Bridge Pub in Leigh when he was 22 and she was 19. The first date did not go to plan as Frances got covered in beer from a pint pot that had been thrown across the room. Not long after they met Ian was posted to Honk Kong. 7 months later Ian proposed to her by letter and the army flew her out to get married in Hong Kong and they were married ion Kowloon on 10th August 1968. All of this appeared in the Leigh Journal. He lived with Frances in Hong Kong and Gibraltar. In 1970s they settled back in UK in Leigh at Norley Road where they lived together ever since.

Their marriage was blessed with two children, Darren, who sadly died in 1993, and Samantha, and two grandchildren, Jack and Lewis. No description of his family would be complete without mention of his son-in-law, Geoff and of his brother and sister-in-law, Harold and Anne.

Ian made many friends over the course of his life as well. There are too many to mention everyone by name but I have been asked to make a special mention of Ann who has been a good friend and companion to him in recent years, of Baz, Alan, Pete and Jim, his mates from the army

Ian loved travelling and it was sad he wasn't able to do this in later years. Before Frances passed away they started travelling and managed to get to Mexico and the Dominican republic, but, unfortunately, Frances' illness meant they couldn't travel anymore. However, Ian continued to travel after this. He travelled all over including Alaska, Hawaii and a Caribbean cruise. He met new friends and visited them in Boston and a friend from Las Vegas visited Ian in the UK. He also got to British Guyana and re-visited Hong Kong.

I was also told that he and Frances loved dancing and that they were both very good jivers. He loved history as well, and car fayres and he had gone to many of these with his grandsons over the years.

When I visited Sam a few days ago I asked her to describe her Dad to me and she told me that he had a very dry sense of hunour, was very witty and he had a very distinctive laugh. That said, he was also a very serious man and he was extremely proud of his achievements and of those of his family. Although he did like socialising and going out for good food he did like being at home in his own space and Sam did tell me that he was well known for turning the TV up, not off, if one of her friends came to visit! He was a bit of a perfectionist as well and it always took him ages to get a job done as it had to be just perfect.

The 22 years Ian spent with the army were very important to him and that is why later today we will have the Last Post played at his graveside. And to finish this eulogy I want to share with you some of the messages that Sam has received from his former army colleagues.

This first one is from Stan Olsen in Las Vegas:

I met Ian in Shanghai, China. We were just beginning a two week "mission".
I think we made a on interesting team. Ian was more reserved then I, him being British military and all, whereas I was the brash American law enforcement guy. . Ever the reserved Brit, Ian was drinking a gin something, maybe a Gin Fizz but I could be wrong, while the brash Yank drank an American bourbon
Later at dinner we bragged, embellished and reminisced about our career experiences.

In all seriousness, Ian was a clearly a proud member of the British Military and I enjoyed learning about his experiences. A few years later, in August of 2016, I was in England and met up with Ian in Liverpool. We had lunch and "pints" at a place he recommend. It was great. I invited him to visit Las Vegas but he said the doctor wouldn't allow it. Doctors are true buzz killers, so unfortunately it never happened.
I will miss Ian and our emails and phone calls. He was a good person, clearly proud of his military service and good friend.

This next comment is from Roland Goodison MBE Major (well retired!):

He was an outstanding soldier then which is clearly shown by his progression to Warrant Rank and earning a BEM after our service together.

And now some words from George Carter. (Lt Col (retired)):

Our paths crossed many times during those years, at Platoon and Company level while we made our relative ways up the slippery pole of army career. I recall that at all times, he was a thoroughly nice person, and apart from this, a couple of things really stood out. One was his never ending cheerfulness and good humour, and the other was his ability to bring a high degree of common sense and professionalism into making judgements and/or decisions. He advised many young , (and not so young) officers when his sense and experience were needed. Many of us owed him, big time.

This is from Trevor Minter former Colonel of the Regiment:

We served together in the 3rd Battalion in the 70s and 80s and I always so much enjoyed his company and wicked sense of humour.
He was an excellent soldier and a good man and will be much missed by the Fusilier community. He will have left many happy memories and that great smile which comes to mind when one thinks of him.

This is from Les Ingham:

Ian and I were signallers in British Guyana. Fond memories indeed. Ian stood out from his peers as an exemplary soldier, a leader and an example of what we all aspire to be. He was a great friend to so many in the battalions' which he served. His friendship, sense of humour and his infectious laugh will be long remembered.

And now a message from Michelle, whom he met on a cruise:

I guess that's what I loved most about him. He always looked at things in a positive way and always with that dry sense of humour!
It always amazed me at the instant connection we all felt when we met Ian. For us the destination of our cruise wasn't really the highlight of our trip even though it was beautiful. The highlight was the fun we all had together.

Quiet reflection/Prayer

We have just heard some wonderful memories of Ian I know that you will each have your own and unique memories of the times you have spent with him, so we are now going to pause for a moment of quiet, personal reflection to give each of you the chance to remember Ian in your own way, to quietly say goodbye to him in your own words and those of you who so wish may also like to take this opportunity to say a silent prayer for him, so that all of your love, your thoughts and your prayers can go with him to his final resting place. As we reflect The Rose sung by Bette Midler will play in the background.

Closing Words

And so, we now come to the time in our service where we have to prepare to say our final goodbyes to Ian some may say forever, others just until a better time and place.

In just a few moments we will take his coffin from this chapel to his final resting place. Please remember that it is only Ian's body which we will bury here today, not his personality, his soul or his spirit which will remain alive forever in your minds and in your hearts, because to live on in the heart of another person is not to never dies.

Before we finish our service and take Ian to his final resting place, I would like to thank you for being here today not only to say goodbye to him but also as a demonstration of the love that you had for him and for each other. The love and support you have are so important not only today, but in the days, months and years to come. Ian's family have also asked me to say that anyone who wishes to is very welcome to carry on this celebration of his life with them at the cricket club in Pennington after the burial.

Let us now take Ian from this place on the last part of his journey to his final resting place.

Exit Music: The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush

At Graveside

In just a moment we will place Ian's body in this hallowed ground and as we do so we think again of all that he meant and means to us. We dedicate this simple plot, amid these natural surroundings, to every beautiful and precious memory associated with him.

Coffin is lowered

Tenderly and reverently we commit Ian's body to be buried.

We are grateful for the life that has been lived and for all that his life has meant to us. We are glad Ian lived.

We are glad we saw his face and felt the pressure of his hand. We cherish the memories of his words, his deeds and his character.

We cherish his friendship. And most of all we cherish his love.

Ian, may the light of love shine forth upon you, on those for whom you care and on those who care for you; may you be ever blessed with peace and understanding as you travel on: may you come to the end of your journey in gentleness and joy and may you rest in peace.

In recognition of Ian's military service we will have the Last Post and Reveille:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Bugler will now play the Last Post and Reveille

Concluding Words

We now leave the memory of our beloved Ian in peace.

With enduring love and respect we bid him farewell.

May you find richness and example in your memories of Ian. May you find strength and support in your love for one another. And may you all now find peace in your hearts.

Some earth is scattered on the coffin and mourners depart at will.

Ian Hilton and Terry Mc Donough has just returned from a visit to
British Guyana

whilst there he visited Pete Singleton's grave and layed some flowers