Belfast Telegraph

Funeral to be held for Malaya jungle veteran who helped form UDR

By Staff Reporter

The funeral of one of the founding members of the UDR - who was hailed for building the reputation of the unit in its formative years - is to take place next week.

Alan 'Bob' Hayden died of complications following an operation last month.

'Black Bob', as he was known to family and friends, spent most of his military career in Northern Ireland, where he was recognised for raising standards and boosting morale in training camps.

The 86-year-old, who was born in London, served for more than 42 years in different regiments.

After official retirement he was active in the Army Cadet Force in Northern Ireland for 17 years, and was made a life vice president of the local Army Cadet Force Association in recognition of his help in shaping and developing the organisation.

As a boy he was evacuated from London during the Blitz and after returning to the city he joined the Cadets of Queen Victoria's Rifles. After two years he volunteered for service in Malaya in 1950 and became one of the founder members of the Malayan Scouts.

With the Malayan Scouts he took part in long-range patrolling and 'tree jumping' - abseiling down through the jungle foliage.

His fighting prowess was reputed to be such that the communist guerrillas put a bounty on his head. Later, in the Green Jackets, he was commanding a reconnaissance platoon in Berlin when the Wall went up, and was said to have faced off the East German Army at Checkpoint Charlie.

In 1970 he was part of the team responsible for forming the UDR.

In 1982 he was given 72 hours to move his company to the border area of Castlederg to take over operational command of a region that had been subject to intense terrorist attacks.

The operation, which lasted 10 days, had an immediate calming effect on the area, enhancing the reputation of the UDR in the British Army.

By the end of a challenging tenure at Ballykinler in 1984, the camp had become a tightly run and highly-motivated training establishment for the UDR.

Mr Hayden is survived by his sons Paul and David, daughters-in-law Janet and Kerri, and grandchildren Jade, William, Jett and Dax.

His funeral will take place at Ledbury Parish Church next Tuesday at 2pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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