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Tim McCoy

Major Tim, The McCoy, died on 16th February 2020 after a short illness at Roborough House Ashburton. He is survived by his son Charles, step-daughters Emma and Jackie, his sister and her three daughters.

Tim was born in Hornchurch, Essex on 7th May 1939, the second of 2 children. He was educated at St Mary's Primary School, Hornchurch until he was 11 and after completing his schooling at St Ignatius Jesuit College in Tottenham he joined the Royal Navy in 1957. The following year he was appointed Midshipman training for flying duties. Unfortunately cut backs in the RNAS resulted in him & many others being made redundant.

Undeterred & determined to follow a Service career, Tim then joined the Northern Rhodesia Police as a cadet in 1959 & was appointed Assistant Inspector on his 20th birthday. After spending time with the Mobile Unit, a para military police unit based at Bwana  Mkubwa, he decided that his career ambitions lay with the military. He passed an Officer Selection Board & was attested into the Federal Army of Rhodesia & Nyasaland as an Officer Cadet in June 1961.

A comprehensive officer training course at the Central Africa Command Training School in Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia, followed & resulted in him being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant & posted in 1962 to 2nd Bn the Kings African Rifles in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, as a Platoon Commander. A subsequent transfer to the Bulawayo Area Signal Troop (during which time he also successfully passed the SAS selection course) led to him being sent on the Royal Signals Young Officer’s course in the UK in 1963. On his return he was appointed RSO 2nd Bn the Northern Rhodesia Regiment (formerly 2KAR) & was in that post throughout the Lumpa uprising prior to Northern Rhodesia gaining independence as Zambia in 1964 & until his transfer to Royal Signals in 1966.


 Tim had an interesting & varied career with the British Army which initially included postings to 3 Infantry Division HQ and Signals Regiment, service in the Gulf, Germany & Northern Ireland, loan service with the Sultan of Oman’s armed forces & as Officer Commanding 63 (SAS) Signal Squadron. Between 1977 & 1984 he served as SO2 Comms HQ 38 Gp RAF Upavon, was on loan service with the Brunei Armed Forces & again with the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces.

On retirement Tim became Executive Secretary of the Wine & Spirit Association UK & Northern Ireland. Unfortunately this new direction in his life was cut short by an unprovoked mugging in London in 1993 which left him seriously & permanently injured forcing him to retire once again – to Totnes in Devon. However, refusing to let his injuries define him he then spent time working with the National Organisation for the Disabled , SCOPE. He had also taken part in Pilgrimages to the Santiago de Compestela on five occasions by 2009 & completed the Pilgrimage of St James on seven occasions.

Tim  was an efficient, popular Signals Officer who had a fast moving career during which he saw service in Europe, Africa, The Middle & Far East theatres of operations. He was a frequent attender at the SAF Dinner where he stood out with the shepherd's crook that he carried.

He will be remembered for his adaptability to rapidly changing circumstances, his charitable works, his fun loving nature & his ability to tell a good yarn. He will be missed by family & friends.

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