Regimental Sergeant-Major Jack Chaffer, who has died aged 91, devoted his life to the Army from the day he was born a “barrack rat” in quarters at Kingston-upon-Thames on March 6 1924 to his final retirement as a yeoman warder at the Tower of London.The son of a regular soldier, Henry Chaffer – known as Jack – falsified his age to join the Grenadier Guards at 16, and suffered his first setback on sentry duty at Windsor Castle, when he was presenting arms as King George VI walked past with his dogs. As it was a hot day, and he was wearing a steel helmet and respirator on his chest, the King suggested that he might be more comfortable if he stepped back into the shade of a buttress.
Chaffer’s commanding officer was unimpressed by his account, however, and the young man spent three days in the guard room until an equerry confirmed his story. He received a week’s leave in compensation.
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