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Horseback hero leaves £1.3m

PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

EITHER on horseback in the desert or tackling Hitler's tanks, one of Suffolk's most illustrious soldiers - who has left more than £1m in his will - was equally capable of winning a gong.

EITHER on horseback in the desert or tackling Hitler's tanks, one of Suffolk's most illustrious soldiers – who has left more than £1m in his will - was equally capable of winning a gong.

General Sir Desmond Fitzpatrick, an Otley resident who has left an estate of £1.3m, was awarded an Military Cross (MC) in Palestine – the third highest gallantry award – and the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for liberating the death camp at Belsen in the closing stages of the Second World War.

Leading his men from the 8th King's Royal Hussars, he braved artillery and tanks to cross the River Elbe in the march against Hitler.

The Old Etonian cavalry officer, who died last October, was born in Aldershot on December 12, 1912, the son of Brigadier-General Sir Richard Fitzpatrick, DSO.

He passed through Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Royal Dragoons.

Posted to Palestine to take on Arab terrorists on horseback, he was awarded an MC for his part in quelling rebellion.

During the Second World War, he also fought in North Africa, taking a lead role in the planning for the Battle of El Alamein.

A former aide to the Queen, Sir Desmond swopped the army for Suffolk in 1973 after his final appointment as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe - and the keen sailor was able to indulge his love of shooting and fishing.

He is survived by his widow Lettice, whom he married in 1998, and a son and a daughter by his first marriage to Mary Sara Campbell, who died in 1996.

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