The Collection of Militaria Formed by The Late R.E. Handley
Ron Handley (1920 - 2011)
Ron Handley was born in Mile End, Tower Hamlets on 27th May 1920. Ron enlisted into the 8th Battalion of the London Fusiliers in 1939 at the age of 18 as a Territorial, subsequently reenlisting as the only regular soldier of the Battalion.
He served most of the war with the Battalion, transferring after fighting ceased into the Special Investigation Branch of the Corps of Military Police and spending the remaining years of his service hunting war criminals in Italy.
He was a crack shot, particularly with a pistol and was a gold medallist at Bisley, at one time county champion and a member of the Kent County Pistol Team for many years.
He married his wife Eve on 12th December 1941 and they spent many a happy year together until she sadly died in July 2008.
After he finished his military service he became a Chartered Surveyor and built a successful business becoming a well respected gentleman of Dover and Deal. He was also a well known military historian and was a member of the Military Historical Society.
In 1986 Ron wrote a book about his beloved regiment "The First Londons" which included pictures of some of his collection of badges and buttons at that point.
Dixon Pickup adds:
My first meeting with Ron Handley was at one of the monthly gatherings of the Military Historical Society in the mid 1960s. As most of us were military badge collectors these meetings were good bases for exchanging etc., both goods and knowledge.
c.1972 on the first of the M.H.S. "Battlefield Tours"-Waterloo, Marlborough's Battles and WWI Sites, Ron, Eric Dickinson (now Vice President of the M.H.S.) and myself struck up a firm friendship which endured until my last visit to Ron's lovely house at St Margaret's at Cliffe, Kent in March 2010. During the time I was privileged to visit Ron and his delightful wife, Eve, on many occasions.
In the late 1970s he was able to buy the late Jim Lewis's (Dover Harbour Master) fine accumulation of East Kent regimental insignia. This encouraged him to branch out beyond his beloved Royal Fusilier interest. Thereafter Ron sought out items to all regiments of the British Army - headdress and weapons were soon added.
Later, via his talks to local social bodies, he became the recipient of many excavated early issue buttons and other artefacts - all gifts! Of these he was very proud!
A good pal, a good collection, and now a new generation of enthusiasts will have the opportunity to "buy a bit of Ron".