Iain Forbes-Cockell aka The Major
I spent a lot of time with Iain. We played polo together in our youth, worked together in later life and were always bumping into each other locally and, of course, at Guards. Through all those years and both of our ups and downs, he was always a good and constant friend.
Despite being at school together it was at Guards that I first really got to know him. When brother Edward and I first made the move there from Cirencester it was not met with universal approval. Iain, however, could not have been more welcoming to both us and the change at the club we were a part of. Whilst very much a traditional man he was always quick to embrace the new and fascinated by the modern.
He was adventurous as well. Whatever hair-brained and potentially dangerous plan someone came up with in the name of possible entertainment, Iain was always game on. Luckily, with his love of forward planning and eye for detail, he was responsible for mitigating the potentially disastrous outcomes. Most of the time.
He was good company and a great and above all enthusiastic travel companion. I particularly remember a trip to New Zealand where he had managed to get himself signed off by his CO to go on an advanced equitation course. Instead he joined me for a month in Hawkes Bay where I happened to be playing polo. Iain or Major as he soon became known, kept the locals thoroughly entertained for the duration and at the same time, as he put it. “had my back”. The The I believe came later as his fame increased.
He was a proud man who at the same time took immense pride in everything he did. He took pride in his work, his appearance and particularly his military background. He was, however, never more proud than when recounting the latest achievements of his two daughters, to whom he was totally devoted and loved dearly.
With The Major you knew what you were going to get, a loyal friend and devoted work mate, qualities he demonstrated in all areas of his life and to all those he encountered. He was a man of equanimity who had a genuine interest in others. He maintained a foot in every camp and was genuinely pleased if things had gone well and sad and truly sympathetic, if they had not.
Over the past few years I had come to regard him as the custodian of Guards Polo Club’s military past. A bridge to the what was there before. A man who cherished and revered the times gone by but who also embraced the here and now with his customary gusto, As such he will be much missed and I believe, quite irreplaceable. Above all however I will miss his dignity and decency and of course the barely perceptible twinkle in his eye that those close to him both recognised and cherished,
Farewell my good friend and please continue to keep your eye on us all.