11th Hussar officer, John Poston was one of the minor heroes of the war in the North African desert. Posted to the 11th Hussars in January 1940, he commanded 'A' Squadron of the regiment under Lt.Col.John Combe during Operation Compass. Combe had trained his men well and they contributed greatly to the rout of the Italian forces that opposed them, notably at the Battle of Beda Fomm. Poston won the Military Cross in March 1942, while still a lieutenant. He was picked by General 'Strafer' Gott to be his Aide-de-Camp but when that general's aircraft was ambushed by Luftwaffe fighters and Gott himself was killed, the new commander of the 8th Army, General Bernard Law Montgomery, opted to retain Poston's services as ADC. From then on, Poston was a part of the general's entourage, serving faithfully from El Alamein, through Sicily, Italy and Northern Europe, along with Montgomery's batman (personal servant) Corporal English. Poston was promoted to Captain in November 1943 and then to Major in December 1944 as well as winning a bar to his MC. His closeness to, by then, Field Marshal Montgomery was such that his boss not only allowed him use of his private plane when he returned to London on leave but was allowed to stay until he had won the heart of the woman he had set his heart on marrying (doubtless it did not take him too long to convince her). Sadly, Major Poston was never to return to England to marry his fiancee. He was killed in an ambush by German forces on April 21st, 1945, aged 25, as he was returning to Field Marshal Montgomery's tactical HQ at Luneburg Heath, northern Germany. Monty's grief at losing his faithful aide was such that he broke down during the funeral. Major John Poston MC and Bar was buried some 200 yards from FM Montgomery's Tac HQ with his old regiment, the 11th Hussars, providing trumpeters, an honour guard and firing party for salutes.
This is a simple tribute to a gallant British officer who died some 68 years ago this April.
I wanted to depict Poston as he was during the Market-Garden operation, a captain with an MC. Underneath his battledress, his khaki 'desert shirt' has his previous Lieutenant's rank for desert war/Sicily dioramas.
A hussar and his boss
Captain Poston wears his regiment's distinctive cherry-red banded beret. I will eventually also give him another regimental distinction, a very nice looking cherry-red sidecap with the 11th Hussar badge.
Full shot of Poston and Monty
The beret, shoulder ranks and service belt are scratchbuilt. I originally used a different headsculpt but I felt in the end that the sculpt didn't really look much like the very few photos of Poston that I'd seen and opted for this one instead. Yes... it's one of the Ken (as in Barbie's Ken) heads.
Differences in Rank
Eventually I hope to be able to do this particular diorama... complete with Grant tank of course!