Dickie has ridden into the sunset

Dickie Jones as Dick West.
Dickie Jones as Dick West.
Lively Lady amid the  welcome-home flotilla of 400 small vessels off Southsea.'All pictures: Graham Stevens

NOSTALGIA: Home to Portsmouth and a hero’s welcome

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I was hooked on TV westerns from the mid-1950s well into the 1960s. Although The Lone Ranger with his sidekick Tonto and Champion the Wonder Horse were all-time favourites for me, The Range Rider came next.

It was not so much the Range Rider, played by Jock Mahoney, but his buddy Dick West. In the introduction he rode his horse at speed firing his pistol before dropping under the horse’s neck and shooting from that position.

As a boy I remember sitting at the bottom of our stairs holding on to the stair post, leaning around and firing my toy pistol down the hall. Why do we have to grow up? Some would say I never have.

This series was broadcast between 1951 and 1953 and you might be surprised to know that Dick West, who was played by Dickie Jones, died two weeks ago, aged 87. He said he was born in the saddle and there was not a time when he cannot remember riding a horse.

He was also the voice of 1940 cartoon Pinocchio. Aged 13 at the time, Jones was chosen by Walt Disney to speak the part in the cartoon of the mischievous marionette who always told tall tales until his nose pointed him in the right direction.

The songs he sang in the film, Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide and Give a Little Whistle, might bring the film back to your memory.

Jones married when he was 21 in 1948 and oddly, for a Hollywood star, was still married to Betty when he died.