Quintin was the younger son of Capt Richard Ambler, 2nd Royal Lancers (Gardner’s Horse), and was born in Simla, India, in 1926. His childhood there was an extremely happy one, much of it spent on horseback with him winning the ‘best child rider’ at the Imperial Delhi Horse Show, where the combined age of horse and rider was just six.
After school at Shrewsbury he applied to join the RAF, falsely claiming to be of sufficient age, but when allotted a place as a rear gunner in a Halifax and discovering that the average life expectancy was six weeks, quickly owned up.
Instead, he joined the 2nd Royal Lancers at home in India, along with his older brother Nevill, and in 1947 met Lt Col Noel Wall (who was commanding the Derbyshire Yeomanry on secondment from 7th Hussars) who headhunted him for his regiment.
He served with the Yeomanry for a year under Noel Wall, who then recruited him to join 7H.
As a young captain in the Regiment, his closest contemporaries were the later Col John Venner MC, Lt Gen Sir Robin Carnegie and Field Marshal Sir John Stanier (who was Best Man at his wedding to Hazel in 1954).
The Regiment was short of certain dress items and Quintin made his own crossbelt, beautifully crafted and engraved by him from saddle leather. Indeed his DIY skills were legendary and as Technical Adjutant at the D&M School at Bovington, he was in his element, carrying out several user trials on tanks and armoured cars, as well as designing and constructing the Perspex ‘fluid flywheel’ demonstration model still used to this day at Bovington.
Quintin left the Regiment in 1958 to join Racal where he ran a highly successful worldwide sales team for Army radios (specifically the A41 manpack). However, teaching was his real passion and in 1968 he joined the staff at The Old Malthouse, a prep school on the Dorset coast which educated a sizeable number of cavalry officers’ sons, where he later became Headmaster. In the 1980s he went on to teach at a larger co-ed school in Exeter.
His old friend Major Michael Parker (later Major Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE – of the major financial and memorabilia bequests featured as Pomp and Pageantry in the Regimental Museum – obituary also this year) recruited him to help with the Royal Tournament, where Quintin constructed several projects over the years, such as a full-sized model of a Spitfire which had to carry out a barrel roll and ‘fire’ its guns within the confines of Earls Court.
One year, Michael phoned Quintin at very short notice to inform him that the Australian band’s mascot, an elderly kangaroo, had died en route to London – and could Quintin quickly make ‘a lifesize replacement that a soldier could climb into.’ The resultant success caused great amusement at the performances.
Quintin’s biggest project for Michael Parker was the largest Union Flag in the world, the size of a football pitch and sewn with his schoolchildren for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which saw them into the Guinness Book of Records and a highlight of BBC’s Blue Peter. He also lent much support and advice to the Carnegie and Venner teams redeveloping the QOH Museum.
Quintin eventually retired in Exeter but became a volunteer hospital driver for 15 years, before finally packing it in aged 92 with 408 patients on his books. He died in May 2023, just short of his 97th birthday, and left three children; his younger son Miles served in QOH from 1980-87.