Dan Reade was born in 1921 and educated at Haileybury. He went up to Oxford in 1939, specifically to Magdalen College, where his family could trace its origins back to the early 17th Century.

Col D Reade LVO
Col D Reade LVO

When War broke out Dan immediately volunteered, but being a medical student was in a reserved occupation and placed in the Army Reserve.

After a year at Oxford, which he had thoroughly enjoyed, in keeping with many of his fellow undergraduates, he decided to give up his reserved occupation and join the Army.

After a period of initial training and four months at the Royal Armoured Corps, OCTU, he was commissioned in July of 1941 and attached to the 5th DG.

In October 1942 he sailed for Egypt to join The 3rd Hussars who were then serving in the Lebanon.

In the Spring of 1943, the Regiment moved to Italy where he was twice wounded.

At the Battle of Cittalde Castello, he was commanding Recce Troop. This operation, in which Recce Troop played a significant role, was subsequently described by RAC 5th Army as a highly successful operation in which the 3rd Hussars played a leading role.

In January 1945 the Regiment left Italy, going initially to Syria and thence to Palestine to join 6 Airborne Division.

From 1944 to 1947, Dan was Adjutant of the Regiment and returned with it from Palestine to BAOR the following year. He went to the Staff College in 1950 and thereafter his career followed the normal pattern of periods of Regimental duty and postings to the staff.

In July 1964 he was selected to command the Ayrshire Yeomanry. This proved to be a happy and highly successful appointment for both Dan and his adopted Regiment.

He returned to BAOR in October 1966, serving on the staff of HQ 1 (BR) Corps.

In 1968 he was appointed Commandant of the RAC Gunnery School at Lulworth and at the end of 1971 he took up his final appointment as Colonel AQ Headquarters Eastern District.

He retired in 1973, but almost immediately took over the appointment of Vice Chairman and then Chairman of the Royal Tournament.

He persuaded Michael Parker to join him in what was to be a highly successful partnership. During this period Dan developed a particular skill in persuading hard-headed businessmen to provide sponsorship. He also, with Michael’s aid, persuaded the management of Earls Court to agree to a much more satisfactory rental.

During Dan’s Chairmanship, the length of the Tournament was reduced from three weeks to two and the scope of the acts was widened considerably. The highlight of Dan’s time in charge of the Tournament was the very special presentation as part of the celebrations of the Queen Mother’s eightieth birthday, for which he was appointed an LVO.

When Dan retired from the Chairmanship of the Tournament in 1981, he and his team had brought it to a state of considerable popular appeal, reflecting both the fighting and ceremonial roles of all three services, and they had succeeded in putting it on a sound financial footing. It was therefore with considerable regret that he saw the final demise of the Tournament a few years ago.

Dan was a horseman of considerable ability. He played polo, rode point to point, hunted and was a successful three-day eventer. In retirement, he was Area Secretary of the Pony Club and was a qualified instructor and examiner for the British Horse Society.

Although he only spent a year at Magdalen he maintained his interest in and support of his old college throughout the remainder of his life. He gave generously to every college appeal and took a close interest in the plans for the memorial of those Magdalen members who died in World War Two, some of whom he had known personally.

Dan derived great pleasure from seeing one of his grandsons, James Crookenden, pass out of Sandhurst and follow him into the Regiment.

Dan Reade is someone who is remembered with affection, respect and regard, not only by the Regiments in which he served but also by his college at Oxford.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars
  3. Italy 1943-5 timeline