I first met David Risby when he came out to Germany to stay with his parents.

Lt Col DC Risby
Lt Col DC Risby

Although his father was a 3rd Hussar and his mother the daughter of a 3rd Hussar he had decided some years before that he wanted to go to sea, and after completing his education in the training ship ‘Worcester’ together with basic seamanship, he then joined the P & O Line as a sea-going cadet.

However, he was appointed to a cargo ship rather than a cruise liner and he found the voyages tedious and frustrating, giving him no opportunity to pursue his love of sport. He, therefore, left the Merchant Navy, went to Sandhurst and was commissioned into The 7th Hussars in August 1954.

As a young officer he was afforded boundless opportunities to pursue his love of sport and in particular, he was able to develop his ability as a horseman riding in point-to-points and also representing the Regiment in both the Captains and Subalterns as well as the regimental polo teams, both of which enjoyed considerable success.

In 1964 he was a member of the Regimental Rugby Football Team which won the Divisional Cup and was narrowly beaten in the BAOR semi-final.

David had a well-developed and sometimes mischievous sense of humour but was a good listener and always ready to provide help and support for anybody he felt needed it. He was certainly at the centre of any prank or party.

In 1961, newly married, he was attached to an armoured regiment of the US Army in Bavaria. In 1969 he was appointed the DAA and QMG of the Abu Dhabi Defence Force which had just been created and was expanding rapidly. On his return to Germany following time period as a Squadron Leader he became 2IC of the Regiment, a period which included duty in Northern Ireland during Operation Banner.

As a result of his success in Abu Dhabi and his ability to speak Arabic, he was appointed in 1976 as GSO2 SD and Training in Tehran. This was an appointment requiring considerable tact and diplomacy since it was shortly before the overthrow of the Shah.

The importance of this appointment can be measured by the fact that he was given the local rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

From 1979 until he left the regular army he had senior staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence. He then held an appointment as an RO for 10 years in the Directorate of Military Assistance Overseas. When he finally retired he took an active part in the life of his local community and was involved with both The Royal British Legion and The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Those of us who were present at David’s funeral learned from his younger brother what a wonderful elder brother he had been during the former formative years. David’s loyalty to his family and his Regiment were without parallel.

It is significant that on the morning he died he had completed 9 holes of golf, a sport he had taken upon his retirement.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 7th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars