Major Dermot McCalmont, died on February 25th, 1968, in Rhodesia, aged 81 years.

The “Major”, as he was affectionately called in County Kilkenny, was born in 1887 the son of Maj.-Gen. Sir Hugh McCalmont, Colonel 7th Queen’s Own Hussars. He was educated at Eton and the R.M.C. Sandhurst and joined the 7th Hussars in 1907.

He became Adjutant of the South Irish Horse in 1912 and from 1914 to 1915 he was A.D.C. to General Sir Horace Smith-Dorien. From 1915 to 1918 he served in East Africa. He was awarded the M.C. in 1917 and retired in 1919.

He rejoined the army in 1939 and served with the Training Regiment at Shorncliffe and Welbeck.

After leaving the army in 1919 he retired to his lovely and superbly kept home, Mount Juliet, where he bred and hunted one of the best packs of foxhounds in Ireland, and also established the now-famous Ballylinch Stud.

He was twice Senior Steward of the Turf Club of Ireland, and also Senior Steward of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Club, besides being a member of the Jockey Club, and the Irish Racing Board.

His racing successes were numerous and he won the Grand Military Gold Cup on his own horse, Vinnegar Hill, in 1911, the only 7th Hussar to have done so. For over 50 years he raced on the flat in both England and Ireland. The best-known horse he owned was The Tetrach which he bought as a yearling in 1912: he won all his seven races as a two-year-old, six of them with ridiculous ease, but could not be trained as a three-year-old. His son, Tetuatema, and grandson, Mr Jinks, both won the Two Thousand Guineas, but neither was placed in the Derby for which they started favourites.

In more recent years he won the Royal Hunt with Val of Sheba, and Zaluceus. He also owned Durante, who won 14 races between 1951 and 1956 and was one of the gamest and most consistent horses of his time.

For a man blessed with more than the normal amount of this world’s goods, it would be impossible to imagine anyone more modest, retiring, and yet more young in heart.

At Mount Juliet, any 7th Hussars, or in fact, anyone else, was sure of a hospitable welcome and a day’s foxhunting or fishing on one of the nicest stretches of water in Ireland.

One of the events he was most proud of, was the fact that one of the more recent distinguished 7th Hussars and later Queen’s Own Hussar, “Paddy Cleere”, was reared and brought up at Mount Juliet.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 7th Hussars