Richard Patrick Gordon Dill, who died on 28th September 1993, was born in 1923 in Ireland where he learnt the rudiments of hard sportsmanship which were to influence so much of his life. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge where his studies of Estate Management were interrupted by the War.
A close relative of Field Marshal Sir John Dill, he was commissioned in 1942 and posted to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in the 7th Armoured Division in North Africa, joining the composite 4th/8th Hussars in the early stages of the battle of El Alamein.
After the successful end to the Desert Campaign, he returned to the UK with the Regiment in preparation for D-Day and served throughout the landing in Normandy to VE Day, save for a short period as personal liaison officer to the 2nd Army Commander, and was Mentioned in Despatches following the
Granted a Regular Commission at the end of 1945 his appointments, until Amalgamation in 1958, included Adjutant to Lieutenant Colonel C Goulburn for two years, Second in Command of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, and MA to the Chairman of the British Joint Services Mission in Washington DC in 1957. It was there that he met his first wife, Mimi Mills, who he married in Virginia in 1959.
During those post-war years, many of them spent in BAOR, recreation centred on horses and hounds. The Regiment had acquired a pack of beagles, and these were hunted by Richard with his experience of The Eton College Beagles, but horses played by far the larger part of his off-duty activities.
With a BAOR show-jumping or race meeting under Jockey Club Rules nearly every weekend he featured prominently, particularly racing over fences and on the flat, riding a high proportion of the stables’ many successes. But his greatest triumph came in England in 1957 when, at his first attempt, he won the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown on his own horse Easter Breeze.
After retiring at the end of 1958, he remained on the Reserve of Officers until 1972 and as often as he could return to the Regiment for his annual training.
He finally settled in Warwickshire in the early Sixties where for the rest of his life he ran and farmed the Idlicote estate and, with a Permit Holder’s licence, turned his attention to breeding and training his own horses. He was Master of the Warwickshire Hunt from 1965 to 1967 and was a steward at Stratford and Worcester for more than twenty years.
He also hunted in Ireland and his reputation across the country with the Duhallow and the Limerick, as well as in Warwickshire, was second to none.
His first marriage ended, Richard, in 1968, married Kari Sheppard and a few years later moved into Idlicote House which he renovated. He became Master of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters in 1984 and had a close affinity with the Warwickshire College of Agriculture, employing students under the YTS scheme.
He was appointed High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1991 and his inaugural reception will long be remembered by many in the county and several Irish Hussars for the magnificent display by the QRIH Band marching and counter-marching on the lawns of Idlicote House.
But accompanying every serious and successful achievement was one notable characteristic which infused his whole life, an inexhaustible sense of fun and humour, sometimes mischievous but never malicious, which endeared him to all who knew him.
Combined with a natural artistic talent which encouraged him to draw and paint with great effect, even once creating mural paintings of an Irish village in the cellars under the Officers’ Mess at Lüneburg, he wrote, directed and produced six productions of the Warwickshire Hunt pantomime with themes of such carefully researched detail and observation that they gave enormous pleasure to all.
Above all, Richard was a stimulating company in any situation in war or peace and his never-failing ability to promote cheerful good humour and “Ride a horse, go on the spree or sing a comic song” epitomises him as a real Eighth Hussar.