Theo Dampney joined the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry when he was still at school and as 327491 Tpr Dampney TD was embodied with ‘A’ Squadron on 2 September 1939, but to his disappointment was too young to be allowed to accompany them overseas in January 1940.
He was subsequently commissioned and eventually joined the 3rd Hussars in Palestine in the summer of 1943.
As a Troop Leader in ‘C’ Squadron he served throughout the Italian campaign and by the time he left in 1946 in Palestine was a captain and was a squadron 2IC, at one time to Roy Farran.
In Palestine, as part of the 6th Airborne Division, we converted to an airborne role and Theo was one of the first to qualify as a parachutist, an activity for which he showed great enthusiasm and skill; indeed this was typical of him, enthusiastic and always ready to take on a challenge.
He was a popular and valued member of the Regiment and we were sorry to lose him to civilian life. However, he kept up with soldiering by rejoining the Wiltshire Yeomanry and staying with them for many years, ending his service as a squadron leader.
He was not only a very successful farmer but also made a significant contribution to agriculture as a council member of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and also of the National Farmers Union where his services as an advisor were highly valued; even being selected to advise the Chinese Government on future developments. I understand that after extensive research and examination, his view was that they should keep the Water Buffalo.
This typifies his sound commonsense and practical approach; which were so valuable in the public service he so freely gave.