fhl logo
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13

Remembrance

D. Harcourt Lees, Jr., ex-MFH

dhlees1-bmpIn nearly a half century of foxhunting, I have never seen a more handsome, elegant, and classically turned-out man astride a horse in the hunting field than Harcourt Lees. Nor did I ever meet a kinder or more pleasant gentleman in the hunting field. For me, he epitomized the grace and courtliness of a bygone age. It was an honor to know him, and I shall never forget him. What follows is the obituary of this sportsman/businessman/civic leader as released. -Ed.

With the passing of Douglas Harcourt Lees Jr. on July 21, Warrenton and Fauquier County, Virginia lost not only a respected businessman and sportsman but also a living link to a simpler time of grace and civility. Mr. Lees, 91, suffered a stroke on July 9 and was hospitalized briefly before returning to “Blackrock,” the Lees’ family home on Springs Road.

Jim Atkins...Huntsman...Virginian

jim atkins2Douglas Lees photoJim Atkins, the well-known and greatly admired native Virginian huntsman, died on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, after suffering a heart attack. Although Jim had retired from hunting hounds, he was highly respected as a judge of foxhounds, most recently judging the Crossbred Ring at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show earlier this month.

Jim served as professional huntsman for the Old Dominion Hounds (1978–1987), the Piedmont Fox Hounds (1987–1989), and finally the Warrenton Hunt (1993–2005).

“Jim has to be recognized as one member of that exceptional group of natural huntsmen from Rappahannock and upper Fauquier Counties,” said Dr. Will Allison, ex-MFH of Warrenton. “As boys, they grew up hunting to put food on the table. They developed an innate feeling for game.”

Commander Bill King: A Life Lived to the Fullest Measure

Commander Bill KingWilliam Donald Aelian "Bill" King died recently at the magnificent age of 102 at his home, Oranmore Castle, in County Galway, Ireland. He was a highly decorated submarine commander, a world renowned sailor, boxer, athlete, organic farmer, writer, and family man.

Also, he was a lifelong follower of both the Galway Blazers and Lady Molly Cusack Smith’s Bermingham & North Galway Foxhounds, with his late wife, the author Anita Leslie, whom he met in Lebanon during the war in 1940. Anita was a daughter of Sir John Randolph Leslie and Marjorie Ide, a daughter of General Henry Clay Ide, a former American Ambassador to Spain and Governor of the Philippines. Anita had been previously married to the well known Russian cavalry officer Colonel Paul Rodzianko who was appointed chief instructor of the Irish Army Equitation School in 1928. She wrote seventeen books, including Lady Randolph Churchill, The story of Jenny Jerome, the life of Sir Winston Churchill’s mother, and Sir Francis Chichester, the biography of the famous round the world yachtsman.

Bill held the distinction of being the only submarine commander to command a British submarine on the first and last days of World War II, such were the perils of such a dangerous command. He was also the last surviving submarine commander of the British Navy from the last war.

Sad Times for Goshen Hounds

Nick and the houndsNick Hartung and houndsThis has been a difficult year for Goshen Hounds (MD) and its members. We have lost four men closely associated with us: former huntsman Nicholas Hartung, board member Bruce Sieling, ex-MFH Hansen Watkins, and, most recently, Irving Victor Marken Abb.

John Pickering and the End of an Era

john pickeringJohn Pickering, one of Irish foxhunting’s witty raconteurs and colorful characters, passed away recently in his adopted town of Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. In his career he hunted the East Down Foxhounds, the Golden Vale Foxhounds, the Oriel Harriers, and was whipper-in and huntsman to the legendary Master of the Bermingham and North Galway Foxhounds, the late Lady Molly Cusack-Smith.

I first met him when he was hunting the Oriel Harriers in the 1980s. At a meet north of Dundalk, in County Louth, hounds put a fox away from  Bell’s Covert, but he only ran a couple of hundred yards before going to ground in an earth in the middle of a field. To make matters worse his best hound Heckler was down in the earth with only his stern in view. Pickering sat casually back in the saddle and remarked, “I think I will have to take that hound to a shrink.”

“Why”, I asked, to which Pickering replied, “Because he thinks he’s a bloody terrier!”

James L. Young, ex-MFH

jimmy young.doug leesDouglas Lees photoFoxhunting lost one of its most notable Masters of Foxhounds with the passing of James L. Young, age seventy, on Friday evening, May 25, 2012.

Urbane, articulate, literate, trim and handsome both on and off the horse, Jimmy Young did everything with a flair, whether leading his field, presiding over the Virginia Foxhound Club Show, writing or speaking on his favorite topic---foxhunting as a noble art form.

 

Peter Patrick, Lord Hemphill, ex-MFH

lord hemphillPeter Patrick, the Fifth Baron Hemphill, passed away on Friday, April 6, 2012 at the Galway Clinic after a short illness. He and his wife Lady Anne Hemphill are well-known to many North American sportsmen and women who have hunted with the Galway Blazers. His father, the Fourth Baron, married his mother Emily Sears in Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

Lord Hemphill was an exceptional individual—charming, entertaining, and a great friend to the Galway Blazers where he served as Joint-Master in the heyday of hunting in Ireland. He made his estate, Tulira Castle, regularly available to the hunt. American film director John Huston was a fellow Joint-Master when he lived at St Clerans not far from Athenry. The two men hunted and socialised together with their respective wives, Toni and Lady Anne, the latter serving as Field Master of the Blazers for many years. They all sailed frequently in Galway Bay with many of the prominent visiting Hollywood film stars, often visiting the Aran Islands where a sing-song was always on the agenda at a local hostelry!