Farewell to King’s Troop officer, Olympic eventer, and former Badminton winner


  • Major General James Templer, the King’s Troop officer, Olympic rider and former Badminton winner died on 14 December, aged 87.

    Born 8 January 1936, James was the son of Brigadier Cecil Robert Templer and Angela Mary Henderson. He attended Charterhouse School in Surrey, then the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

    James was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1955. He became British cross-country ski champion in 1958 and was offered a place in the team for the Winter Olympics, but instead joined the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and attended the equitation course at Melton Mowbray.

    He bought his first horse, Anglo-Arab gelding M’Lord Connolly, in 1961 and the next year they were second at Little Badminton, and became European champions at Burghley. In 1963, they won the international three-day event in Munich, and in 1964 won Badminton.

    That year, they competed at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Mike Bullen on Sea Breeze, Ben Jones on Master Bernard and Richard Meade on Barberry. After the Olympics, James was being posted to Malaya, and so his beloved M’Lord Connolly was sold to US rider Mike Plumb.

    James was also a successful amateur jockey, winning the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown on Pax Vobis in 1962 and 1963.

    He retired from the Army in 1990 and set up a small business with his wife Sally, importing and selling silk flowers.

    A service of thanksgiving was held for James at Garrison Church of St Alban the Martyr, Larkhill, last month.

    He is survived by his wife Sally, children William, Sophie and Tristram, stepchildren Alex and Barley, and eight grandchildren.

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