Queen’s Award nominee: Major W.L. Thompson

  • Major W.L. Thompson MVO, MBE, and DCM has been posthumously nominated for the BHS Queen’s Award by the Household Cavalry

    Walter Thompson was born in Yorkshire in 1915 and enlisted into The Life Guards in December 1933.

    At the outbreak of the Second World War he was serving at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) as a member of the Academy Riding Staff. On completion of his tour he returned to the newly formed 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment as a troop Corporal of Horse. Shortly afterwards he took part in the Normandy Landings and served with distinction throughout the advance through North West Europe. He was awarded the DCM for action in Louvain.

    On his return in 1945 he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2 and took up the position of the Riding School Corporal Major at the newly reformed Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in Hyde Park Barracks.

    His first task, assisted by two Polish rough riders and 30 Dutch warmbloods gifted from the Netherlands, was to re-establish the regimental stables laying the foundation for today’s mounted ceremonial parades. In 1952 he was commissioned into the Life Guards and appointed Riding Master. In 1953 he, and his staff were given the task of preparing and training all of the horses and riders for the Coronation.

    Throughout his career he was a keen competitor winning The King’s Cup in show jumping. In addition he was an active member of the coaching club and was instrumental in re-establishing the Regimental coach troop. In 1966 he was posted to the Royal Veterinary Corps Depot as Officer Commanding Equitation Division. He was awarded the MBE whilst serving there responsible for mounted training across the Army.

    Retiring from the Army in 1968, Walter spent a short period of time in Morocco, where he was Horse Master on the film set for Young Winston, one of the highlights of which is a spectacular charge across the desert by 1,000 horses.

    After this short respite he joined Prince Philip’s staff and taught the Prince his coaching skills of today. He remained in this post until 1980. During this time he judged driving trials for the BHS, worked very closely with the Disabled Driving group at Ascot and was a committee member of the Windsor Park Equestrian Club.

    On retirement Walter was appointed MVO and became a Military Knight at Windsor.

    Sadly Walter died last year.

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