Lt-Colonel’s lifetime of army and public service

First published in Obituary

Herbrand Vavasour Dawson, the owner of Weston Hall since the 1960s, has died aged 93.

The remembrance service for Lieutenant Colonel Dawson, who was better known locally as Colonel Dawson, was held at All Saints Church, at Weston, last Friday.

A Dunkirk survivor who escaped France on the last hospital ship during the evacuation, he served with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders during the war and retired from the army in 1968. He inherited the ancient family seat of Weston – an estate of more than 2,000 acres with an 800-acre grouse moor– shortly afterwards, upon the death of his uncle, Captain William Dawson, and soon became very involved with the local community.

He went on to become a governor of Askwith Primary School and a president of Otley Show and Wharfedale Agricultural Society, and was a member of North Yorkshire County Council – and its chairman from 1989 to 1990 – for 20 years.

He also chaired the National Parks Committee Association of County Councils, and in his spare time enjoyed skiing and shooting.

The 31st Lord of the Manor, he was proud of his family’s heritage, being descended from Mauger Le Vavasour of Hazlewood and Sir William de Stopham, Lord of Weston in the 14th century.

Born in London, Lt Col Dawson’s family also had a long military tradition, and his father, Jack Vavasour Dawson, was a major in the 13th Hussars.

He was educated at Sandhurst and Winchester and, while an infantry officer, became known as a skilled horseman.

After escaping from Dunkirk in 1940, he served with the 1st Liverpool Scottish and then joined, in 1943, the 5th Camerons in North Africa. He went on to fight with them in Sicily and then in the final push into Germany in 1945.

He held staff apointments after the war, and in 1954 captained the 1st Camerons ski team to victory in the Army Championships. He was also appointed to HQ Scottish Command, during which period he was an assistant producer of the Edinburgh Tattoo.

Lt Col Dawson was married to Grizelda, the daughter of Major G M Richmond of the Black Watch Regiment, who died in 2001. He is survived by his children, Christopher and Catherine, and five grandchildren.

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