Obituary: Sir Harry Llewellyn Bt

HARRY LLEWELLYN'S greatest moment during a distinguished equestrian career occurred in Helsinki during the summer of 1952, when he and the legendary Foxhunter jumped the clear round which was to give the British team their only Olympic show-jumping triumph to date.

The disastrous first round that morning, in which Foxhunter incurred 16.75 faults and at one stage became perilously close to losing his jockey, was forgotten in the euphoria of victory - except by Harry Llewellyn himself. Many years later he was to recall his anguish after that first-round disappointment in his autobiography, Passports to Life (1980). "I had failed to warm up Foxhunter adequately . . . we were lying only sixth in the Grand Prix des Nations - and it was all my fault. I was shattered."

Afterwards he managed to sleep for an hour (the equable Foxhunter also slumbered peacefully between rounds) before returning to the Finnish arena, thoroughly warmed up and "raring to go", to complete their second round clear, which gave Britain victory.

He insisted that the praise which was heaped upon him during the celebrations which followed was undeserved - for, as he told everyone he met, his two team-mates had achieved better overall scores in the two rounds: Wilf White for a total of eight faults and Duggie Stewart with 16. But it would be the celebrated Welshman's heroic retrieval of a seemingly lost cause that was to go down in equestrian history.

Llewellyn had bought Foxhunter as a six-year-old and went on to win a team bronze medal with him at the Olympic Games in London in 1948. Together they were to win a remarkable total of 78 international competitions (including three victories in the King George V Gold Cup in 1948, 1950 and 1953) before the horse retired in 1956. They remain one of the greatest and best-loved partnerships ever to grace the British show-jumping scene. Foxhunter's name has lived on through the annual championship for novice horses at the Horse of the Year Show (which, in terms of the numbers competing in the preliminary rounds) is the biggest show-jumping contest in the world.

Llewellyn's first great achievements in the horse world were gained as an amateur steeplechase jockey. He won 60 races under National Hunt rules between 1931 and 1950, as well as having two memorable rides in the Grand National on Ego with whom he finished second in 1936 and fourth in 1937.

On the latter occasion he had (as usual) to do battle with his weight, reducing it from 12 stone to 10 stone 4lb with the help of running and dieting. After sweating the last pounds off during a three-mile run on the day before the race (while zipped up in an airman's suit with many layers beneath it) he finally made the weight. Ego, who started favourite, had looked the likely winner until a riderless horse ran across him at the last open ditch, causing him to plunge right through the fence and be brought back to a standstill. It was no mean achievement to finish fourth after that debacle.

In October 1939, shortly after the start of the Second World War, Llewellyn secured a commission in the Warwickshire Yeomanry - mainly, he believed, as the result of the reputation he had gained during his steeplechasing exploits with Ego. He was to take part in several major campaigns and was on General Montgomery's staff from November 1942 until the end of the war in Europe, part of that time as Senior Liaison Officer at Eighth Army headquarters.

He rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, was twice mentioned in Dispatches, and was decorated with the US Legion of Merit and appointed OBE. His services to Wales were later to be rewarded with a knighthood in 1977.

Always debonair and charming, Harry Llewellyn played many roles in the administration of show jumping - among them Chairman of International Affairs, chef d'equipe of the British team, Chairman of the British Show Jumping Association (from 1967 to 1969) and more recently the Honorary Vice-President of the association.

He was chef d'equipe during the Mexico Olympics of 1968, where David Broome appreciated his diplomacy in keeping the team happy. "Once or twice he must have felt like squaring the lot of us, but he resisted the temptation and took the diplomatic way out instead. I've admired him for this ever since."

"Sir Harry was a legend in his own lifetime," says Andrew Finding, the current chief executive of the BSJA. "His was an era of show jumping that to this day we aspire to emulate. His knowledge and experience were second to none."

Henry Morton Llewellyn, show jumper and jockey; born Aberdare, Glamorgan 18 July 1911; OBE 1944, CBE 1953; Kt 1977; succeeded 1978 as third Bt; Chairman, British Show Jumping Association 1967-69; married 1944 The Hon Christine Saumarez (died 1998; two sons, one daughter); died Llanarth, Monmouthshire 15 November 1999.

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...