Sir Dudley Forwood Bart
by Bill Moores
Photo by Dave Freeman
SIR DUDLEY Forwood Bart, who passed away last week aged 88, was a man who took his responsibilities seriously and one who was a staunch supporter of the Kennel Club, writes Bill Moores.
Believing it was his duty to attend all general meetings he was last seen in November at the Kennel Club Bi-Annual Meeting and, although frail, occupied his usual seat at the Royal Aeronautical Club. He also kept dinner guests entertained after the meeting.
Dudley Richard Forwood was born on June 6th 1912, the son of the second Baronet Sir Dudley Baines Forwood. The Forwood family had its roots in Lancashire, making its fortune from shipping out of Liverpool. The baronetcy was created in 1895 when his grandfather, Sir Arthur Forwood, was MP for Ormskirk from 1885 to 1898 and who was also secretary to the Admiralty for six years from 1886.
Dudley was educated at Stowe School and afterwards was a reservist in the Scots Guards. In 1934 he was appointed Honorary Attaché at the British Legation in Vienna. It was whilst serving in Austria that he met the Duke of Windsor, then Prince of Wales, at the Grand Hotel in Kitzbuhel where the Prince and Wallis Simpson were taking a skiing holiday.
It was after that meeting that he was attached to the Princes ADC Sir Walford Selby. Dudleys language skills in French and German came to the fore immediately after the abdication when the Duke of Windsor went to stay in Austria to sort out his affairs. It was then that he was asked to become equerry.
Accompanying the Duke on his departure from Britain to live in exile in Paris, he travelled in the car to Southampton, moving with them to live in Paris. A year later - after the outbreak of war - he was summoned back by his regiment, the Scots Guards, but remained in close contact with - and was devoted to - the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
A member of the Kennel Club since 1963 Sir Dudley Forwood was elected Chairman of Crufts in 1973 bringing a great sense of dignity and importance to his Chairmans lunches each day at the show. He remained Chairman until 1987 when the Kennel Clubs 75 year rule meant he could no longer hold office. A year later he was elected Vice President of the Kennel Club and kept an interested eye on its progress over the years.
He was a great raconteur and would always ensure a proper mix of guests at his tables. He would also be a point of reference when matters of protocol had to be visited, his expertise at this level was unrivalled in Clarges Street.
He was a man with many interests. After the war he ran a dairy farm on the Radnor estate in Wiltshire. He had also served on the council of the Zoological Society of London and had been official verdener of the New Forest, as well as holding many other offices. The former President of the New Forest Buckhounds he was its master for seven years and admitted in a interview in OUR DOGS in 1987 to reintroducing Red Deer back into the forest from which they were removed in Victorian times. He was also a founder member and driving force behind the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, whilst The Royal Agricultural Society was also lucky to have his experience as its Honorary Director of the famous four day show.
The idea of an overseas visitors lounge at Crufts was his and was initiated at Olympia in 1968. He was also a great supporter of the New Forest show, the canine section of which - run by the Christchurch & New Forest Canine Society - is one of the largest two day Open shows in the country today.
During his 14 years as Chairman of Crufts he was always anxious that change and development was essential for the show to progress and through his guidance, innovation and acceptance of this, many of the standard features of the show remain today.
An appreciation of Sir Dudley Forwood Bart
I FIRST remember meeting Dudley and Mary Forwood in the early fifties when his father the second Baronet, Sir Dudley Baines Forwood was the President of the Southampton and District Canine Association. In those days, Dudley farmed and was the master of the New Forest Buckhounds and I remember the happy occasions that my parents and I were invited to the opening meets.
On the death of his father in 1961 Dudley succeeded in the baronetcy and became President of the Southampton DCA, a position he held for many years. I well remember the late Wilson Wiley, who was already in the higher echelons of the Kennel Club, taking Sir Dudley under his wing, as he could see the potential of this many sided gentleman and how he could enhance the general image of pedigree dogdom.
This he did in no small measure. From becoming a member of the Kennel Club, then member of the General Committee, and then on to Chairman of Crufts - a job that fitted him like a glove. His experience as Equerry to the Duke of Windsor, his old world charm, wit and impeccable manners, put a polish on the world famous dog show. Wilson Wiley had certainly spotted a winner.
His many friends in the dog game will have their own particular memories of Dudley. I will remember his wicked sense of humour, always borne out of kindness, never malice, his wonderfully wise counsel, which was always freely given. I shall miss him at Crufts, where he always asked me to join him on one of the evenings for dinner. The conversation would always be stimulating and amusing. Sir Dudley was one of lifes wonderful colourful characters and dogdom is the richer for his passing our way.