RONNIE Wallace, who was tragically killed in a car crash,
was generally regarded as the greatest huntsman of modern
times and a doyen of the sport. He was a Master for 58 consecutive
seasons and Master and Huntsman successively of the Ludlow,
Cotswold, Heythrop and Exmoor Foxhounds, and Chairman of the
Masters of Foxhounds Association for many years.
Ronnie loved to hunt, and the late Duke of Beaufort (former Vice-President of the Kennel Club and Patron of the Hound Association) told him You must realise that you are the best huntsman in England, and it was also said of him, that if hunting had not been going when Ronnie Wallace was born, they would have had to invent it. Yet another tribute said that if he had gone into politics as enthusiastically as he went into hunting he would have become Prime Minister.
He became obsessed with hounds when he was knee high to a grasshoper and at the age of nine he had a bobbery pack of beagles, terriers, golden retrievers and a labrador of which he made his elder brother Master, and himself Huntsman, as he regarded this role as the more important.
Ronnie Wallace went to school at Eton and, inevitably, was Master of the Eton Beagles at 16. He went on to Christ Church Oxford and had just become Master of the Christ Church and New College beagles when the Second World War began.
He volunteered for the Army and was commissioned in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars serving throughout the war, but it seems that his military duties did not unduly interfere with his hunting. And besides foxhounds, he was also involved with otterhounds, succeeding his father as Master of the Hawkstone.
Not unnaturally, he had a good eye for a hound and in years gone by - long before the KC Working Party was set up - he was recognised by the Kennel Club as a judge of beagles.
When Houndshow some 25 years ago commenced parading working packs he became keenly interested and gave me great support in bridging the gap between the bench and the field.
At that time Masters of working hunts were disinclined to become involved with show hounds, but with Ronnie Wallaces help and influence the barriers have been broken down and for this Houndshow and hound people are extremely grateful.
He judged the packs on several occasions, was frequently an interested spectator at Houndshow, and he was an honoured guest at the celebration dinner in millennium year.
Hound folk everywhere will mourn his passing and salute his memory.