Although Clarence Arthur Webster died nearly five years ago, I was privileged along with Charmain Green Master of the Warwickshire to write his obituary for Horse and Hound. Clarrie as we fondly knew him, left his mark on a very large number of people and many of us can still till this day see his smiling face. It is therefore in his honour we reproduce this in its entirety, as the first obituary to go on the For the Love of Hunting England Website. It says so much about a family who dedicated their lives to hunting.
Clarence Arthur Webster or ‘Clarrrie’ as he was affectionately known died earlier this year and was well known as one of the finest examples of professional Huntsmen, who not only dedicated his life to his Hounds, but to showing a high standard of sport as well. Clarrie was undoubtedly bred for the job, his grandfather and great grandfather also having been in Hunt Service. He was born at the Essex Union Kennels in 1928 where his father, Arthur, was Huntsman and it was not to be long before the young Webster was in action. With war being declared he was seconded into whipping in, whilst his brother Jim, who went on to hunt the Belvoir, was already on active service with the Tank regiment in Northern France. It was at the time of the bombing of London, that the kennels were badly damaged one evening, by a Doodle Bug, which had over shot its mark. However in typical Webster fashion everything was cleared up without a fuss and the hounds were hacked on the following morning, as though nothing had happened, arriving a fraction late for the 11.00 o’clock meet. Colonel Heatley who had been waiting for them enquired to Arthur Webster as to why they were late. The reply came that a bomb had fallen on the kennels during the night! The Colonel was over heard in reply, by Clarrie, to say ‘What the dickens are you doing here at all then?’
At that time the Essex Union was a real sporting country, being all grass. It would therefore have been a great place to learn the ‘trade,’ especially as after a spell with the Royal Horse Artillery, the young Webster was put on to whip in to the Wynnstay, under the well, respected disciplinarian, Jack Simister. It was here he was to meet his future wife Ennis, whose kind and caring nature not only ensured a smooth running of the Webster household, but that of the role of a huntsman’s wife, which Ennis, was to fit admirably. After three seasons, George Gillson required a 1st Whipper in at the Warwickshire. It was here in Warwickshire that Clarrie was to spend the rest of his life. When George Gillson left to go to the Meynell, Clarrie was appointed as 1st Whipper in and Kennel Huntsman to Major Profumo for the following season. As time progressed he was asked to hunt hounds, which he did with great professionalism. As well as being a top class huntsman, Clarrie was a true ambassador for the sport, knowing his country and it’s farmers off the back of his hand. He also had great admiration for the fox and many an enjoyable evening was spent with glass of whisky in hand, recounting where hounds had run that day and over whose land they had been. At the same time we must never forget the friendly advice he gave to all of us who worked under him, and whose great ambition it was to hunt a pack of hounds.
After, twenty five seasons showing sport to the highest standard, and with the unstinting love and support of Ennis and their son Mark, Clarrie retired to Sutton under Brailes to a cottage kindly provided by Miss Boultbee Brooks, a former Master of the Warwickshire. He still followed the fortunes of the Warwickshire Hounds, and quietly gave great assistance and advice to the four Huntsmen that succeeded him, Anthony Adams, Ralph Mankee, William Deakin and John Pritchard. On retirement from Hunt Service, Clarrie worked for members of the Sewell family where he became pretty much part of their family. He took great pride in his garden and in helping many others in the village, whatever the task. Clarrie will be much missed for many reasons but most of all for his distinctive Webster smile, and his cheerful whistle, for which his hounds adored him. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Ennis, Mark, Liz, and the grand children.