Simon Durnford was born into a typical end-of-Empire family – his mother’s forebears having served in India for over a hundred years. His peripatetic upbringing was a mix of privilege, as the son of a naval commander, and poverty, when his father exchanged military for Holy Orders. He studied medicine and trained at Guy’s Hospital. Subsequently he specialised in aviation medicine, qualifying as an army pilot in 1982. For fifteen years he and his wife, Barbara, ran a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle and a flock of Wiltshire Horn sheep. He re-joined the army in 2016 as a Military Knight.