MAJOR Verney Lovett-Campbell, who has died aged 86, was born on the Isle of Skye on September 6, 1911, and subsequently had an adventurous career in various parts of Africa and Burma, in the latter being awarded an MC for daring operations behind the Japanese lines.

Percival Verney Lovett-Campbell was educated in England at Bloxham School where he had a distinguished record in team games and also managed to hunt regularly with the Whaddon Chase. After leaving school he took a tutoring job to a family living in Abercorn, northern Rhodesia. Utterly fearless and cool in an emergency, he soon had a narrow escape on safari when charged by a lion which he managed to shoot and kill at point-blank range.

In 1932 he joined Steel Brothers, a large and famous trading company, and began work as a forest assistant in the teak forests in Burma. He became a fluent Burmese speaker and mastered the business of logging, saw-milling, and working with and caring for Indian elephants, which were used extensively but required careful management.

After being commissioned into the Royal Artillery in the Second World War he served in a Mountain Battery, using mule transport in the arduous East African Campaign of 1941. Like many in the services, he found that mules, when properly cared for and loaded, were invaluable and co-operative, but were stubborn only if mishandled.

His next posting was to Burma where his knowledge of the local languages, terrain, and customs made him ideal for membership of the 2nd Chindit expedition when some 20,000 troops, mostly airborne, were dropped far behind the Japanese lines in order to disrupt communications. Lovett-Campbell's task was to parachute into the chosen area well in advance of the main force and, by enlisting the aid of local guerrillas and friendly tribesmen, to ensure that the main base was adequately defended from Japanese retaliation until it could organise its own defence and go on to the attack.

While engaged in fighting off the Japanese he was wounded in the thigh, eye, and hand. He was then cared for, to the best of their ability by Karen and Kachin tribesmen but unfortunately contracted amoebic dysentery and hepatitis before he could be evacuated. After recovery he was demobilised in 1945 and rejoined Steel Brothers, but when the company was forced to cease training in Burma he obtained a concession to cut timber on the Rondo Plateau in Tanganyika. This soon became a prosperous and efficient concern to which he was soon able to bring in loyal and skilful employees from his Burma days. He learned to fly and soon achieved distinction as a daring pilot, had one or two narrow escapes, and competed in National Air Races in Britain in the 1950s.

In retirement he bought and lived on a yacht based on Tangier but continued to travel widely, although much hampered by the effects of war wounds and other mishaps.

A man of great integrity, wisdom, and learning, tempered with a lively sense of humour, Lovett-Campbell had a wide circle of friends who valued his advice and opinions and his cultural interests and entertaining conversation. He never married. He said he never had the time.