A batsman whose studious technique made full use of his talent, Dawson excelled for Eton, scoring 159 in the traditional fixture against Harrow, and earned his blue at Cambridge as a freshman, captaining the University in 1927. He played his county cricket for Leicestershire, captaining the county for four seasons and toured with MCC to South Africa in 1927/8 and New Zealand in 1929/30. He made 55 in his last test, at Auckland, opening the innings with Ted Bowley. He scored 12,597 first-class runs with 14 centuries, the highest being a knock of 146 against Gloucestershire. His swansong being a chanceless 91 against the Australians in 1934. As a member of the Coldstream Guards during World War 2, his duties included guarding Rudolf Hess in Sussex. In his later years he was a creative director of the Outward Bound movement.