Hopson was educated at Christ's Hospital and University College, Oxford. He was commissioned into the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1939. During World War II, he served across Europe, was mentioned in despatches, and received the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order. He joined the Foreign Service in 1945.
He was Ambassador to Laos from 1962 to 1965, Ambassador to Mongolia from 1965 to 1966, Chargé d'affaires to China from 1965 to 1968 (during which he was caught up in the arson attacks on the Chargé d'affaires Office in Peking, now Beijing, on 22 August 1967), Ambassador to Venezuela from 1969 to 1972, and Ambassador to Argentina from 1973 to 1975.
- "HOPSON, Sir Donald". Who Was Who. A & C Black. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "British Ambassadors and High Commissioners 1880–2010" (PDF). Colin Mackie, Gulabin.com. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
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