Kent Connections include: Faversham/
Olympic Sport: Rifle Shooting
Olympic Games: 1924
Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Neame is the only person to have
gained a Victoria Cross for military service and an Olympic gold
medal. In 1947, the Illustrated London News described him as
leading a “charmed life.” This is because he survived situations of
extreme danger both as a soldier and as a big game hunter.
There was a touch of good fortune about Neame’s Olympic Gold
Medal win. He was the lowest scoring member of the Great Britain
and Ireland team in an unusual rifle shooting event: the Men's 100
metre team running deer double shots. Competitors sat in an
enclosed hide and took aim through an open viewing window. The
target was a deer-shaped cut-out which was pulled along a rail at
speed. During each shooting session, the “deer” was propelled along
the range 10 times. A competitor was allowed 2 shots during each
run (Philip Neame described this as a “somewhat nerve-racking
event”). The Great Britain & Ireland Team points tally was only
one above the 2nd place (and favourite) Norwegian team.
Philip was an all-round sportsman taking part in hockey, polo,
point-to-point horse racing, hunting, skiing and climbing.
There is much of the old-fashioned “Boy’s Own” hero in Neame’s
adventurous life-story. On the 19 December 1914, he single-handedly
delayed a German enemy advance using “jam tin” hand grenades. He
also rescued wounded men stranded on the battleground
and received the Victoria Cross for these actions.
Philip Neame died on 28 April 1978.