Medal-winning marksman for Wales
Monday 18 July 2005
John Vivian, fourth Baron Swansea, was one of the finest marksmen of his generation, who won gold and silver medals for Wales at the Commonwealth Games. When he struck gold in Jamaica in 1966, he had to go to the main athletics arena to receive his medal. Lynn Davies, who had earlier won the long jump gold for Wales, watched from the stands as a second Welshman was honoured. "Lord Swansea walked out to the centre of the arena with the other two medallists and duly received his gold," recalled Davies:
Then the band struck up the anthem and the Welsh flag was
raised. But, instead of playing "Hen Wlad fy Nhadau", the Jamaicans played the Scottish anthem. Quick as a shot, Lord Swansea raised his arm and stepped off the podium. He had a few words with the officials and the anthem was stopped.
Alun Williams, the BBC Wales commentator, rushed out of the press box and over to the band and shuffled through their music sheets before he discovered the Welsh anthem. Order was restored, Lord Swansea went back on to the top of the podium and the ceremony continued.
Swansea was a stickler for protocol. Born John Hussey Hamilton Vivian in 1925, he succeeded his father, the third Baron Swansea, at the age of nine. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, and his success on the shooting range made him a legendary figure in the sport in Wales, for whom he went to five Commonwealth Games, adding a silver medal to his gold in Brisbane in 1982.
He won the Bisley Grand Aggregate in 1957 and 1960, the Match Rifle Aggregate in 1971 and 1974, and was second in the Queen's Prize in 1958 and 1968 - a competition in which he competed 18 times. He also won the Hopton in 1971 and 1974, and represented Wales 37 times in the short range National Match and 34 times in the Mackinnon long range.
A campaigner for the rights of shooters, Swansea was a founder, Vice-Chairman and then President of the British Shooting Sports Council. He was also Vice-Chairman of the National Rifle Association.
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