Olympic Torch from 1948 London Olympics

Contributed by Brent Museum

Olympic Torch from 1948 London Olympics

This torch was one of the 1688 torches designed and manufactured in the UK for the 'Relay of Peace' which took place before the 1948 Olympic Games. 1416 runners carried the Olympic flame 3160 km from the ancient site of Olympia in Greece to Wembley Stadium in London. The first runner Corporal Dimitrelis took off his military uniform before taking up the flame commemorating the sacred truce of Ancient Greece which was observed during the Ancient Olympics. This gesture highlighted the peace that Europe and the world was now entering after World War Two. Due to the war there had not been an Olympic games for 12 years and the games became known as the Austerity Games as no new venues were built.

The final torch in the relay lit the Olympic cauldron at Wembley Stadium and opened the XI Olympiad. This tradition is linked to the ancient Olympic Games where at the sanctuary of Olympia a flame burned permanently on the altar of the goddess of the hearth Hestia.

The torches from the 1948 Olympics were given as momentous to the runners and it is not known how many are still in existence. The inscription reads "XIVth Olympia to London with thanks to the bearer".

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  • 1. At 13:08 on 26 July 2010, Jane Barry-Walsh wrote:

    My father Charles McIlvenny was one of the runners who carried the Olympic flame on its route to Wembley. He still has his torch which is also inscribed with his name.

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  • 2. At 19:29 on 3 August 2010, voice_germany wrote:

    London should already stage the Games in 1944, after that break for 12 years it has been a long time that the Games took place in 1948, the last Games were the 1936 Berlin Games that have been abused for propaganda purposes in order to deceive the world public a few years ahead of the outbreak of WWII in 1939.
    Germany and Japan were excluded from the 1948 Olympic Games as losers of WWII.

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  • 3. At 10:37 on 15 February 2011, Pipjc wrote:

    When I was at Loughborough Colleges in the early 1960's we held the Torch Relay and I had the privilege of handling one of the 1948 Olympic Torches, which is still at Loughborough University. Pip Clements DLC 1961-64

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  • 4. At 13:15 on 12 April 2011, melaniefuller wrote:

    My grandfather John Bickers was also one of the runners who carried the Olympic flame, and he still has his torch and the original letter asking him to carry the flame. Such a great momento and something to treasure, we are very proud of him. I have contacted the Olympic Committee in case they are interested in featuring the runners of 1948 - who knows?

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  • 5. At 11:44 on 10 May 2011, John Ian Wing wrote:

    Many years ago, I worked with a girl called Caroline Marks who told me that when she was a little girl, her father told her that he had carried the Olympic torch into the Stadium during the 1948 London Games. Is there any way of finding out the names of the last few runner who carried the torch.

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  • 6. At 07:26 on 18 May 2011, Paul Stephen wrote:

    Just watched the reveal of the Route of the Flame..........AND OUR AREA OF EAST ANGLIA HAS BEEN CONSICUOUSLY AVOIDED!!!!

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  • 7. At 07:27 on 18 May 2011, Paul Stephen wrote:

    Have just wtached the reveal of the route of the Flame....AND EAST ANGLIA HAS BEEN COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED!!!! Norwich is one of the largest cities in the country adnd has been completely avoided!!!!

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  • 8. At 10:36 on 18 May 2011, otter wrote:

    I played rugby for Blackheath I remember one of the players carried the
    the torch into the stadium.His name escapes me.I am 80!
    Brian Elliott

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