1948 Olympic Torch Run Through Surrey

1948 Olympic Games Torch used by Bert Brown (SHC Ref: PH/114/1)

1948 Olympic Games Torch
used by Bert Brown
(SHC Ref: PH/114/1)

The 2012 Olympics now seem a distant memory but it’s worth remembering that Surrey has a strong historical link with the Olympics. In 1948 the Olympic Torch was carried through the county.

Through historic and modern pictures and oral histories we hope to re-create this event as an on-line exhibition. Visit our picture gallery.

Do you know any of the runners? Do you have any pictures of the run? If so contact us or you can also add your comments by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

Read an extract from A History of Sport in Dorking edited by Celia Newbery (1985) which mentions the 1948 Olympic Torch run and the Dorking St Paul’s A.C.. 4,000 people lined Dorking’s High Street to see the hand over of the torch outside The White Horse.

This is an extract from an article that appeared in the Surrey Advertiser and County Times on July 24th, 1948 (the details of the section run by each torch bearer has been taken from the instructions issued to each runner by the Olympic Organising Committee):


22 Stages Through County

The Olympic Torch enters Surrey at 6 oclock on Thursday morning at Westerham, and 5 hours later, after passing through Oxted, Redhill, Reigate, Dorking, Guildford, Worplesden, Knaphill, and Bagshot, leaves the county at Bagshot Park gates.”

Here is the full list of Surrey torch bearers in the order of their various stages:

 Runner and club  Section run
 W. W. Humphreys (Oxted, Limpsfield and Tandridge S.C.) County Boundary, Westerham to Junction of A25 and B2025, Limpsfield
A. D. Brown (ditto) to Crowhurst crossroad, Oxted
J. W. R. Cowie (Surrey Beagles) to Godstone Green
A. E. Young (Monotype A.C.) to Nutfield Police Station
H. J. Bignall (Redhill and Reigate A.C.) to Warwick Hotel, Redhill
F. C. Prevett (ditto) to Priory Motors Ltd, Reigate
A. S. Pirie (South London Harriers) to Buckland Post Office
H. A. Bishop (Belgrave Harriers) to Betchworth Roadhouse
J. S. H. Williams (Dorking St Pauls A.C.) to White Hart, Dorking
E. J. Henton (ditto) to the Cricketers, Westcott
D. S. Vaughan (Herne Hill Harriers) to Abinger-Effingham crossroads
C. S. D. Bailey (Surrey A.C.) to Cottage Building Society offices, Gomshall
K. Roberts (Mitcham A.C.) to Gravel pit, Guildford Hill
John Whaley (Epsom and Ewell Harriers) to Horse and Groom, Merrow
Austin Playfoot (Godalming A.C.) (read Austin’s recollections of the run) to Municipal Offices, Guildford
Frank Ede (Dennis A.C.) to Emmanuel Church, Stoughton
V. P. Hancock (Ranelagh Harriers) to Worpleden Post Office
E. C. Shepherd (Vickers-Armstrong A.C.) to West Hill Golf Club House
P.C. K. W. Botting (Surrey Constabulary A.C.) to Crossway Cottage, Bisley
R. J. Turner (Walton A.C.) to crossroads, Gordon Boys’ School
T. Quirk (Weymanns A.C.) to Weston House, Bagshot road
R. L. Wyatt (Old Woking A.C.) to Bagshot Park Gates, Ascot road

5 thoughts on “1948 Olympic Torch Run Through Surrey”

  1. Mrs Hammond nee Turner says:

    I am the daughter of Mr R J Turner, who was a torch bearer in the 1948 Olympic Games. Sadly my dad died several years ago, i now own the torch, together with the letter inviting him to carry the torch..

    1. Tina Turner says:

      Hi there, I am the daughter-in-law of Mr. W.W. Turner. I know that my father-in-laws brother was a torch bearer and there was a photo of him with the torch which we are trying to trace. We need to establish we have the right Mr. Turner and if so do you have a photo?

  2. Peter Williams says:

    My Father was J.S.H. Williams (a 1948 torch bearer listed above). Our family still has the torch. He is the runner in photo gallery picture titled ‘Betchworth, the Olympic Torch passing Brockham Lane accompanied by police on motor cycles (SHC Ref 7828/2/16/104)
    Image 12 of 14’ Before WWII he was Surrey Quarter Mile Champion and might have been in a 1940 Olympicc Games. Sadly in WWII he was wounded in the leg.

  3. Lorraine Bignall says:

    My fathers cousin Herbert J.Bignall was a torch bearer in 1948 he carried it through Redhill.If there is anyone who either knew him or has any info please contact my e-mail address thanks.

  4. John R.R. Cowie says:

    Hello my father J.W.R. Cowie was a torch bearer in Surrey , I am now the owner of his torch as well as many pictures.

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