Thomas, Lord Howard de Walden

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Competed in Intercalated Games
Full nameThomas Evelyn•Ellis (-Scott-Ellis)
Used nameThomas, Lord•Howard de Walden
Born9 May 1880 in Westminster, England (GBR)
Died5 November 1946 in London, England (GBR)
Measurements181 cm / 77 kg
AffiliationsAmateur Fencing Association
Title(s)8th Lord Howard de Walden, 4th Baron Seaford
NOC Great Britain


Thomas, Lord Howard de Walden is one of the few Britons to have competed in two sports at different Olympics. A keen fencer, who could fence with both hands, he was at one time the president of the Amateur Fencing Association, and competed in the individual foil event at the 1906 Athens Games and two years later on home water, took part in the short-lived Olympic motorboating competition.

Lord de Walden was involved in motorboating from the early days of the sport and was owner of some of the best known boats of the day. His most successful was Daimler II, normally driven by Alfred Fentiman, and in 1908 they challenged for the Harmsworth Trophy at Huntington Bay, New York but were beaten by the American boat Dixie II. The following month, Fentiman and de Walden teamed up at the London Olympics but their entry Dylan only took part in the first of two races in the A-Class race which was abandoned due to bad weather at Southampton Water.

Lord Howard de Walden was born as Thomas Evelyn Ellis in 1890 and at the age of 19 he became the 8th Lord following his father’s death. He acceded to the seat about seven weeks before his very good friend, motorboating enthusiast and fellow Olympian, Hugh Grosvenor became the 2nd Duke of Westminster. In 1917, with permission granted from the King, Lord Howard de Walden was allowed to add the name Scott to his surname and he became Thomas Scott-Ellis.

Educated at Eton and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, Lord de Walden shortly afterwards obtained a commission with the 10th Hussars and served in the Boer War in 1899-1900. During World War I he served with the Royal Tank Corps rising to the rank of Major and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel before being made an honorary Colonel in 1927 and then obtaining a similar rank in the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. Between 1938-46 he was a trustee of the Tate Gallery where he owned many acres of land and property in prime central London locations.

Lord de Walden’s sporting interests extended beyond fencing and motorboating. He was a lover of sailing and was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. He was also a keen supporter of horseracing and was a member of the Jockey Club from 1905-24 and owned some quality horses, including the successful Zindanfel and Rose en Soleil, who was named after one of his racing motor boats. In 1933 his horses won 17 races and more than £10,000 in prize money. Howard de Walden was also very proficient at falconry. His talents extended even further to writing books, plays, operettas and even children’s pantomimes, and his wife Margherita was, like him, an expert fencer

An article in Autocar magazine in 1907 relates a story about Lord Howard de Walden during a motorboat meeting at Ryde, Isle of Wight. The Lord and his driver Alfred Fentiman were making repairs to Daimler II. Clad in greasy overalls, they were asked by a lady to escort her and her belongings to the Portsmouth ferry as she believed they were a pair of pier hands. The Lord duly agreed and on carrying out his duty, was rewarded with one shilling. Not short of a shilling or two, the extremely wealthy de Walden raised his hat and went on his way to realise some time later that he had inadvertently escorted the lady to the wrong ferry.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1906 Intercalated Games Fencing GBR Thomas, Lord Howard de Walden
Foil, Individual, Men (Olympic) AC p2 r1/3
Épée, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
Sabre, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
1908 Summer Olympics Motorboating GBR Thomas, Lord Howard de Walden
A-Class (Open), Open (Olympic) Alfred Fentiman DNF

Special Notes