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William Dod

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilliam•Dod
Used nameWilliam•Dod
Born18 July 1867 in Lower Bebington, Merseyside, England (GBR)
Died8 October 1954 in Earls Court, Greater London, England (GBR)
AffiliationsWelford Park Archers, Welford (GBR)
NOC(s) Great Britain


Willy Dod was a descendant of Sir Antony Dod of Edge, who commanded the English archers at Agincourt, so it was appropriate that he celebrated his 41st birthday by winning an Olympic gold medial for archery. The archers at the 1908 Olympic Games completed in atrocious weather conditions, and at one state the driving rain brought proceedings to a halt. At the end of the first day, Willy Dod of Welford Park led Reginald Brooks-King of West Somerset by 10 points. Although the weather conditions improved on the second day, eddies of wind around the stadium still provided a stern test and Dod was one of the few to master the difficult conditions. He finished the winner by the handsome margin of 47 points.

Dod was never inconvenienced by having to attend school or work for a living. He received his education entirely from private tutors, and his father, a wealthy banker and cotton broker, provided sufficient funds for him to lead a life of leisure. In addition to being a champion golfer and archer, Willy was also a fine shot and enjoyed big game hunting in the Rockies. He first took up archery as a pastime at the home of the Legh family, who had an estate close to the Dods in Cheshire and were one of the greatest names in the history of the sport. Neither Willy nor his legendary younger sister Lottie Dod entered for any archery competition until 1906, when the family moved sound to Newbury in Berkshire and Willy and his sister joined the newly-formed Welford Park Archers. Within three years of his first competition, Willy Dod was the Olympic champion and he went on to win the Grand National Archery title, which was the British Championship, in 1909 and 1911. After the fashionable Welford Park club was wound up in 1911, the Dod family quickly lost interest in the sport; in fact, the 1911 Grand National meeting was Willy’s last Open archery competition. Having previously been a scratch golfer at the Royal Liverpool gold Club and the South of Ireland champion in 1901, he again devoted time to the sport and in 1912 he reached the fourth round of the British amateur Championship.

Four weeks after the outbreak of war, Willy enlisted in the Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and by the end of the year he was serving as a private in the trenches of France. For a 47-year-old from Dod’s social background this was a particularly chastening experience and he applied for a transfer to the Navy. Surprisingly, his request was granted and he was commissioned into the RNVR in April 1915, but after spending a year back in France as an administrative officer with the Royal Naval Air Service he was invalided out.

Willy and his sister eventually settled in Devon, where they had bought a property at Westward Ho! Just before the Second World War. Their lives centered around the golf club and in 1948 Willy was elected President of the Royal North Devon Club; the following year Lottie was elected the Lady President. In 1950 Lottie returned to London and Willy joined her in her Earl’s Court flat two years later; neither ever married and they spent their last years together.


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Representing 2nd NOC As
1908 Summer Olympics Archery Double York Round, Men Olympic 1 Gold GBR William Dod

Olympic family relations