René, Baron de Lunden

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRené Henri Théophile Florent Marie Joseph•de Lunden
Used nameRené, Baron•de Lunden
Born2 June 1902 in Bruxelles (Brussels), Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (BEL)
Died3 April 1942 in Chichester, England (GBR)
NOC Belgium


When his father died in 1921, René Lunden inherited his title and castle in Humbeek (just north of Brussels). Although he graduated in mining engineering at Leuven University, he never used his degree, instead running the castle’s stables with his mother and serving a short stint as a diplomat in South America. A decent steeplechaser on horseback, René was a top bobsledder. In 1939, be became the first (and as of 2009, only) Belgian to win a world title in the sport, grabbing a gold medal in the two-man event at St. Moritz, with Jean Coops as his brakesman. When called up for military service in 1925, Lunden first served with the cavalry, before joining the Belgian air force. When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1940, Lunden’s regiment was forced to flee for France, and eventually to England. There, Lunden joined the RAF. Too old to become a pilot, he became a navigator. In 1942, returning from a mission over France, Lunden’s Douglas Boston Mk III bomber crashed at the airfield. He was rushed to Chichester Hospital, but died shortly after arrival. Originally buried in nearby Pirbright, Lunden, he and other Belgian war casualties were carried over to Belgium in 1949 and re-buried there.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh) BEL René, Baron de Lunden
Two, Men (Olympic) Eric, Vicomte De Spoelberch 8
Four, Men (Olympic) Belgium 1 8

Special Notes