The Olympic Champion of the Dorset Regiment
The 1912 Olympics were held in Stockholm, Sweden, and were quite different to what we know as the modern Olympics today. Events included Tug Of War, the very generally named “Sports” category, and shooting events.
The Stockholm Games brought in a new era of efficiency, introducing the first ever use of automatic timing devices for events, photo finishes, and public address systems.
The Keep Military Museum holds two bronze medals from the 1912 Olympics in its collection- an individual Shooting (50 metres) bronze medal won by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Edward Stewart, and a Team GB bronze group medal for the Pistol Shooting (50 metres) event.
Charles Edward Stewart was born in 1881, and enlisted into the Dorset Rifle Volunteers in 1899. As well as his Olympic medals, the museum holds a collection of photographs, documents and letters that Stewart donated to the museum in the 1960s.
Colonel Stewart served initially with the Dorset Rifle Volunteers, and went on to serve with the Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps. Initially resigning in January 1902, he then re-enlisted with the Royal Engineers in 1914 and was posted to the Dorset Fortress Engineers through the First World War.
Reminiscing about his Olympic win in a letter to the museum in the 1960s, Stewart remarked that 1919 had been a particularly good year for him, as not only had he won his Olympic bronze, he also won an National Rifle Association (NRA) gold medal at their Old Comrades Service Rifle competition later that year. He later came 2nd in a shooting competition in 1919 in another NRA competition in Bisley.
Charles Edward Stewarts shooting medals reveal a fascinating story of an incredibly talented shot that took his skills to the military and beyond, becoming both a veteran, and an Olympic champion in Dorset.