Percy Allman-Smith

OLYMPICS: 1908

OLYMPICS: 1908

SPORT: HOCKEY

Percy Allman-Smith was born in Balbriggan, Dublin on 3 NOV, 1886. His father was a county inspector with the Royal Irish Constabulary and in 1894 the family moved to Tipperary, where they lived in Solsborough House, Dark Road, Nenagh for the next ten to fifteen years before moving elsewhere in Nenagh. Percy went to a boarding school in Dovegrove, Birr, Co. Offaly and while a student in Trinity College Dublin, studying medicine, he was picked for the Irish Olympic hockey team for the 1908 London Olympic Games and played, as a forward, in Ireland’s two games.

It was initially proposed that a combined team from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland would take part in the Games but Ireland had objected. The Irish players won their first game against Wales 3-1 but were beaten by England in the final. Each of the Irish players received an Olympic silver medal, and in all Percy Allman-Smith played hockey for Ireland a total of four times during his sporting career. His first game playing for Ireland was earlier in the year on 22 FEB, 1908 in a match against Wales which was played at Cardiff under the worst possible conditions. There was a gale blowing and the rain came down in such torrents that it was almost impossible to see the ball. At one period, the teams were forced to retire to the pavilion. After the match, the Irish team found that the dye in their shirts had “run” and their bodies were stained a bright green. The Irish won the game 4-2, and any adversity was soon forgotten after the usual Welsh hospitality which culminated on Sunday morning with a champagne breakfast.

As well as playing hockey for Trinity he later played for Dublin based Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club. His brother Vincent Allman-Smith [1896 - 1972] who was born in Nenagh, was an interprovincial hockey player and played tennis for Ireland from 1925 to 1935 and was on the Irish Davis Cup team that played against Monaco and Australia in 1930. After joining the British Army in 1912, in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Percy Allman-Smith had a long career as an Army doctor before retiring in 1949. He married an Army nurse, Alexandra Lucy “Pat” O’Brien whom he met at the Battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey and they got married in St. James’s Church, Spanish Place, London on 18 OCT, 1923. Brigadier Percy Allman-Smith, OBE MC died on 17 NOV, 1969 in London, aged eighty three.

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John Jellico, Olympic sailor