Godfrey Brown (athlete)

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Godfrey Brown
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1936 Berlin 4x400 m relay
Silver medal – second place 1936 Berlin 400 metres
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1938 Paris 400 metres

Arthur Godfrey Kilner Brown (21 February 1915 – 4 February 1995) was a British athlete, winner of gold medal in 4 × 400 m relay at the 1936 Summer Olympics. He later became Headmaster at the Royal Grammar School Worcester, a post which he held from 1950 until his retirement in 1978.

Born in Bankura, Bengal, India, Godfrey Brown was a highly talented runner at distances from 100 yd (91 m) to the half mile.[1] He won the British AAA championships in 440 yd (400 m) in 1936 and 1938 and in 880 yd (800 m) in 1939.

At the Berlin Olympics, Brown was narrowly beaten by Archie Williams in the 400 m individual event, but Brown anchored the British 4 × 400 m relay team to a gold medal ahead of the United States.[2]

In 1937, Brown won 400 m at the World Student Games, with additional gold medals at both relays.[3]

At the 1938 European Championships, Brown won the individual 400 m, anchored the British 4 × 400 m relay team to a second place and won the bronze at 4 × 100 m relay.

Brown was educated at Warwick School, where he was Head Boy from 1933 – 1934. In 1935 he went to study English and History at Peterhouse, Cambridge University and worked after graduation as a history master at Bedford School. Because his sight was poor he was not mobilized in the Army, staying as school master at Cheltenham College from 1943 to 1950. From 1950 till 1978, Brown was the headmaster of Worcester Royal Grammar School. He died in Sussex, aged 79.

His sister Audrey and brother Ralph were also notable athletes, Audrey winning a silver in 4 × 100 m relay at the 1936 Olympics and Ralph won the British AAA championships title in 440 yd (400 m) hurdles in 1934.[3][4]


  1. ^ Roberto Quercetani (1964). A World History of Track and Field Athletics, 1864–1964. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Anrd Krüger; William Murray (6 August 2003). The Nazi Olympics: Sport, Politics, and Appeasement in the 1930s. University of Illinois Press. pp. 81–. ISBN 978-0-252-09164-3.
  3. ^ a b Lawrence Goldman (7 March 2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005-2008. OUP Oxford. pp. 254–. ISBN 978-0-19-967154-0.
  4. ^ John Bale; Mette Krogh Christensen; Gertrud Pfister (2004). Writing Lives in Sport: Biographies, Life-histories and Methods. Aarhus University Press. ISBN 978-87-7934-084-8.
Preceded by
United Kingdom Eric Liddell
European record holder men's 400 m
7 August 1936 – 11 August 1939
Succeeded by
West Germany Rudolf Harbig