Malcolm Nokes

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Malcolm Nokes
Malcolm Nokes in 1923
Personal information
Born20 May 1897
Edmonton, Middlesex, Great Britain
Died22 November 1986 (aged 89)
Alton, Hampshire, England
Event(s)Discus throw, hammer throw
ClubAchilles Club
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)DT – 38.43 m (1927)
HT – 52.75 m (1923)[1][2]
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Bronze medal – third place 1924 Paris Hammer throw
Representing  England
British Empire Games
Gold medal – first place 1930 Hamilton Hammer throw
Gold medal – first place 1934 London Hammer throw

Malcolm Cuthbert Nokes MC MA BSc (20 May 1897 – 22 November 1986) was a British schoolteacher, soldier, research scientist and Olympic athlete, who competed in the hammer throw and discus throw.[3]


He won the bronze medal in the hammer throw at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Four years later he finished eleventh in the 1928 Olympic hammer throw competition. In 1923 he beat the British hammer throw record, but did so in a demonstration rather than a competition, so his throw did not count for record purposes.[4]

He won the gold medal for England in the 1930 British Empire Games in the hammer throw contest and finished fifth in the discus throw event. At the 1934 British Empire Games he won again the gold medal in the hammer throw competition.[1]

Nokes was the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) Champion from 1923 to 1926 and placed second in 1921–22 and 1927–28.[1] He was chairman of the AAA's Coaching Committee, and also a member of the Achilles Club.

He was a graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied chemistry and wrote a thesis on metaphenetidine. Nokes served in the Great War in the Royal Artillery in the trenches and then as an observer in the Royal Flying Corps. He was awarded a Military Cross for his service,[1] becoming MC Nokes MC. In the Second World War he served as an officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) while a schoolmaster.[5]

He taught chemistry at Malvern College and later at Harrow School, where he was appointed Head of Science; he had come to the attention of Harrow when two schools colocated during the Second World War, although they did not merge. His practical demonstrations of the reaction of sodium with water were popular and famous among his pupils. These often entailed an explosion as MC Nokes put more than the recommended quantity of sodium into the water, and as the smoke cleared and noise subsided, MC Nokes would say "Note the small report." He was a member of the Science Masters' Association.[6] Later he worked at Harwell and then was Head of Laboratories[7] at CENTO Institute of Nuclear & Applied Science in Tehran. In retirement he lived in Honiton, Devon, and then in Alton, Hampshire. His nicknames included "Nokey", "Glaxo" and "Stally."

The chronology of his career was:

During his time at Harrow, he served as a councillor in what is now Harrow London Borough Council, being elected as a Conservative for the ward of Harrow-on-the-Hill & Greenhill.[10] During his service as a borough councillor, he proposed and was instrumental in bringing into service one of the first electric dust carts to be used in England, as part of the modernization of public health services in Harrow.

MC Nokes was one of eight children of Walter Nokes. His brothers included Gerald Dacre Nokes,[11][12] a barrister and Indian judge, and George Augustus Nokes.


  • Modern Glass-working and laboratory techniques'.' London, 1937: William Heinemann.
  • Simple Experiments in the theory of flight. London, 1941: William Heinemann.
  • "Aircraft instruments" in Air training manual; a practical guide to aero-engines, aircraft construction, wireless and electricity, and air navigation for members of the A. T. C. and all interested in modern aeronautics. London, 1943: Odhams Press.
  • Science in education. London, 1949: Macdonald.
  • Demonstrations in modern physics. London, 1952: William Heinemann.
  • "Throwing the Hammer" (with Lt. Col. C. J. Reidy) in Athletics, by Members of the Achilles Club. [1] (Ed.: Meyer, HM). London, 1955: JM Dent & Sons.
  • Radioactivity measuring instruments: a guide to their construction and use. Melbourne, 1958: William Heinemann.


  1. ^ a b c d Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Malcolm Nokes". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Malcolm Nokes".
  3. ^ "Malcolm Nokes". Olympedia. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Record Hammer Throw". Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), 22 August 1923, Page 12.
  5. ^ London Gazette, supplement, 21 May 1946. p. 2398. Royal Air Force service number 86246. Resigned commission 1 May 1946.
  6. ^ New Scientist. 26 December 1957. p. 7.
  7. ^ M.C. Nokes (1963) Demonstrations in Modern Physics. Heinemann Educational Books.
  8. ^ Bishop's Stortford College, Website, page "OS Olympians" Archived 18 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2 July 2015
  9. ^ Magdalen College, Oxford University, Archives of Magdalen College, "MC:P229 Photograph Album of Malcolm Cuthbert Nokes (1897–1986)" Archived 24 September 2016 at
  10. ^ Gray, Colin. Website "Elections in Harrow 1894–2015", Entry for 1954, Appendix A, Retrieved 2 July 2015, "Members of Harrow Council seeking Re-election, 1954" Archived 18 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Nokes, Gerald Dacre (1899-1971)". Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  12. ^ Gerald Dacre Nokes

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