London Olympics 1948

London Olympic Poster

Image copyright IOC / Olympic Museum Collections

The events of World War Two meant that the 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled. London was awarded the 1948 Games but the timing couldn’t have been worse. Financially, Britain had been crippled by the conflict and rationing was still enforced, with bread rationing ending only on the day before the Games started.

No Olympic Village was constructed to accommodate the athletes, instead they were housed in schools and army barracks. Transport issues were also prevalent, not least due to petrol rationing. Even with these limitations the event began on 29 July 1948.

Athletes from 59 countries took part in the Games, many of whom travelled by freighter. Numerous athletes can be found travelling home after the events were over, on 14 August, in the new decade of our exclusive Passenger Lists.

Harold Sakata, a member of the American team, would go on to play ‘Oddjob’ in Goldfinger. He can be seen travelling with other members of the U.S. squad:

Passenger Lists Henry Sakata

Search the passenger lists now

Shirley Strickland, who won more Olympic medals than any other Australian runner, can be found with other members of the Australian team:

Passenger Lists Shirley Strickland

1948 was the last time the New Zealand team was to travel to an Olympics by ship. Members can be seen returning in the Passenger Lists:

Passenger Lists New Zealand Team

Ceylon competed for the first time at the 1948 Games, and Duncan White brought back a silver medal for the 400m hurdles. He can be seen below:

Passenger Lists Duncan White

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