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Olympic and British Fencer Bill Hoskyns

Fencer Bill Hoskyns defends medals after a break-in at home

News 1968 1 mins Silent

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Olympic and British fencer Bill Hoskyns has his house checked for fingerprints after a break-in at his home in North Perrott in Somerset. He graduated from Oxford with a Fourth in Agriculture preferring instead to fence and mastered the épée, foil and sabre. Hoskyns missed the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 but helped Britain to a team bronze at the 1955 World Championships. After an invitation from Hungary he became the first private pilot to land a plane behind the Iron Curtain.

Hoskyns, a Major in the Army and a fruit farm manager, competed in six Olympic Games from Melbourne in 1956 to Montreal in 1976, winning the épée team silver at Rome in 1960 and an individual épée silver at Tokyo in 1964. No British fencer has since won an Olympic medal. He competed in a total of seven World Championships from 1955 to 1967 winning épée gold in Philadelphia in 1958 beating the then Olympic champion Eduardo Mangiarott. Hoskyns won nine gold medals in épée and sabre and a silver medal in foil at the Commonwealth Games. In the British Championships he took 21 medals. He won four épée titles, three foil titles and one sabre title and became only the second competitor to win all three championships at once.