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Louth Museum

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Lionel Bohn, Louth athlete

by Dita Lacey

One of Lionel's medals

One of Lionel's medals

First page of Lionel's list of prizes

First page of Lionel's list of prizes

Lionel Bohn [pronounced ‘Bonn’] was a Louth sportsperson who kept a hand-written record of the prizes he won, and their value, over nearly 20 years of competitions.

In 1945, when he was 17, Lionel began recording his races.  To begin with, his prize-winning events were 100 yards, 200 yards, 100 yards relay and long jump.  By 1950 he was also winning prizes for 440 yards, and by 1957 he seems to have been concentrating on hurdling. His records end in 1963.

As well as competing in nearby locations such as Grimsby, Horncastle and Scunthorpe, several of Lionel’s competitions were in mining towns such as Beighton (near Sheffield), Chesterfield, or connected with a manufacturing firm – Ruston Bucyrus in Lincoln, or Standard Motors in Coventry.  He took part in the Northern Counties AAA Championships twice, in 1946 and 1954.  Lionel would have been running on cinder or grass tracks.

Over the nearly two decades of recording his prizes, Lionel probably had nearly enough items to equip a house of the time.  He won, amongst other things, an electric kettle, toaster, several casserole dishes, assorted sets of cutlery, dishes, cake stands, biscuit barrels, trays, two barometers, four clocks, two wristwatches, a Wilton carpet, bedside table, two alarm clocks, and a shaving set.  On five occasions ash trays were awarded as a prize.

Not a lot is known about Lionel.  He was born in Boston, the only child of Frederick and Jenny Bohn; Frederick was of German origin.  The family moved to Louth when Frederick became manager of the Lin Can canning factory in Charles Street.  They lived in Horncastle Road, and Lionel remained there until his death in 2003.

Lionel’s Record Book and some of his plaques and medals are now on display in the Town Gallery of Louth Museum.