Obituary: Allan Louis Neville Jay, MBE

British fencing champion and Olympic team captain


Allan Jay of Great Britain (L) competes against Daniel Revenu of France in the Men's Individual Foil Fencing competition on 13th October 1964 during the XVIII Summer Olympic Games at the Memorial Hall, Waseda University, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The former five times British fencing champion Allan Jay, who captained the British Olympic fencing team for 15 years, died in March, aged 91.

He won more than 20 international tournaments and a total of 170 medals. He secured titles at the British Fencing Championships during the 1950s, won gold at the Maccabiah Games in 1950 and silver at the 1960 Rome Olympics in individual and team epée.

He was Britain’s flagbearer at the 1964 Olympic Games and was elected a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

With an array of bronze, silver and gold medals in team and individual foil, Jay became the first British world champion in foil and the last fencer to win two individual medals in one year.

All this despite the fact that in the 1950s, fencing was still an upper-class sport, and antisemitism was rife. Friends said that initially Jay had to fight for entry into clubs, until he proved his success.

Jay was born on June 30, 1931 in London, to Vera and Lionel Goldstone, a furrier. His father died at the battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.

At the age of 12 Allan went to Buckingham Palace to collect the Military Cross from the King on behalf of his late father.

He attended Cheltenham College where he took up fencing. Spending his teens in Australia, he then took fencing to international level.

He returned to Britain to study law at Oxford University and became a solicitor with practices in Bloomsbury and Hampstead, while serving as fencing official with the Fédération Internationale d’Escrime (FIE).

Jay was appointed MBE in the 1970 New Year’s Honours list and remained in the sport as an official with FIE.

He and his wife Carole (née Munk) moved from London to Somerset to be near Allan’s greatest friend, Bill Hoskyns. Jay continued to fence weekly at local clubs until well into his eighties, often beating young players.

He was very proud of his Jewish heritage.

He once refused to get on a flight home from a competition because he was asked not to mention he was Jewish when they stopped in an Arab country.

He sponsored an Israeli place for Israeli soldiers who were far away from home.

Jay is survived by Carole, his wife of 64 years, their daughters Georgina and Felicity, granddaughter Amber and great-granddaughter, Elizabeth.

Allan Jay, MBE; born June 30, 1931. Died March 6, 2023

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive