Eric Henry Liddell Born: 16 January 1902 Died: 21 February 1945) Liddell was a Scottish athlete, rugby union international player, and missionary, who chose his religious beliefs over competing in an Olympic race held on a Sunday.
Eric Henry Liddell was born in Tientsin (Tianjin) in North China, as the second son of the Rev. & Mrs. James Dunlop Liddell who were missionaries with the London Mission Society.
Liddell went to school in China until the age of five.
At the age of six, he and his eight-year-old brother Robert were enrolled in Eltham College, a boarding school in south London for the sons of missionaries.
Their parents and sister Jenny returned to China. During the boys’ time at Eltham, their parents, sister, and new brother Ernest came home on furlough two or three times and were able to be together as a family, mainly living in Edinburgh.
Eltham College, a Christian boarding school Liddell completed his schooling for 12 years.
In 1921, he moved to Edinburgh University where he studied Pure Science.
After the Olympics and his graduation, he returned to North China where he served as a missionary from 1925 to 1943 – first in Tientsin (Tainjin)
Later in Siaochang; During his first furlough in 1932 he was ordained as a minister.
On his return to China, he married Florence Mackenzie (of Canadian missionary parentage) in Tientsin in 1934.
They had three daughters; Patricia, Heather and Maureen, who now all live in Canada.
Talents of Eric:
- From his school days he was an outstanding sportsman
- Excelling in short distance running,
- Topped in rugby union and cricket
In 1922 and 1923 he played for Scotland Rugby Union in the Five Nations. However, it was at running that he really excelled, and after setting a new British record in the 1923 100 yards sprint, he was considered a great prospect for the Olympics in 1924.
to be continued…