Lord Swansea of the NRA

Lord Swansea
January 1, 1915 - June 27, 2005
International marksman and doyen of his sport

JOHN VIVIAN was an outstanding rifleman and a tireless worker for the sport within the National Rifle Association (NRA) and through what is now the British Shooting Sports Council (BSSC), of which he was a founder member.
He achieved international shooting honours for Great Britain and for Wales, winning a gold medal for the latter in Jamaica in 1966 and a silver medal in Brisbane in 1982, in five Commonwealth Games.

Swansea’s achievements on the firing point were legion. He won the Bisley Grand Aggregate and the Hopton Match Rifle Aggregate twice and reached the final of the Queen’s Prize on 18 occasions, coming second twice. He travelled abroad on eight occasions as a member of British teams and was one of only five people to have captained their home nation and Great Britain in each of the big five international matches — the National, Mackinnon, Kolapore, Australia and Palma (World Championship).

Behind the shooting scenes he was vice-chairman of the NRA council, 1989-92. He lived and breathed shooting, turning from rifle to pistol in later years. He used his contacts in the House of Lords and government circles to promote a greater understanding of shooting sports — he was in the forefront of the fight against what he saw as misguided legislation after the Hungerford and Dunblane atrocities.

A mild and private man, he made light of his slight stammer. The late Andrew Tucker, another fine shooter with a similar problem, once told of how they first met: “It was a lengthy introduction of remarkably few completed words.”

He was a man of quiet humour; his pet project at Bisley was the Corporation Swindle, offering a chance to shooters to win a prize even if they suffered a disaster in the feared bogey shoot at 1,000 yards during the Grand Aggregate. The prize went to the competitor making the lowest score in the Corporation of the City of London match without having missed the target.

John Hussey Hamilton Vivian was son of the 3rd Lord Swansea. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1934 he succeeded to the barony and baronetcy. He was, until the reform of the Lords, a regular attender, participating particularly in debates pertinent to shooting.

His first marriage to Miriam Caccia-Birch was dissolved in 1973, and he married Lucy Gough in 1982. He is survived by his wife, and by a son and two daughters of his first marriage.

Lord Swansea, 4th baron, international rifleman, was born on January 1, 1925. He died on June 27, 2005, aged 80.

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