Gustaf Dyrssen

Lieutenant General Gustaf Peder Wilhelm Dyrssen (24 November 1891 – 13 May 1981) was a Swedish Army officer and Olympic modern pentathlete.

Gustaf Dyrssen
Byråchef vid Järnvägsstyrelsen Gustaf Peder Wilhelmsson Dyrssen år 1937 JvmKDAK00467.jpg
Lieutenant Colonel Dyrssen in 1937.
Birth nameGustaf Peder Wilhelm Dyrssen
Born(1891-11-24)24 November 1891
Stockholm, Sweden
Died13 May 1981(1981-05-13) (aged 89)
Kungsängen, Sweden
Service/branchSwedish Army
Years of service1912–1957
RankLieutenant General
Commands held
Gustaf Dyrssen
Gustaf Dyrssen 1920.jpg
Dyrssen at the 1920 Olympics
Medal record
Representing  Sweden
Modern pentathlon
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1920 Antwerp Modern pentathlon
Silver medal – second place 1924 Paris Modern pentathlon
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1936 Berlin Team épée

Early lifeEdit

Dyrssen was born on 24 November 1891 in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of admiral Wilhelm Dyrssen and baroness Lizinka af Uggla.[1] His brother, Magnus Dyrssen, became lieutenant colonel and served in Finland during the Winter War where he was killed in action.


Military careerEdit

He was commissioned into the Svea Artillery Regiment (A 1) as a second lieutenant in 1912 and attended at the Artillery and Engineering College from 1914 to 1915. Dyrssen became a lieutenant in 1915 and attended at the Royal Swedish Army Staff College from 1917 to 1919. He was a cadet in the General Staff from 1920 to 1922, became captain in 1924 and served at the State Railways from 1924 to 1926. Dyrssen was a teacher at the Artillery and Engineering College from 1926 to 1932, captain in the Svea Artillery Regiment from 1930 to 1932, captain in the General Staff in 1932 and served as bureau chief at the Railway Board (Järnvägsstyrelsen) from 1932 to 1937.[1]

He was appointed to major in 1934 and was the first adjutant and lieutenant colonel in the General Staff in 1937. Dyrssen was head of the Communications Department of the Defence Staff from 1937 to 1939 and lieutenant colonel and commander of the Gotland Artillery Corps (A 7) in 1939. Dyrssen was appointed colonel in 1940 and was commander of the Svea Artillery Regiment from 1941 to 1942, the commandant of the Boden Fortress as well as the deputy military commander of the VI Military District from 1942 to 1945. He was appointed major general in 1944 and was the military commander of the IV Military District and the Commandant General in Stockholm from 1945 to 1957.[1] He retired from the Army in 1957 and was appointed lieutenant general in the reserve.[2]

Athletic careerEdit

Dyrssen won the eventing contest at the 1916 Swedish Games.[3] In the modern pentathlon he won a gold medal at the 1920 and a silver medal at the 1924 Summer Olympics. He competed in the individual and team épée at the 1924, 1928 and 1936 Olympics and won a team silver medal in 1936. He won seven medals in the épée at the world championships of 1931–1938, as well as three national titles, in 1927, 1932 and 1952, aged 60.[4] Dyrssen won the modern pentathlon at the Nordiska Idrætslege in Copenhagen in 1921, the patrol competition on skis at the 1922 Nordic Games and the Swedish Championship in modern pentathlon in 1922.[3]

Dyrssen was a prominent sports administrator, serving as president of the Swedish Fencing Federation (1936–1940), president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (IUPM, 1949–1960), and a member of the International Olympic Committee (1952–1970), among other posts.[4][5]

Other workEdit

Dyrssen was chairman of the Railway Preparedness Investigation from 1935 to 1937, the Inter-Scandinavian Transit Committee in 1939 and the 1945 Military Investigation from 1945 to 1946. He became a member of the Swedish Olympic Committee in 1946 and was chairman of the Swedish Central Association for Sports Promotion (Sveriges centralförening för idrottens främjande) from 1947 to 1961, the Swedish Fencing Federation from 1936 to 1940, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne and the Biathlon Association from 1949 to 1960. Dyrssen was a member of the International Olympic Committee from 1952 to 1970 and of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences in 1936. He was CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Ski Sport and Open Air Life (Skid- och friluftsfrämjandet) from 1958 to 1962 and chairman of Uppsala County Hunting Association (Uppsala läns jaktvårdsförening).[1][2][6]

Personal lifeEdit

Dyrssen was married from 1915 to 1953 to Maia Wennerholm (1894–1980), daughter of colonel Malcolm Wennerholm and Elsa Broman. He married a second time in 1953 to Eva Hallin (1910–2007), daughter of the chamberlain Axel Hallin and Helga Kreuger.[1] He was the father of David (born 1922), Gerry (born 1923), Marika (born 1935), Thérese (born 1936) and Wilhelm (born 1938).[2]

Dates of rankEdit

Awards and decorationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Burling, Ingeborg, ed. (1956). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1957 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1957] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. p. 218.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1964). Vem är vem?. 2, Svealand utom Stor-Stockholm [Who is Who?. 2, Svealand excluding Greater Stockholm] (in Swedish) (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Bokförlaget Vem är vem. p. 177.
  3. ^ a b c d Lindblad, Göran, ed. (1924). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1925 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1925] (in Swedish). Stockholm: P. A. Norstedt & Söners. p. 165.
  4. ^ a b "Gustaf Dyrssen Olympic Results". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  5. ^ "Gustaf Dyrssen" (in Swedish). Swedish Olympic Committee. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  6. ^ Engström, Christer; Marklund, Kari, eds. (1991). Nationalencyklopedin: ett uppslagsverk på vetenskaplig grund utarbetat på initiativ av Statens kulturråd. Bd 5, [Dio-Et] (in Swedish). Höganäs: Bra böcker. p. 213. LIBRIS 8211189.
Military offices
Preceded by
Defence Staff's Communications Department
Succeeded by
Hilding Kring
Preceded by
Carl-Gustaf Hamilton
Gotland Artillery Corps
Succeeded by
Curt Kempff
Preceded by
Helmer Bratt
Boden Fortress
Succeeded by
Gustaf Ehrenborg
Preceded by
Arvid Moberg
IV Military District
Succeeded by
Bert Carpelan
Preceded by
Arvid Moberg
Commandant General in Stockholm
Succeeded by
Bert Carpelan
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tor Wibom
President of International Modern Pentathlon Union
Succeeded by
Sven Thofelt