Charles count de Lambert
* 30/12/1865 Funchal; x 6/6/1893 Paris;
† 26/2/1944 Saint-Sylvain d’Anjou
Charles de Lambert is, at the same time, too much time-bound and too much forgotten. To define his personality one is obliged to read especially records which also contain testimonies of his contemporaries. His appearance is known from photographs and in particular from postcards (at the time being in fashion) published on the occasion of special events.
Tall and slender, dignified and distinguished, no conceit at all, no affection at all, with great reserve and diffidence he is distinguished by his sensitive courtesy. He is not looking for any popularity at all. Free from sympathy or excessive severity his melancholy eyes stare somewhat lost into the empty space. Count de Lambert joins fashion at that time by bearing a moustache and dresses without emphatic elegance. On airports he sets himself aside but he is unequivocally recognizable by his curious cap with ear flaps turned down.
He has no interest at all for money affairs and looses his fortune, both from the part of Savary de Lancosme-Brèves and from the part de Lambert, more from unconcern, lack of control and blind confidence in his boarders, than due to the investments he has to do in order to realize his investigations or his business. In this way it happens that he entrusts his estates in Russia to unscrupulous superintendents and trustees, shows no interest and looses everything, long before the murder of the tsarist family in 1917.
He is a man of science and of ideals, by no means a bon vivant. In this context the example of his, with his Slavonian calmness, completely unforeseeable exploit of Monday October 18 1909 in Paris is illustrative (on which more in CHAPTER 7 CHARLES DE LAMBERT THE PIONEER OF AVIATION). Count de Lambert persists in refusing all public honours, at that moment he appears to be determined not to take part in any competition and before everything else he wants to occupy himself only with the efforts of perfecting the airplane.
He has a lively and precise intelligence, full of finesse and intuition. He is loyal and sincere whereas his tolerant mind, his cheerfulness and his drive make him pleasant company, the more so because by nature he is very outgoing. As indicated he is an idealist, close to an almost embarrassing naïveté. In any case he is very careless and no doubt somewhat lazy, in spite of his foolish activity. There is a story that, when in 1926 his troubles are at their peak and even his handwriting shows a strong disposition to depression, one sees him walking with hands in pockets while whistling softly, willingly and knowingly turning his back on his cares.
His inaccuracy is well known. Even during his meetings with ministers he unaffectedly apologizes for it by saying he “has done Cordelia’s hairs”. Indeed Charles de Lambert is the only one who is permitted to unravel and to comb the long and beautiful hairs of his wife, whom he proves to have adored. However one should imagine she suffers more than materially by the character of her husband.
Rather lymphatic, a little bit sullen, he presents himself with his friends full of dignity and refined courtesy. He continually drives round with his business associate and friend at the wheel of an open Ford and in order to avoid the trouble and discomfort to pull off his gloves he suddenly asks with smart voice: “I wonder what might be the time”. Then his friend, his admirer, takes out his watch until the day on which, observing the advantage de Lambert is taking of his willingness, he answers: “I also wonder!”
Count de Beaufort mentions he practises all sports and it is known he wins the championship of his club ‘The sporting gun’ in 1903.
In this respect the second Olympic Summer games organised in Paris in 1900 are to be mentioned. After the first successful Games in Athens in 1896 the Olympic Games four years later hardly deserve that name. In that year everything organised in the French capital is managed by the organisers of the world fair, inclusive the sports events. The founder of the modern Olympic Games, the French nobleman baron Pierre de Coubertin, is forced to celebrate his creation under the umbrella of world fair, but the organisation has little interest in the Games.
The sports part is held from May 14 until October 28 1900 and it is still not decided which event was part of the Games and which event was part of the World Fair.
In the results list of the event ‘tir sur sanglier mobile à 40m’ (shooting on a moving model of a boar of 0,95 length at a distance of 40 meters), with 198 competitors 101 of which get money prizes and 97 a ‘bonze plaque’, as winner of 150 French francs or the ‘bronze’ the name of Count de Lambert appears. Sometimes Versailles has been added to it whereas in this period Charles de Lambert is living in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Especially the twofold addition of the forename George respectively Georges makes one wonder whether it is ‘our’ Charles who is Olympian.
In the first place one is to realize that said discipline is not an event recognized by the International Olympic Committee as being part of the official program of the Olympic Games of Paris 1900.
E-mail message International Olympic Committee in Lausanne
Tuesday April 10 2007
Conclusive answer to the question, and as it were in continuation of the point of view of the International Olympic Committee is given by Charles de Lambert himself. In an interview published on October 22 1929 in ‘Le Miroir des Sports’ (‘The Mirror of the Sports’) nº 509 there is mention of an ‘Ancien champion de France de tir au fusil de chasse, deuxième du concours international de tir à la carabine pendant l’Exposition de 1900’. So in actual fact he is not, as old-champion of France with the shotgun, a participant at shooting carbine of the Olympic Games 1900 but of the World Fair in the noise of which the Games are going down. Moreover Charles de Lambert and his friend Paul Tissandier are the first ones in Meulan in 1900 – see CHAPTER 5 CHARLES DE LAMBERT BRILLIANT INVENTOR, UNFORTUNATE INDUSTRIALIST – leading gliding boats to battle with the contests taking place by occasion of the Olympic Games and the World Fair on the basin of Argenteuil. Their boat with a speed twice as high as everything else causes sensation!