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Friday, February 06, 2009

H W Hailstone

Harold William Hailstone was a cartoonist and illustrator who contributed to many magazines during his long career as an illustrator. Born in London on 14 July 1897, he was the eldest son of William Edward Hailstone and his wife Nellie Mary Kimbell (née Collins). William Hailstone ran a chemist’s in Hadlow, Tonbridge, Kent, and was later sub-postmaster in the same village. A large family, his younger brother Bernardthe seventh childwas a war artist and painter, known for his portraits of royalty and leading wartime figures such as Churchill and Mountbatten.

Harold Hailstone was educated at Sir Andew Judd School, Tonbridge, before joining the army. After two years he transferred to the R.F.C. and trained as a pilot but passed too late to fly in action. A number of his illustrations and cartoons featured aircraft and his brief connection with comics is as the illustrator of two "Biggles" stories that appeared in Eagle Annual in the early 1950s.

On his release from service, Hailstone studied at Goldsmiths’ College School of Art (1919-22). He visited America 1928-29 and worked in Canada in 1929-30 for Messrs. Batten Ltd., in Toronto, Ontario. Returning to England, he began contributing to Punch in 1931.His cartoons and illustrations appeared in dozens of periodicals and newspapers, including the Illustrated London News, Pearson's, Passing Show, Bystander, Tatler, Humorist, Sketch, Britania & Eve, Strand Magazine and Everybody's. For a time he was a staff cartoonist on the Daily Mirror. He was often called upon to produce sketches of events where cameras were not allowed, and his illustrations included Lenin's tomb during a trip to Russia in the 1920s and the lying-in-state of King George VI.

His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he was recalled to serve as a Flight-Lieutenant with the R.A.F., helping maintain the balloon barrage against German bombers. In 1944 he became an official war artist, recording operations with the partisans in Yugoslavia and the recapture of the Channel Islands as well as sketching troops in France soon after D-Day. Some of his work can be seen at the Imperial War Museum.

In later life, Hailstone worked as a councellor with the Citizen's Advice Bureau in Tunbridge Wells and assisted with Home Finding for the Elderly. He continued to work and draw until the late 1970s when he began to loose his sight.

Hailstone lived at various times in Staplehurst, Tunbridge Wells and Hadlow, all in Kent. He died
suddenly at Hadlow, Kent, on 21 November 1982, aged 85. He was married in 1918 to Olivia Henderson Beale, formerly of Sheerness. Olivia died in Croydon on 26 June 1928, aged only 32. Hailstone was survived by three daughters.

Illustrated Books
With Malice Towards Some by Margaret Halsey. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1938.
The Master of Magic by Michael Stone. London, Peter Lunn, 1947.
Many Waters by Neil Bell. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1954. [dust jacket]

(* illustration from Everybody's © IPC Media; cartoon from Punch © Punch Ltd.)


Robert Newton said...

I am the owner of the original Hailstone shown with the balloon near the moon. It is on my wall
Bob Newton

Anonymous said...

Awesome... This is my mother inlaw's stepfather!

David hawkins said...

I knew Harold Hailstone in the 60s & 70s when he used the service station I owned in Hadlow village. I have some of his original paintings of the village and my Son in Australia has a number of Harold's original war time drawings when he was a War Artist. Harold kindly gave them to him.
David Hawkins
Hadlow, Kent.

Sarah Willhoite said...

im related to H W Hailstone

Carol Cordova-Willhoite said...

Does anyone know if there are any prints available - I would love to get one for my mother-in-law; she is related to him.

Erica Hailstone said...

Hello Carol, My name is Ben Cobbett and I'm the son of Erica Hailstone, who is Harolds neice. We have just put into auction a collection of original cartoons for Punch that Harold drew. If you are interested its at lot no.131 on October 16th, or perhaps biddable online at
- hope this is useful
regards, Ben