Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ron Garner

Ron Garner was one of the longest-serving members of the Amalgamated Press nursery comics staff with a career spanning fifty years, although his name will probably be a new one to many readers of this column.

Thanks to his daughter, Karenina, I can redress the balance a little.

Born Ronald Hammond Garner on 30 August 1904 at 20 Woodfield Crescent, St Mary, Paddington, Ron Garner was the second youngest of 11 children born to Arthur William Garner and his wife Ellen (née Hammond), who had married at Paddington in 1885. Arthur worked as a supervising foreman for Paddington Borough Council and with so many children to look after, Ron was raised primarily by his elder sisters Connie and Kit.

Ron spoke very little about his childhood so his family have only a few sketchy images. At school, the Headmaster kept a woolly monkey which used to pee in the inkwells. Despite this distraction, he appears to have done well.

His father ran a yard for the council where Ron was able to play with the carthorses. Despite the stories of cruelty and thoughtlessness that circulate about the treatment of working horses of that era, Ron's memories were of the pride the men took in them, especially when preparing them for the Easter Parade when the horses would be carefully groomed and horse brasses were polished until they gleamed. On payday, his father was brought home from the pub by his horse, Peter, on one occasion ending up in a ditch.

Out of school he entertained himself by blowing up lead soldiers with fireworks in a sandheap in the yard.

The First World War intervened and one of Ron's brothers, Ned, contracted typhoid, which he survived; however, as a result Ned died a few years later in the boxing ring. Ned's best friend, a lad Arthur Garner was clearly fond of, died when the Lusitania was sunk.

Ron witnessed some of the sorrier aspects of the war: there was an uprising against any businesses which appeared to have a German name and he witnessed a Jewish shop being vandalised, a solitary policeman on horseback charging down the street to disperse the crowd.

Although it is not known precisely when he joined the Amalgamated Press, Ron Garner was a contemporary (although younger) of Bertram Wymer and Anton Lock who worked for the Tiger Tim group of titles (Rainbow, Tiger Tim's Own, Playbox) under managing editor Bill Fisher.

If, as many did, he joined the firm as an office boy, he may have joined the company as early as 1918/19, shortly before Tiger Tim's Own was launched (in June 1919), although most likely joined in the 1920s when the group had expanded with the addition of Playbox in 1925. He clearly had regular employment in the 1920s and 1930s as the family have photographs from which they know he visited the Channel Islands and New Forest, travelling around the country in an open top sports car. He enjoyed watching birds, butterflies and moths and was a good photographer.

One of his hobbies, probably inspired by Bert Wymer, was collecting fossils, a hobby which his two sons continue to this day. Wymer's enthusiasm for amateur archaeology had been revived in the 1930s by the discovery of a fossil bone in Barnsfield Pit, Swancombe, near Gravesend in Kent, where he—Wymer—had occasionally dug as a youngster. Wymer gave Ron Garner half his fossil and shell collection and, by the 1950s, Ron had a very extensive collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins, pointing out to his children how beautiful Athene was with her warrior's mask pushed up on top of her head.

It was not an entirely carefree life: Ron's first fiancée died and he remained unmarried until his early thirties; he met Eugenie P. Baker at work and they were married in 1936. The couple rented a flat in London before buying a house in Orpington. For their first Christmas in Orpington, Eugenie invited her parents and brother to stay, only realising at the last minute that she couldn't afford to buy any food. She was left with only one option, to ask her father for a loan when the family arrived on Christmas Eve. Ron arrived home early in a taxi, much to his wife exasperation at this extravagance, only to find that he had won the firm's Christmas hamper which contained everything they needed!

During the Second World War, Ron was called up and joined the RAF as a photographer. He was stationed much of the time at Biggin Hill. A friendly Sergeant loaned Ron his bicycle so that on the nights that he was off duty, he could cycle to his home in Orpington. One morning he returned to Biggin Hill to discover that many of his friends and colleagues had died following an air raid.

After the war, Ron and his wife planted what was to become a very beautiful woodland garden. Ron grew potatoes which tasted absolutely wonderful, runner beans, redcurrants and gooseberries, as well as apple, pear, cherry and cherry plum trees.

Ron was also enormously creative in the house as well as outside: he was a good artist (as can be seen in his drawing of Lincolns Inn above) and carved wooden figures, made furniture and toys for his children—especially welcome as, after the war, toys were not easy to come by. A dolls house with an operational lift and battery-run lights (using torch bulbs), a fort with a drawbridge which could be raised and lowered and an Ark were just a few of them; also wooden figures of a Scotsman and a pirate for his two sons, Leon and Stefan, and a ballet dancer for daughter Zenia. Karenina, the youngest child, was a late arrival in 1955.

Family holidays were spent in the West Country, Ron collecting tiny cowrie shells with his youngest daughter at Croyde, or collecting fossilised sharks teeth on one of many day visits to Bracklesham Bay.

As well as his wide range of interests, Ron was also keen on cricket (one of his brothers played for the MCC) and football (supporting Queens Park Rangers).

"I'm not clear at what age Dad began writing for the nursery magazines," says Karenina. "The characters he wrote included Gulliver Guinea-Pig, Wally, Sammy and Harry [from 'The Wonderful Tales of Willow Wood'], Jack and Jill, Harold Hare, Bunny Cuddles, Teddy and Cuddly, Freddie Frog, Walter Hottle Bottle, The Wind in the Willows, Fliptail [the Otter], Pixie Pip... The comics he wrote for were The Rainbow, Tiger Tim (I think), Harold Hare's Own Paper, Jack and Jill, Sunny Stories, Teddy Bear, Playbox (I think). He also wrote some of the Rupert Bear books over many years.

"He spoke little about his work, perhaps out of consideration for my mother who had also been a children's journalist, but her career had been cut short with the arrival of babies and, since then, I believe only one of the stories that she submitted was accepted.

"Dad worked from home after his retirement until shortly before he died. One of the longer stories he wrote was 'Cherry Cap', for which I recall seeing a note enclosing a cheque, so that story must have been accepted, perhaps for one of the annuals."

Ron worked as a sub-editor on the nursery group—Jack and Jill, Playhour, Teddy Bear, etc.—in the 1960s before retiring but continued to write for these papers and others until shortly before his death, from lung cancer, on 16 September 1979.

(* My thanks to Karenina and her family for sharing their memories of their father and for the photographs. The picture at the top is a drawing produced by Peter Woolcock to celebrate Ron Garner's retirement. Karenina has also very generously sent me some pictures of some interesting memorabilia from the nursery comics which I hope to share with you in the future.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

New book "probably won't outsell Harry Potter," claims author

I was going to do something special as this is my 400th blog posting... but instead you're just going to have to put up with me and my lovely new book. It's got pictures and everything!

Go on... you know you want to buy it!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reg Wootton

A friend of mine has loaned me some old copies of Knockout to read so I've had an opportunity to read some of the favourite strips of my occasional co-writer David Ashford -- and jolly fine they are, too.

Anyway, one strip I was really pleased to spot was 'Sporty' by Reg Wootton because it was a favourite of mine when it appeared in Valiant. I did a quick search and found a few examples of his artwork including nine strips from the Sunday Express (1948-49) as part of the 'Having a Laugh! The British Art of the Cartoon' exhibition hosted by Chris Beetles (you'll have to scroll down the page).

Wootton apparently joined the Sunday Express in 1931 and created the 'Sporting Sam' strip for the back page two years later. This according to Rugby Relics (and copied wholesale by Lambiek Comiclopedia) which says that in 1949, Wootton "transferred 'Sporting Sam' to the Knockabout Comic of Amalgamated Press" which isn't true. Although both strips did features sports, 'Sporty', who appeared in Knockout was a young adult (although drawn to look more like a boy) who has an adult friend Sydney and there was dialogue; 'Sporting Sam' was considerably older-looking, has a bulbous nose and appeared in a two, three or four panel pantomime strip without dialogue. Some of Sporting Sam's strips were collected in 1979.

'Sporty' began his considerable run in issue 539 (25 June 1949) and appeared until February 1963 when Knockout merged with Valiant. Sporty continued his adventures until 28 October 1972 (although not in every single issue), an almost unbroken run of 23 years. Wootton added a second string to his bow briefly with 'Tubby the All Round Sportsman' in Buster (1967-68).

I believe Sporty and Sydney became 'Mug en Mik' in the Dutch weekly Eppo but I've not been able to find any other strips by Reg Wootton.

It seems to be the received wisdom that Wootton died in 1995, in which case he may have been Reginald Clifford George Wootton, born 13 December 1908, who lived at Oak Cottage Rest Home, 4 Wilkins Green Lane, Hatfield, Herts., where he died on 19 April 1995, aged 86. If anyone can expand on this extremely thin biography, perhaps you'd drop me a line (just don't attach a snake to it first).

UPDATE -- 5 August

I've just picked up a copy of the Sporting Sam book published by Express Newspapers in 1979 which features a brief biography and a photograph. According to the notes "[Sporting Sam] has appeared in the paper [Sunday Express] ever since [1933], except for one week during the war when the drawing was mislaid! It is a most remarkable record.

"Reg, whose admiring public extends well beyond the British Isles, is, naturally, interested in ALL sports and has played most games. But cricket is his first love -- he played for Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Barnet, and Totteridge Cricket Club. He played Rugby for his school but switched to Soccer when he left and kept goal for local sides. Yes, Reg Wootton is truly a genuine sportsman, besides being a fine artist."

All this leads me to believe that Wootton was educated and lived in North London (Totteridge is in the north London borough of Barnet). He's probably the Reginald Wootton listed in the London phone book at 45 Prospect Road, New Barnet in 1952/53.

(* Sporty © IPC Media; Sporting Sam
© Express Newspapers)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Look and Learn in The Oldie

The August issue of The Oldie has a piece on Look and Learn which describes it a "a gem of a paper, its 1950s minor-public school world view an antidote an antidote to the preponderance of pre-teen magazines telling girls how to look sexy, or boys how to be a successful assassin in a PlayStation game."

"Would today's children think the same?" The Oldie asks. And for once I can reply... we've actually had some very good feedback from parents about how much their children enjoy reading the paper. Having done a few interviews about Look and Learn, I know for a fact that it's perceived as a magazine that only "swots and Lord Snootys" (as the Oldie calls them) would read. Not true. Not true by a long shot. Given a chance, most children will find something in the magazine that they like. If they don't particularly fancy the history article on one page, the feature on animals on the next page might grab their attention, or the piece on 'Famous Aircraft' or the reprint of 'The Trigan Empire'. I've watched children reading the magazine and I've not seen one flick through the contents without finding something that they want to read. And they do read... the magazine is as well written as it is illustrated. More often than not, when they find one thing they enjoy, they'll go back to the beginning and take another look at things they previously skipped over.

I was in the Look and Learn office yesterday so I had a chance to look through a copy of The Bumper Book of Look and Learn. It's fantastic. I can't imagine anyone who has pre-ordered a copy of the book being disappointed. It's huge, full-colour throughout and the artwork has reproduced superbly. A lot of the artwork was taken from original art boards, dropped into scans of text, so it has the feel and look of the original pages but with the artwork looking better than it ever did in the printed magazine. This link will take you to more information on the book and further links to where you can order copies.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Charles Whiting (1926-2007)

Charles Whiting, best known for his novels under the pen-name Leo Kessler, died on Tuesday, 24 July, aged 80. His total output under various pseudonyms included some 170 novels and 70 non-fiction titles.

Obituaries: The Northern Echo (24 July); BBC News 24 (25 July); Daily Telegraph (26 July), The Guardian (23 August).

The Frat Wagon. London, Jonathan Cape, 1954.
Lest I Fall. London, Jonathan Cape, 1956.
Journey To No End. London, Jonathan Cape, 1957.
The Mighty Fallen. London, Jonathan Cape, 1958.
Kill Patton!. New York, Ballantine, 1974; as by Leo Kessler, Sutton, Severn House, 2003.
Orders to Kill. London, Corgi, 1974.
The Destroyers series:
__Operation Afrika. London, Sphere 9083-2, 1974; Los Angeles, Pinnacle 220757, 1975.
__Operation Stalag. London, Sphere 9084-0, 1974; Los Angeles, Pinnacle, 1976.
__Operation Caucasian Fox. London, Sphere 9085-9, 1974; as Operation Fox Hunt, Los Angeles, Pinnacle, 1977.
__Operation Il Duce. London, Sphere 9086-7, 1974.
__Operation Kill Ike. London, Sphere 9087-5, 1975
__Operation Werewolf. London, Sphere 9088-3, 1975.
T-Force series:
__The Big Breakout. London, Sphere 9091-3, 1976.
__Massacre at Metz. London, Sphere 9092-1, 1976.
__Highway Through Hell. London, Sphere 9094-8, 1976.
__The Last Mission. London, Sphere 9095-6, 1976.
Spymaster series:
__#1: Wolfhunt. London, Futura, 1977.
__#2: Doublecross. London, Futura 7463-3, 1977.
Bugles at Dawn. London, Century, 1990.
Sabres in the Sun. London, Century, 1991.
The Baltic Run. Sutton, Severn House, 1993.
In Turkish Waters. Sutton, Severn House, 1994.
Death on the Rhine (Common Smith). Sutton, Severn House, 1994.
Passage in Petrograd (Common Smith). Sutton, Severn House, 1995.
Death Trap (Common Smith). Sutton, Severn House, 1996.
The Japanese Princess (Common Smith). Sutton, Severn House, 1996.
Hell’s Angels (Common Smith). Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
S.A.S. series:
__#1: The Balkan Chase. Sutton, Severn House, 1999.

Novels as Richard Douglas
The Rig. London, Futura 7189-8, 1975.

Novels as Duncan Harding
Tug of War (December 22nd-December 31st 1941). London, Futura, 1975.
Torpedo Boat. London, Futura, 1976.
The Destroyer series:
__#1: Flotilla Attack. London, Futura, 1976.
__#2: Operation Chariot. London, Futura, 1977.
Come Hell or Highwater!. Sutton, Severn House, 1993.
Attack New York!. Sutton, Severn House, 1994.
Operation Judgement. Sutton, Severn House, 1994.
The Tobruk Rescue. Sutton, Severn House, 1995.
Operation Stormwind. Sutton, Severn House, 1996.
Assault on St. Nazaire. Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
Sink the Ark Royal. Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
Sink the Graf Spee. Sutton, Severn House, 1998.
Sink the Prince of Wales. Sutton, Severn House, 1998.
Special Boat Squadron series:
__#1: The Finland Mission. Sutton, Severn House, 1999.
__The Normandie Mission. Sutton, Severn House, 2000.
Sink the Scharnhorst. Sutton, Severn House, 1999.
Sink the Bismarck. Sutton, Severn House, 2001.
Sink the Hood. Sutton, Severn House, 2000.
Sink HMS Cossack. Sutton, Severn House, 2001.
Sink HMS Kelly. Sutton, Severn House, 2002.
Sink the Warspite. Sutton, Severn House, 2002.
Slaughter in Singapore. Sutton, Severn House, 2003.
Hell on the Rhine. Sutton, Severn House, 2003.
Ramps Down, Troops Away. Sutton, Severn House, 2004.
Clash in the Baltic. Sutton, Severn House, 2004.
Operation Torch. Sutton, Severn House, 2005.
Convoy of Death. Sutton, Severn House, 2005.
Assault on the Rock. Sutton, Severn House, 2006.
Massacre at Jutland. Sutton, Severn House, 2006.
Prepared to Die. Sutton, Severn House, 2007.

Novels as Ian Harding
Assault Troop series:
__#1: Blood Beach. London, New English Library, 1983.
__#2: Death in the Forest. Sevenoaks, New English Library, 1983.
__#3: Clash on the Rhine. Sevenoaks, New English Library, 1984.
__#4: End Run. London, New English Library, 1984.

Novels as Leo Kessler
Assault Regiment Wotan series:
__#1: SS Panzer Battalion. London, Futura 7003-4, 1974.
__#2: Death’s Head. London, Futura 7048-4, 1974.
__#3: Claws of Steel. London, Futura 7097-2, 1974.
__#4: Guns at Cassino. London, Futura 7101-4, 1975.
__#5: The Devil’s Shield. London, Futura 7149-9, 1975.
__#6: Hammer of the Gods. London, Futura 7204-5, 1975.
__#7: Forced March. London, Futura 7358-0, 1976.
__#8: Blood and Ice. London, Futura 7483-8, 1977.
__#9: The Sand Panthers. London, Futura 7576-1, 1977.
__#10: Counter-Attack. London, Futura 1349-6, 1978.
__#11: Panzer Hunt. London, Futura ????-?, 1978?; 1520-0, 1979.
__#12: Slaughter Ground. London, Futura, 1978?
__#13: Hellfire. London, Futura 1391-7, 1978
__#14: Flashpoint. London, Futura, 1981?
__#15: Cauldron of Blood. London, Futura, 1981.
__#16: Schirmer’s Headhunters. London, Futura 2063-8, 1981
__#17: Whores of War. London, Futura 2237-1, 1982.
__#18: Schirmer’s Death Legion. London, Futura 2246-0, 1983.
__#1: Death Ride. London, Century, 1985; as Wotan #19, London, Futura 2637-7, 1985.
__#2: Slaughter at Salerno. London, Century, 1985; as Wotan #20, London, Futura 2660-1, 1985.
__#3: March or Die. London, Century, 1985; as Wotan #21, London, Futura 2662-8, 1985.
__#4: The Outcasts. London, Century, 1986; as Wotan #22, London, Futura 3646-1, 1988.
__#5: The Hess Assault. London, Century, 1987.
__#6: The March on Warsaw. London, Century, 1988.
Black Cossacks series:
__#1: The Black Cossacks. London, Futura 7254-1, 1975.
__#2: Sabres of the Reich. London, Futura 7387-4, 1976.
__#3: Mountain of Skulls. London, Futura 7525-7, 1978.
The Traitors. London, Futura, 1977.
Wolf. London, Futura 1318-6, 1978.
Stormtroop series:
__#1: Storm Troop. London, Futura 7550-8, 1978.
__#2: Blood Mountain. London, Futura 1330-5, 1978.
__#3: Valley of the Assassins [advertised as Operation Long Knife]. London, Futura 1485-9, 1979.
__#4: Red Assault. London, Futura 1601-0, 1979.
__#5: Himmler’s Gold. London, Futura 1843-9, 1980.
__#6: Fire Over Kabul. London, Futura 2223-1, 1982.
__#7: Wave of Terror. London, Futura 2300-9, 1983.
__#8: Eagles in the Snow. London, Futura 2355-6, 1983.
__#9: Fire Over Africa. London, Futura 2480-3, 1984.
Rommel series:
__Ghost Division. London, Futura, 1978.
__Massacre. London, Futura 1699-1, 1979.
Foreign Legion series:
__Hellfire. London, Futura 1391-7, 1978.
Breakthrough (novelisation of movie). London, Futura 1659-2, 1979.
The Sea Wolves series:
__#1: Sink the Scharnhorst!. London, Futura 1060-3, 1981.
__#2: Death to the Deutschland. London, Futura, 1982.
Submarine series:
__#1: The Wolf Pack. London, Century, 1985.
__#2: Operation Death Watch. London, Century, 1985.
__#3: Convoy to Catastrophe. London, Century, 1986.
__#4: Fire in the West. London, Century, 1986.
__#5: Flight to the Reich. London, Century, 1987.
S.S. Stuka Squadron series:
__#1: The Black Knights. London, Corgi 12216-5, 1983.
__#2: Hawks of Death. London, Corgi 12285-8, 1983.
__#3: Tank-Busters!. London, Corgi 12407-9, 1984.
__#4: Blood Mission. London, Corgi 12408-7, 1984.
The Black Knights, Hawks of Death (omnibus). London, Pan, 1986.
Otto Stahl series
__#1: Otto’s Phoney War. London, Futura, 1981.
__#2: Otto’s Blitzkrieg!. London, Futura, 1982.
__#3: Otto and the Reds. London, Futura 2196-0, 1982.
__#4: Otto an the Yanks. London, Futura 2313-0, 1983.
__#5: Otto and the SS. London, Futura 2376-9, 1983
__#6: Otto and the Himmler Love Letters. London, Futura 2561-3, 1984.
Rebel series
__#1: Cannon Fodder. London, Century, 1986.
__#2: The Die-Hards. London, Century, 1987.
__#3: Death Match. London, Century, 1988.
__#4: Breakout. London, Century, 1988.
S.S. Wotan series:
__#1 Assault on Baghdad. Wallington, Severn House, 1992.
__#2 Flight from Moscow. Wallington, Severn House, 1992.
__#3 Fire Over Serbia. Wallington, Severn House, 1993.
__#4 The Hitler Werewolf Murders. Sutton, Severn House, 1994.
__#5 Flight from Berlin. Sutton, Severn House, 1995.
__#6 Breakout from Stalingrad. Sutton, Severn House, 1995.
__The Wotan Mission. Sutton, Severn House, 1996.
__Death from Arctic Skies. Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
__Operation Fury. Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
__Death’s Eagles. Sutton, Severn House, 1998.
__Stalag Assault. Sutton, Severn House, 2000.
__Hitler Youth Attacks!. Sutton, Severn House, 2004.
__Operation Iraq. Sutton, Severn House, 2004.
__Operation Leningrad. Sutton, Severn House, 2005.
__The Reich Flies the Flag. Sutton, Severn House, 2006.
The Churchill Papers. Sutton, Severn House, 1998.
Patton’s Wall. Sutton, Severn House, 1999.
Battle for Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. Sutton, Severn House, 2000.
Operation Glenn Miller. Sutton, Severn House, 2001.
The Great Escape. Sutton, Severn House, 2002.
Murder at Colditz. Sutton, Severn House, 2002.
Sirens of Dunkirk. Sutton, Severn House, 2003.
The Blackout Murders. Sutton, Severn House, 2004.
Monty's Fight for Victory. Sutton, Severn House, 2006.
Rommel's Last Battle. Sutton, Severn House, 2006.

Novels as John Kerrigan
The Phoenix Assault. London, Arrow Books, 1980; New York, Signet, Dec 1980; as The Bormann Mission by Leo Kessler, Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
SBS series:
__#1: Fireball. London, Arrow Books, 1983.
__#2: Bluebeard. London, Arrow Books, 1984.
__#3: Vermin. London, Arrow Books, 1984.
__#4: Watchdog. London, Century, 1984.
The O’Sullivans of the SAS series:
__Kill Rommel. Sutton, Severn House, 1995.
__#2: Surprise Attack. Sutton, Severn House, 1996.
__#3: Revenge!. Severn House, 1996.

Novels as Klaus Konrad
Russian series:
__#1: First Blood. London, Futura, 1980.
__#2: March on Moscow. London, Futura, 1981.
__#3: Front Swine. London, Futura 2197-9, 1982.

Novels as K.N. Kostov
Punishment Battalion 333 series
__#1: The Gulag Rats. London, Arrow Books, 1981.
__#2: Baptism of Blood. London, Arrow Books, 1981.
__#3: Blood on the Baltic. London, Arrow Books, 1981.
__#4: The Steppe Wolves. London, Arrow Books, 1981.
__#5: Cossack Attack. London, Arrow Books, 1982.

Novels as Duncan Stirling
The Screaming Eagles. London, Arrow Books, 1983; as by Leo Kessler, Sutton Severn House, 2001

Spiegel-Gesprache: An English-German interpreter’s course, with Gerard Gilbertson. London, Longman, 1967.
Decision at St Vith. New York, Ballantine, 1969.
48 Hours to Hammelburg. New York, Ballantine 02450-2066-9, 1970; London, Arrow 919990-4, 1979.
Patton. New York, Ballantine [War Leader Book #1] 02450-2099-5, 1970; London, Pan, 1973.
The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, April 1945. New York, Ballantine [Battle Book #21], 1971 [cy1970]; as by Leo Kessler, London, Leo Cooper, 1989; Chelsea, MI, Scarboroough House, 1990; as by John Kerrigan, Madison Books, n.d.; as Ike’s Last Battle: The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, April 1945 by Charles Whiting, Barnsley, Leo Cooper, 2002.
Bradley. New York, Ballantine [War Leader Book #5] 03450-2288-2, 1971.
Massacre at Malmedy. The story of Joachen Peiper’s battle group, Ardennes, December 1944. London, Leo Cooper, 1971.
Gehlen: Germany’s Master Spy. New York, Ballantine Books, 1972.
Skorzeny. New York, Ballantine [War Leader Book #11] 03450-2617-9, 1972; as Skorzeny: The Most Dangerous Man in Europe, London, Leo Cooper, 1998.
Werewolf. The story of the Nazi Resistance Movement, 1944-1945. London, Leo Cooper, 1972; as Hitler’s Werewolves: the story of the Nazi Resistance Movement, 1944- 1945. New York, Stein & Day, 1972; as SS Werewolf. The story of the Nazi Resistance Movement, 1944-1945, London, Arrow Books, 1982.
Canaris. New York, Ballantine Books, 1973.
The End of the War: Europe: April 15-May 23 1945. New York, Stein & Day, 1973.
Finale at Flensburg: the story of Field-Marshal Montgomery’s battle for the Baltic. London, Leo Cooper, 1973.
The Hunt for Martin Bormann. New York, Ballantine, 1973; revised as The Hunt for Martin Bormann: The Truth, London, Leo Cooper, Oct 1996.
The War in the Shadows. New York, Ballantine, 1973.
A Bridge at Arnheim. London, Futura 0-8600-7121-9, 1974.
Hunters from the Sky: the history of the German Parachute Regiment, 1940-1945. New York, Stein & Day, 1974; London, Leo Cooper, 1975.
The Battle for Twelveland: an account of Anglo-American intelligence operations within Nazi Germany, 1939-1945. London, Leo Cooper, 1975; as The Spymasters: the true story of Anglo-American intelligence within Nazi Germany, 1939-1945. New York, Saturday Review Press, 1976.
Bloody Aachen. London, Leo Cooper, 1976; New York, Stein & Day, 1976.
The Iron Fist. The story of the S.S. Panzer Divisions between 1943-1945 (as Leo Kessler). London, Futura 7487-0, 1977.
Paul Valery. London, Athlone, Press, 1978.
Death of a Division. London, Leo Cooper, 1979; New York, Stein & Day, 1980.
The Great York Airraid. The Baedecker bombing attack on York, April 29th 1942, illustrative material by Eric Taylor. Clapham, N. Yorkshire, Dalesman, 1979.
Yorkshire at War. The story of fighting Yorkshire at home and abroad, 1939-1945, with Eric Taylor. Clapham, N. Yorkshire, Dalesman, 1980.
The Home Front: Germany. Alexandria, VA, Time-Life Books, 1982.
Siegfried: The Nazi’s Last Stand. New York, Stein & Day, 1982; London, Leo Cooper, 1983.
’44: In Combat on the Western Front from Normandy to the Ardennes. London, Century, 1984; New York, Stein & Day, 1984.
Ardennes: The Secret War. London, Century, 1984; New York, Stein & Day, 1985.
First Blood: The Battle of the Kasserine Pass 1943. London, Leo Cooper/Secker & Warburg, 1984; as Kasserine: The Battlefield Slaughter of American Troops by Rommel’s Afrika Korps, New York, Military Heritage Press, 1984.
‘45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic. London, Century, 1985.
Bounce the Rhine. [cy1985]; New York, Stein & Day, 1986; London, Grafton, 1987.
Britain Under Fire: The Bombing of Britain’s Cities 1940-1945. London, Century, 1986.
Operation Northwind: The Unknown Battle of the Bulge. London, Leo Cooper/Secker & Warburg, 1986; as The Other Battle of the Bulge: Operation Northwind, Chelsea, MI, Scarborough House, 1990.
SS Peiper: The life and Death of SS Colonel Jochen Peiper (as Leo Kessler), London, Leo Cooper/Secker & Warburg, 1986; as Joachen Peiper: Battle Commander, SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler by Charles Whiting, Barnsley, Leo Cooper, 1999.
The York Blitz, 1942: The Baedeker Raid on York, April 29th 1942 (as Leo Kessler), with Eric Taylor. York, William Sessions, 1986.
The Long March on Rome: The Forgotten War. London, Century, 1987.
Patton’s Last Battle. New York, Stein & Day, 1987.
Poor Bloody Infantry. London, Stanley Paul, 1987.
The Three Star Blitz: The Baedecker Raids and the Start of Total War, 1942-1943. London, Leo Cooper, 1987.
The Battle of Hurtgen Forrest: the untold story of a disastrous campaign. London, Leo Cooper, 1989; New York, Orion Books, 1989.
The Last Battle: Montgomery’s Campaign April-May 1945. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wilts., Crowood, 1989; as Monty’s Greatest Victory: The Drive for the Baltic, April 1945, Barnsley, Leo Cooper, 2002.
Hero: The Life and Death of Audie Murphy. Chelsea, MI, Scarborough House, 1990; as American Hero: The Life and Death of Audie Murphy. York, Eskdale Publications, 2000.
Papa Goes to War: Ernest Hemingway in Europe, 1944-45. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wilts., Crowood, 1990; as Hemingway Goes to War, Stroud, Sutton, 1999.
Betrayal at Venlo: the secret story of appeasement and treachery, 1939-45 (as Leo Kessler). London, Leo Cooper, 1991.
Warriors of Death: The Final Battles of Hitler’s Private Bodyguards, 1944-45. London, Arrow, 1991.
The March on London: Covert Operations in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944. London, Leo Cooper, 1992; Conshohocken, PA, Pen & Sword Books, Jul 1996.
Slaughter Over Sicily: Airborne Massacre. London, Leo Cooper, 1992.
The Fighting Tykes: an informal history of the Yorkshire regiments in the Second World War, with Eric Taylor. London, Leo Cooper, 1993.
The Last Assault: The Battle of the Bulge Reassessed. London, Leo Cooper, 1994; New York, Sarpedon, 1994.
Kommando: Hitler’s Special Forces in the Second World War (by Leo Kessler). London, Leo Cooper, 1995.
Death on a Distant Frontier. A lost victory, 1944. London, Leo Cooper, 1996; New York, Sarpedon, 1996.
Paths of Death and Glory: The War in Europe, January-May 1945. Sutton, Severn House, 1997.
Bloody Breman: Ike’s Last Battle. London, Leo Cooper, 1998.
The Battle of the Bulge: The Untold Story. Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 1999.
Battleground Korea: The British in Korea. Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 1999.
Forgotten Army: U.S. 7th Army. Rockville Centre, NY, Sarpedon, 1999; as America's Forgotten Army: The Story of the U.S. Seventh, New York, St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2001.
Heydrich: Henchman of Death. Barnsley, Leo Cooper, 1999.
West Wall: The Battle for Hitler’s Siegfried Line, September 1944-March 1945. Staplehurst, Spellmount, 1999.
Hitler’s Secret War: The Nazi Espionage Campaign Against the Allies. London, Leo Cooper, 2000.
The Search for ‘Gestapo’ Müller: The Man Without a Shadow. Barnsley, Leo Cooper, 2000.
Decision at St. Vith. Staplehurst, Spellmount, 2001; Havertown, PA, Casemate, 2002.
American Eagles: The 101st Airborne’s Assault on Fortress Europe, 1944-45. York, Eskdale, 2001.
Ghost Front: The Ardennes before the Battle of the Bulge. New York, Da Capo Press, 2002.
The Field Marshal's Revenge. The breakdown of a special relationship. Staplehurst, Kent, Spellmount, 2004.
Target Eisenhower: Military and Politial Assassination in WWII. Staplehurst, Kent, Spellmount, 2005.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The War Libraries

Just heard from Geoff West, our publisher at The Book Palace, that the War Libraries volume is due to arrive the UK on 18 August. You can pre-order the book through The Book Palace and the book is also available through Amazon.

The photo shows copies of the book hot off the printing press.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Redeye delayed

Just received this press release from the publishers of Redeye magazine, one of the few British comics fanzines around. It's a good magazine. Not everything in it was my cup of tea but for the most part it was excellent: substantial interviews, unfussy layout, good value for money. If you think you can help, there are links in the press release to follow.
Originally scheduled for release in May, the critically acclaimed REDEYE 7 has been hit with a number of delays, which has lead to a restructuring of the entire magazine, and a rethink on how best to produce a regular publication promoting Brit comics.

Says editor and publisher Barry Renshaw: "I'm trying something new: RE7 will now become REDEYE WINTER 2007 SPECIAL. Double sized, it will serve as a bookend to the first volume. I think all the contributors have done some fantastic work they can be very proud of over the last few years, but without the financing to pay them, it's not fair to expect them to be working all hours to send stuff in. And although we sell out of each print run, without the initial investment to push it beyond several hundred copies at a time, we won't be able to get the mag in front of as many people as we know would want to read it."

With mounting costs of print bills, convention costs and postage charges as demand grows for the magazine, there comes a point when one have to step back and decide in what direction the project should go. "It's a fact of life that the major problem facing comics in the UK is finance, a way to make it pay for itself," states Barry. "What I intend doing, in the 18 month long break between REDEYE Vol 1 and Vol 2, is to establish a business model that will not only serve to make REDEYE a success, but also one that can be adopted and adapted by other publishers. As a companion piece almost to the Rough Guide out in October at the Birmingham Comics Festival, I'll be looking at any grants, government or arts council funding, private investing and advertising/marketing that can be used by Brit comics. The results, positive or negative, I hope will be a shortcut to success for other people."

In the meantime to get the REDEYE WINTER 2007 SPECIAL to the printers, the editor is looking for help. "I'm asking for donations to help make the magazine to print, putting a request out on MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, blogs and message boards. I'll be adding a Paypal Donate button to www.enginecomics.co.uk with the next update. The donations will go towards not just the printing but the running costs of distribution, conventions and postage. If it doesn't hit the required figure by October, the content will instead be published on the web in December. Subscribers will recieve a refund at that point in October for any unpublished issues, and the REDEYE subscriber button will be taken down shortly from the site."

To give a taste of what will be in the Special, the magazine will expand on its normal mix of interviews and articles on creators old and new. "Behind a fantastic wrap around cover by Malcolm Magic artist Lorenzo, we have a great interview with the Brothers Etherington on their new MOON! series; we also speak with New York cartoonist Liz Baillie, creator of My Brain Hurts; the Godfather of modern British Comics, Pat Mills, in an uncut, epic face to face interview done over two days; the creator of Matter, Irish cartoonist now living in Canada Phill Barrett; and inventor of the Ultranet and Book of Lists, Paul Rainey; plus a few surprises. We also have an article on the Secret History of Irish Comix; Dave Baillie's instructive Grammar of Comics; a retrospective on the much loved Transformers Marvel UK comic; and we investigate the creation of LOOK AND LEARN, the highly influential 1960's comic soon to make a comeback."

Reviews will continue to be published at the Owl in Daylight blog, which will be updated again very shortly, so you can still send review copies to the same editorial address. "In addition to this," adds Barry, "I'm planning more reviews the Indiespinnerrack podcast and a channel on youTube looking at Brit creators. By using these other mediums as alternate forms of marketing, we can help fulfill REDEYE's original mandate of introducing people to great comics. REDEYE SPECIAL will be the best of the bunch, and it's best to go out on a high note. I hope everyone else will think so too."

"This magazine is a must have... you’ve got to be picking up REDEYE." AINTITCOOL.COM
"Never fails to impress." SFX MAGAZINE

For further information or images on REDEYE or Engine Comics titles, contact editor Barry Renshaw at editor@enginecomics.co.uk.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Comic Clippings - 22 July

The Guardian (21 July) carries a piece entitled 'Why Do I Cry?' by Ian Sansom which is actually about The Children's Newspaper, founded by Arthur Mee and now being randomly serialised (kind of) on the Look and Learn website where we've been posting one issue a day for the past few months. The site has just been updated, adding a nice new Picture Show feature and a page about The Bumper Book of Look and Learn. And the Picture Gallery is now up to 18,212 images. Phew!

Since Leo Baxendale (via the Forbidden Planet International blog) has already let the cat out of the bag, the BBC4 Comics Britannia series is to be broadcast during September. Leo is featured on an episode that will focus on D. C. Thomson's Dandy and Beano which is due to be broadcast in the week beginning September 10 (subject to confirmation).

The Albion Origins book from Titan will have a slightly redesigned cover when it appears -- the logo has been changed to match that of the original Albion series.

Not much news to add from here. I'm kinda stalled on the next Fleetway Libraries book at the moment so I've been getting a head start on the next Trigan Empire book. Some classic stories will be appearing in this one including a couple of my favourites -- one where Trigo and a small group of Trigans seek the lost city of Dorana and another where a young gambler becomes Dictator over the Empire. The other three stories are just as good. The book won't be out until next year but I like to keep myself busy!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wyndham Martyn - biographical notes

Trying to resolve the mysteries surrounding the origins of the author known as Wyndham Martyn is still ongoing and now has some of the finest minds in literary detection working on it. John Herrington sent me some additional material from which I have made an attempt to work out some kind of timeline for Martyn's career. There are two main sources of information, both located I believe by Victor Berch.

First up, Martyn's entry in the volume Who's Who Among North American Authors:

Martyn, William (pen name William Grenvil); mining engineer; b. London, Eng. July 1875; son of Richard Wyndham and Clarice (Camplyn) Martyn; educ. Oxford, London, and Brusselles School of Mines and London College of Assaying. Degrees: M.A., M.E.; married Amy Elizabeth Stanley, June 1901. Contributor to Cosmopolitan, Red Book, Hearst's International, Liberty, Munsey's, Everybody's. Editor of New Yorker (1906).

I'm reasonably sure that some of this information is false. For instance, there's no record of an Amy Elizabeth Stanley being married in the UK in June 1901, but there is for the second (June) quarter of 1900 (ref. Marriages: Jun 1900, Strand 1b 1154) -- to William Henry M. Hosken. As we will discover shortly, the Hosken's moved to America in around 1904/05, by which time they had a young daughter Phylis -- almost certainly Phyllis Barbara Hosken born in 1903 (ref. Births: Dec 1903, Kingston 2a 465).

According to an interview that appeared in the Boston Daily Globe Martyn was, at the time (1912), "making his home in and around Boston." Please note that the copy I have seen was a PDF of a scan of a microfilm copy and it is a little difficult to read in places. Uncertain words are indicated [thus], whilst my own comments appear [[thus]]. In the interview, Martyn reveals that...

"As an English lad of 5 I wrote a hymn which has fortunately not survived. When I was 11 and at a preparatory school getting ready for examination for the Royal Navy (which I never entered owing to illness), I lampooned an older boy in verse. Lacking proper appreciation of my juvenilesque satire, he knocked a tooth out. I fled early for the profession of letters.

"A dozen years later I was staying in Germany and had many instances of the absurdity of militarism brought to my notice. I wrote an article in a London review about it and received 17 challenges to duels on that account..."

[[If we have our timeline correct, this would have been at around the age of 23 and the article would have appeared around 1897/98.]]

"It was a few years later when one fine morning I found that a defaulting lawyer and a bank that failed had brought my finances to a parlous state. I tossed up to see whether I should go to Australia or New York. America was heads, and won. From New York I went westward. Here I fell in with a professional partner who said he had made his pile in horses and wanted to retire. he gave me chloral hydrate in abominable whiskey and retired as he desired to do. When I could not ride the top of cars I walked back to New York.

"It took a long while and I engaged in new professions en route. I punched cows for $35 a month for one thing and talked yegg philosophy with fellow voyagers. There was one man, now dead -- he was shot robbing a post-office -- who wanted me to aid him in confidence games in Chicago.

"I was to enact the star role, and he was most grieved when I declined...

[[In our timeline, this would appear to have been around 1904/05.]]

"When, finally, I was back in New York, I brought of letters of introduction given me by a delightful American-Consul in Europe to some New York editors. They did not, nowever, procure me a high-salaried position, but they turned my mind to literary pursuits again and I began to write. I think doggerel verses brought me my first money. Then the editor and publisher of a popular magazine, who has been a very good friend to me, bought stories. I also sold big game stories while the [taste?] and finally after much tribulation found my feet.

[[The earliest traced of Martyn's stories began appearing in Pearson's Magazine in April 1906 under the name W. H. G. Wyndham Martyn. This was the American edition of the famous British magazine but also included new material. The publisher was J. J. Little of New York and the editor thought to be Arthur W. Little.]]

"I have been from time to time connected with newspapers, but it is toward fiction that I have [again?] turned, and like all novelists I feel that the drama needs me.

[[Victor Berch has traced an unpublished play registered in the Catalog of Copyrights: The Upbringing of Eleanor in 3 acts, copyrighted August 3, 1910. At the time, Martyn gave his address as Edgewater, New Jersey.]]

"My publishers have announced 'All the World to Nothing' is my [first] novel. They did it in good faith. [But it] really is my third. The first is a blood-curdling story of political intrigue in the Balkan States. Under what name it was written or the title shall never be revealed. Even [my innocent?] children have never seen it. My second book, 'The Man Outside' received the fleeting glory of a best seller..."

The article also notes that Martyn was married to an accomplished musician and had two children.

Martyn's sojourn to Boston may have had some connection with the sale of his book to Boston-based publisher Little, Brown who published two of his books in 1912-14. However, Martyn had a letter printed in Time magazine on December 27, 1943, where it was noted that Martyn was the editor of Pearson's Magazine in 1915. So it would seem that he had returned to New York/New Jersey by then. Also worth noting is that Arthur W. Little was the credited editor of Pearson's until Frank Harris took over (with the September 1916 issue). J. J. Little remained the publisher until the title folded in April 1925.

According to his registration card he was living at Windermere Avenue, Interlaken, Monmouth County, New Jersey, in September 1918. At that time he was working as an editor for Warner Pub. Co. This card gives his date of birth as July 6, 1875, and his next of kin as Amy Martyn.

Wyndham Martyn appears in the 1920 US census living at 210 Windermere Avenue (the search facility of Ancestry.com is terrible when it comes to hand-written records which is why I didn't find him until Victor Berch pointed out where to look). It records the author as being 45 years of age, his wife (Elizabeth) was 39, and he had two daughters, Phylis (16) and Cynthia (13). Phylis was born in England (c.1903) whilst Cynthia was born in New Jersey (c.1906). Cynthia can also be found in the 1930 census -- 23-year-old Cynthia V. Martyn, lodging in Santa Monica where she worked as a teacher in a private school. Phylis was, I believe born Phyllis Barbara Hosken (see above).

Immigration records from 1933, previously cited, note that Wyndham and Amy Martyn were living in Santa Monica by that time. The letter from Wyndham printed in Time magazine (1943) was also from Santa Monica.

Victor, again, used Martyn's long connection with California to come up with a strong suspect in California's death records which list one Grenvil W. Martyn, born in England on July 6, 1874, who died on March 15, 1963, in Los Angeles. His mother's maiden name was listed as Camplin.

What can we conclude from all this? First, that Wyndham Martyn was flexible with his name. He writes as W. H. G. Wyndham Martyn and as William Grenvil. His death is registered as Grenvil W. Martyn. We've already established that his mother's maiden name was not Camplyn (with a 'y' and there is no Clarice Camplin (with an 'i') mentioned in any available birth/death/marriage or census record. The W. H. originally used for writing seems to me to be a clue that he was born William Henry M. Hosken (whose mother's maiden name was Campling). Backing this up is the fact that Hosken was born in the third quarter of 1874 (which ties in with his birth date as registered at the time of his death; note, too, that both Grenvil W. Martyn and Wyndham Martyn were born on July 6). William Hosken was married to an Amy Elizabeth Stanley, as was "Wyndham Martyn", there was a Phyllis Hosken born in the UK at the time when "Phylis Martyn" is said to be born.

Remember also Hosken's literary relatives: Ernest Charles Heath Hosken, William's cousin, was a writer (as Heath Hosken) and John Herrington has pointed out that Ernest's younger brother, Clifford James Wheeler Hosken (1882-1950), was also a writer under his own name and the pen-name Richard Keverne.

From Martyn's own admission, we know that he had some financial troubles (which he blames on "a defaulting lawyer and a bank that failed") which may have caused him to flee the country under a false name. So far no records of him leaving the UK or arriving in America have been found, but I think the evidence is stacking up that Wyndham Martyn was really William Hosken.

Novels (series: Christopher Bond; Anthony Trent)
The Man Outside, illus. C. M. Relyea (serial as 'John Paget's Progress'). New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1910.
All the World to Nothing, illus. H. H. Leonard. Boston, Little, Brown & Co., 1912; London, Sampson Low, 1913.
Under Cover by Roi Cooper Megrue, novelized by Wyndham Martyn, illus. William Kirkpatrick. Boston, Little, Brown & Co., 1914; London, Jarrolds, 1917.
Anthony Trent, Master Criminal (Trent). New York, Moffatt, Yard & Co., 1918; London, Herbert Jenkins, 1922 [1921]; abridged, , Dublin, Mellifont Press, 1942.
The Secret of the Silver Car (Trent). New York, Moffatt, Yard & Co., 1920; London, Herbert Jenkins, 1922.
The Mysterious Mr. Garland (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1923 [1922].
The Return of Anthony Trent (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1923; New York & Newark, N.J., Barse & Hopkins, c.1925.
The Bathurst Complex. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1924; as The Murder in Beacon Street, New York, R. M. McBride & Co., 1930.
The Recluse of Fifth Avenue. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1925; New York, R. M. McBride & Co., 1929.
Trent of the Lone Hand (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1927.
Anthony Trent: Avenger (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1928.
The Triumphant Prodigal. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1928.
The Death Fear (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1929; New York, R. M. McBride & Co., 1929.
Murder Island (Trent). New York, R. M. McBride & Co., 1928; London, Herbert Jenkins, 1929.
The Social Storming. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1930.
The Trent Trail (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1930; New York, R. M. McBride & Co., 1930.
The Scarlett Murder (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1931.
Christopher Bond, Adventurer (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1933.
The Great Ling Plot (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1933.
Death by the Lake (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1934.
The Spies of Peace (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1934.
Criminals All (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1935.
Nightmare Castle (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1935.
The Denmede Mystery (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1936.
The House of Secrets (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1936.
The Blue Ridge Crime (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1937.
The Old Manor Crime (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1937.
The Marrowby Myth (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1938.
Murder Walks the Deck (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1938.
Noonday Devils (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1939.
Trent Fights Again (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1939.
Capture (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1940.
The Ghost City Killings (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1940.
The Headland House Affair (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1941.
Shadow Agent (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1941.
Men Without Faces (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1943.
Cairo Crisis (Bond). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1945.
The Last Scourge (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1946.
Stones of Enchantment (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1948.
Manhunt in Murder (Trent). London, Herbert Jenkins, 1950; New York, Roy Publishers, 1958?.
The Chromium Cat (Bond). London, Jenkins, 1952.

Novels as William Grenvil
The Mutiny of the Albatross. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1923.
The Man from the Desert, and other stories. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1924.

Short Stories as Croydon Heath
The Terror of the Rats (The Thrill Book, 15 Aug-1 Sep 1919)
Dregs of Fate (Action Stories, Sep 1921; reprinted Hutchinson's Adventure-Story Magazine, Oct 1922)

Short Stories as W. H. G. Wyndham
The Conversion of Dad (Pearson's Magazine (US), Apr 1906)
The Fairies and the Babies (poem; Pearson's Magazine (US), Apr 1906)
The Triumph of the Twins (Pearson's Magazine (US), May 1906)
The Capture of the Ideal (Pearson's Magazine (US), Jun 1906)
When the Toys Wake Up (Pearson's Magazine (US), Sep 1906)
The Fight for the Black Box (Pearson's Magazine (US), Jun 1907)
The Man Who Was Afraid (Pearson's Magazine (US), Jul 1907)
The Sunset Lady (poem; Pearson's Magazine (US), Jul 1907)
By Mere Chance (Pearson's Magazine (US), Aug 1907)
The Millionaire Who Couldn't Ride (Pearson's Magazine (US), Oct 1907)
Some Reflections of a Serious Child (poem; Pearson's Magazine (US), Dec 1908)

Short Stories as Wyndham Martyn
The Amorous Burglar (Pearson's Magazine (US), Jan 1913)
Extra Talent (Pearson's Magazine (US), Jun 1915)
The Weather Vane (Pearson's Magazine (US), Nov 1915)
Bill Snyder, Elephant Man (Pearson's Magazine (US), Feb 1916)
Finger Prints adn Inspector Faurot (Pearson's Magazine (US), Mar 1916)
Oscar of the Waldorf (Pearson's Magazine (US), Apr 1916)
Elsie Ferguson, Actress (Pearson's Magazine (US), May 1916)
Wonderful New York (article; Pearson's Magazine (US), Jun 1916)
Concerning Clowns (Pearson's Magazine (US), Jul 1916)
Factors (The Smart Set, Nov 1916)
The Old Marquis (The Smart Set, Nov 1916)
Celestial Crowns (The Smart Set, Dec 1916)
Youth's Call (The Smart Set, Jan 1917)
Lesbia's Eyes (The Smart Set, Feb 1917)
E.D. (The Smart Set, Mar 1917)
The Constant Pilgrim (The Smart Set, Sep 1917)
Trial Balances and the One Girl (People's Favourite Magazine, Oct 1919)
Samuel Perkins, Unable Mariner (Everybody's Magazine, Apr 1921)
The Man from the Desert (Action Stories, Sep 1921)
Larry's Last Job (Action Stories, Oct 1921)
The Garden of Tortures (Action Stories, Feb 1922)
Behind the Walls of Fog, with Henry Noel Potter (Action Stories, Apr 1922)
Life, Liberty and -- (Everybody's Magazine, Dec 1922)
The Bathurst Complex (serial; Munsey's, May-Sep 1923)
Garland the Great (Argosy All-Story Weekly, 16 Jun 1923)
Desert Dust (Illustrated Novelets, Mar 1924)
London Larry's Last Coup (Triple-X, Nov 1924)
What the Gray House Hid (serial; Munsey's, Jan-Mar 1925)
The Baited Trap (serial; Flynn's, 11 Apr-2 May 1925)
The Recluse of Fifth Avenue (Everybody's Magazine, May 1925)
The Silent Sentence (Clues, Jan 1927)
The Fourth Sentence (Hutchinson's Adventure & Mystery Story Magazine, Jun 1928)
The Sporting Chance (Cosmopolitan, Jan 1930)
The Ju Ju Diamond (Jungle Stories, Sum 1942; reprinted Jungle Stories, Win 1951)
The River of Death (Action Stories, Aug 1942)
White Man's Code (Action Stories, Fall 1942)
The Two Rogues (Jungle Stories, Win 1942)
The White Gorilla-King (Jungle Stories, Apr 1943)
Lutembe the Avenger (Jungle Stories, Win 1943)
The Abstractor (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Aug 1952)

Caught with the Goods (1914) (story)
Number 99 (1920) (based on the story 'One Week-End')
The Star Reporter (1921) (based on the novel The Mysterious Mr. Garland)
The Silver Car (1921) (story as Wyndham Martin, based on the novel The Secret of the Silver Car)
Dangerous Pastime (1922) (story as Wyndham Martin)
The Price of Youth (1922) (story as Wyndham Martin)
Pawns and Queens (1927) (story as by Windham Martyn)

All the World to Nothing (1916, screenplay by Stephen Fox)


Amy Elizabeth Stanley was born in Kensington in 1876 and was living with her widowed mother, Elizabeth, and younger brother, 3-year-old Frederick, in 1881 in Montague Road, Wimbledon. Elizabeth (born in Edinburgh, Scotland) was only 27. There's a Frederick registered as born in Kensington in 1877 which would fit the bill.

I'm taking a wild stab in the dark and will say that her father might be Frederick Stanley who died in Kensington in 1877, aged 34. I would also say that Mrs. Stanley was formerly Elizabeth Groves and the two were married in Kensington in the 2nd quarter 1876. So she was already pregnant with Amy, who was born in the 3rd quarter of the same year.

I believe that, in 1891, Frederick is at East Lynne -- a college? -- at Portsea, Portsmouth, which, if you recall, is where James J. Hosken and his family lived -- indeed, William Henry Hosken is listed as a medical student living with his uncle at 4 Gordon Crescent, Portsea, that same year. He's only 3 years older than Frederick so there's a chance that the two knew each other and it was through her younger brother that William met Amy!

Amy, meanwhile, is a student at Parkfield College in Chipping Norton, Herts., in 1891. Amy married William Henry Hosken in 1900 and, I now believe, subsequently changed her name to Amy Elizabeth Martyn.

Amy (under the name Elizabeth Martyn) and her daughter Phyllis are registered as arriving in New York in 1905, their last permanent address being in Bruges, Belgium. They sailed from Antwerp on October 14 and arrived on October 24 where it was noted that this was their first time in the United States. They were joining W. H. Martyn whose address was given as 88(?) E. 23rd Street, New York. At the moment, it's unknown when Martyn himself travelled to the USA but there was a William Hosken who arrived in New York on October 28, 1904 (but who gave his age as 28 years, 4 months, implying he was born in mid-1876 rather than mid-1874).


From various passenger manifests and official records, it would seem that Phyllis and Cynthia both travelled quite extensively with their mother in their early years. From various sources we have gleaned the following:

Phyllis Barbara Martyn was born on December 12, 1903 and subsequently married Oswald Porter of Santa Monica. She died on June 8, 1983, in Inyo, California.

Cynthia Vivien Martyn, born October 7, 1906 in New Jersey, was also married and her death, on February 10, 1990, is registered in Los Angeles under the name Cynthia Vivien Evans.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wyndham Martyn

Here's a sorry tale that I mention only because I was going to write something tonight but haven't.

I'd just finished watching Mock the Week and thought I'd check my e-mails. There was a message from my mate John Herrington asking about Wyndham Martyn, who was an author and film script writer.

Here's what John told me...

Apparently British born (in London) 6 July 1874 or 1875 (depending on where you look) and the son of Richard Wyndham and Clarice (Camplyn) Martyn (according to his entry in an American writers directory).

Emigrates to America (probably before 1905), married an Amy Elizabeth Stanley in 1901 (no trace of wedding on Freebmd) who might be American. Cannot find him on passenger lists on Findmypast. According to one source, his wife Amy was born circa 1883 and there is an Amy Elizabeth Stanley born in Aston in 1883.

Found his WW1 draft registration, 1918, where he signs as Wyndham Martyn and is living in New York.

... and I was thinking "With that many clues it shouldn't take too long to find something."

I've just spent a whole evening on this and come up with nothing. Actually that's wrong. I did come up with something.

Having spent an hour or so establishing that I couldn't find him or his parents in the UK census records or birth/marriage/death records, I was stuck. In fact, the only thing I had found was that WWI draft registration card that John had already mentioned. It listed Martyn's occupation as an editor with Warner Pub. Co. which might be a clue. The date of registration was September 12, 1918.

So I started writing back to John explaining that I was completely stumped. Unless the Amy Elizabeth Stanley who married James Martin in 1894 was a clue. OK the spelling's wrong, but the guy was a writer of screenplays and everyone in Hollywoodland changed their name! If Wyndham Martyn was naturalized he could have changed from plain old James Martin to something more exotic quite easily.

Then I had a bit of a brainwave and started digging around in the US Census records. After all, we knew from the registration card that Wyndham was employed in New York. And...


Amy Martyn was married to a guy called Charles W. P. Martyn according to the 1910 census. The pair had been married 8 years and lived in Brooklyn. He was English, born in England, and was an author of books. He was about the right age at 35. Had to be the right guy.

I followed Charles and Amy through the next two census records for 1920 and 1930 and picked up lots of information on the way: Charles had immigrated to America in 1899 and was naturalized in 1905. Even better: Charles was listed as a book editor in the 1920 census which tied in with Wyndham Martyn's occupation on his draft card. By then (1920) he had a 3-year-old son, Charles Jr.

So I scrap the first e-mail and write an all new one to John. Yes, I'd been stumped but then I had a brainwave and I think I've found him. His real name was Charles, blah, blah, blah.

Which is when I did a stupid thing and went to see if I could find Charles Jr's WWII registration card. He'd have been in his early twenties and very likely to have signed up. It might just have his parents address on it (as next of kin).

Couldn't find it. What I did find was the WWI registration card for Charles William P. Martyn instead.

Which shows that he was born on August 12, 1874, eleven months before Wyndham Martyn.

I started my e-mail to John all over again: stumped, brainwave, red herring, square one.

And I'm still stumped. Even while I've been writing this I've stopped twice because I think I've found another way of searching the census records. But it hasn't turned up Wyndham Martyn or his wife Amy.

Why even mention this? Because I've had a couple of very nice ego-massaging e-mails today and I thought I'd better get my feet back on the ground by admitting that a lot of the research I do turns up zero information. I get a lot of queries come through every day like the one John sent and I can spend, like tonight, three or four hours finding out absolutely nothing. The reply I send doesn't necessarily reflect the amount of work I've put in. (And this is a good place to say that I can't always reply to everyone immediately; sometimes it can take a week or even a few weeks.)

And, of course, by writing this up I'm hoping that someone will put me out of my misery and come up with something solid on Wyndham Martyn. Someone... please?

Update - 20 July

Jamie Sturgeon has come up with another suspect. "I might be making bricks without straw but this is what I found by looking for a marriage for a Amy Elizabeth Stanley," he says. "I found one in 1900 (OK a year early) in London - In freeBMD two possible male names for the marriage are given. Now one of the names (and for a good reason, the most likely one) was William Henry M. Hosken."

The reason why Jamie has honed in on William Henry M. Hosken is because his parents were William Richard Hosken and Emma Clarissa Hosken (nee Campling). If you remember (and if you did your a better man than I), Wyndham Martyn claimed that his father's name was Richard and his mother's name was Clarice (nee Camplyn)... this is almost too close not to be our man. But I've said that before. Let's see what we can find, eh?

Well, I can trace William's family back a couple of generations to Charles Heath Hosken, a Baptist Minister, born in Hayle, Cornwall, on October 30, 1811, the son of Richard and Sarah Hosken. Charles was married to Louisa Hunt at Saint Bride's, Fleet Street, on 30 September 1836. Soon after, Charles and his wife travelled to Ireland, where their first son, Charles Heath Hosken was born in Clonmell in c.1839. The couple then went to America where three further children were born: James Jabez (c.1842), Louisa Barbara (c.1844) and William Richard (c.1847).

The family returned to the UK in the 1850s and settled in Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, where Charles became the Principal of a boarding school, employing Charles, James and Louisa as tutors. In the 1860s, Charles and Louisa had moved to Norwich, Norfolk, where Charles was again employed as a Baptist Minister. He remained in Norwich until his death in 1892. Charles Jr. married Harriet Ann Newman in Norwich in 1870 and became a Managing Clerk, again remaining in Norwich until he died in 1893.

James became a Chief Clerk with the Post Office in Norwich, having married Anne Elizabeth Nash in 1868. He and his family subsequently moved to Portsmouth, Hampshire, where he worked as a Superintendant for a company. James died in 1908.

Louisa married in 1865 and, as Louisa Barbara Bane, died in Portsmouth in 1903.

William Richard Hosken, meanwhile, had married Emma Clarissa Campling (born in Norwich in 1850) in 1872 and took work as a Manager for a tea dealer in Norwich. Their daughter, Ethel May was born in 1873, followed by William Henry M. Hosken in 1874, also born in Norwich.

William and Emma moved to Thanet, Kent, in the 1880s where they died in 1885 and 1887 respectively.

Their son, William Henry become a medical student and, at the time of the 1891 census, was visiting his uncle James in Portsmouth. He married Amy Elizabeth Stanley (b. Kensington, London, 1876 and educated at Parkfield College, Chipping Barnet) in London in 1900.

In the 1901 census, the two were living in St. Keir, Cornwall, William (who claimed to be born in Simla, India, on the census) listing his occupation as "living on own means".

And that, unfortunately, is it. No further census records are available for the UK until 2011. I can't find any trace of William and Amy Hosken entering or living in the USA.

However... and this is an interesting however, I promise... William Henry M. Hosken was the cousin of Ernest Charles Heath Hosken, the son of uncle James who lived in Portsmouth. Born in Norwich in 1875, Ernest was to marry Mary Alice Cecil Seymour Keay in 1901 and, as Heath Hosken, collaborated on a number of crime novels with his wife, who was a prolific and popular writer under the pseudonym Coralie Stanton.

Could William have been inspired by his cousin to try his hand at writing novels? Could William really be the author known as Wyndham Martyn?

And why does Ernest C. Hosken, journalist and author, list his place of birth as India in the 1901 census, as his cousin William had done? A joke shared by two cousins?

Buggered if I know. One sticking point for me is that "Wyndham Martyn" claimed on an official document he was born on 6 July 1875 and William Henry M. Hosken was definitely born in the 3rd quarter of 1874 (covering July, August and September). We know from his draft registration card that Martyn was living in New York and working as an editor in 1918 so it's not unreasonable to expect to find him in the 1920 census... but there's no trace of them.

The only other trace of the couple is when Wyndham Martin sailed from Southampton to New York in 1933, arriving on 21 March. According to the passenger manifest, his last permanent address was Santa Monica. His wife, Amy Elizabeth Martyn, followed soon after, arriving in Los Angeles on 13 April 1933. Her last permanent address was also Santa Monica. Yet neither are listed in the 1830 census.

End of round two and a few more hours spent on this mystery. No doubt there's more to come.


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