Saturday, May 11, 2013
P. Russell Mallinson
The name first came to my notice in Lofts & Adley's The Men Behind Boys Fiction where "R. Russell Mallinson" was described as a pen-name of Russell Stannard. Mystery solved, one would think. Unfortunately, no.
P. Russell Mallinson was born Percy Wilfred Mallinson in Wandsworth in March 1891, the son of John Mallinson, a solicitor's clerk. John Mallinson had been born in Masbrough, a suburb of Rotherham, Yorkshire, in 1860, but was living in Wandsworth, London, by 1886 when he married Mary Ann Coombe. The Mallinsons had two children: Ethel Maud, born in 1887, and Percy Wilfred, born in 1891. Percy was baptised at St. Michael's, Battersea , on 19 April.
His military service was performed under the name Percy Russell Mallinson, but it is possible to link Percy Russell and Percy Wifred through his home address (P. Russell gives 13 The Grove as his home address in 1916) and the 1918 absent voters list which notes that Percy Wilfred is a Lieut. in the R.F.C. Percy Wilfred returns to The Grove in 1918-22 and then disappears from the London Electoral Roll.
It is known that Mallinson wrote prolifically under pen-names and the majority of his work remains untraced. Only one novel appeared under his own name, War on Wings from cheap paperback outfit Mellifont Press – a reprint of a story serialised in Boys' Magazine in 1927 which was also published as Wings o' War in the Boy's Friend Library (#2/179, Feb 1929).
Immediately after the war there appeared a string of short (usually 48-page) pocket library novelettes written for Popular Fiction. According to Barrington Gray, whose father was the manager of Popular Fiction, Mallinson was a regular writer for his father's earlier publishing companies (Gramol) and may have written novels under many other bylines. His known pen-names include Michael Burke, Sinclair Russell, Dawn Tempest, Cynthia Russell and, possibly, Richard Russell.
According to Gray, Mallinson lived in Ireland, which may explain why no record of his death has been found.