GUNBY HADATH (1871-1954)
|Raymond Sheppard from Boy's Own Paper April 1940|
|Raymond Sheppard Boy's Own Paper July 1938, p. 492|
He was athletic, and captain of his school, St. Edmund's Canterbury and won College Colours for cricket, rugby and soccer at Peterhouse College, Cambridge University and was awarded his Master of Arts on January 16, 1896 (see Times 17 Jan. 1896, p.6). He followed a sporting career until his trial for Paignton Rugby Club he had an accident which put paid to his sporting career. He became Senior Classical master at the Guildford Grammar School *.
|Raymond Sheppard Boy's Own Paper July 1938, p. 494|
"Planting his feet, he stationed himself in front of her, gripping his stick"
|Boy's Own Paper April 1940 p.307|
"There had slipped out, brushing greasy elbows with him, two men who were whispering together"
I like to think this is what prompted Gunby Hadath to start writing stories about his happier (?) times as a schoolmaster. Jack Cox writes in his history of BOP (Take a Cold Tub, Sir!) "His first story, "Buffle's Brolly" was published by Hutchinson in [...] 1909-10 and his last, "The decent old bird", was written for me [as Editor] in late 1953"
Boy's Own Paper April 1940 p.308-309
"Within the space of a breath the reptile had moved and wound its coils
into a spiral, with neck extended and vicious head reared and swaying"
A somewhat unusual distinction has just come the way of Mr. Gunby Hadath, the writer for young people, who has been presented with the Freedom of St. Gervais-les-Bains, in Savoy, at the foot of Mont Blanc. Mr. Hadath resides on Mont Blanc during the summer months, and his "St. Palfry's Cross," which depicts the neighbourhood, has sold largely in America and Scandanavia, and is now being translated into French by Madame de Sailly. From:P-P, De V. (1933), "Words confused and misused", The Bookman, vol. 83, no. 497, pp. 445.
Boy's Own Paper April 1940 p.308-309
"With the eerie sensation of being under inspection
Michael called up that he had come in search of a room"
There recently died Gunby Hadath who for a great many years was. in the front rank of authors for boys. He was particularly popular with his school stories. He started to write for "The Captain" in 1909 and continued to do so until its end in 1924. Later he wrote for "Chums". Practically all his serials were afterwards published in book form. Probably his best known story was "Sparrow in Search of Expulsion."
In his youth he was a well known cricket and rugger player. He rose to the rank of major in the First World War. He also wrote many popular lyrics, including "Down the Vale," which had a great vogue. I well remember a busker who used to sing it outside the old Bradford Empire 40 years ago. It was apparently the only song he knew.
In a tribute which appeared in "The Times" Feb. 1st, "A.S.M." said he was in Gunby Hadath's form at a private school in Devon, where he was an assistant master just down from Cambridge. They started a friendship, which lasted right to Hadath's death. He concludes: "Of irrepressible vivacity and high spirits, come weal or woe, he was one of those usually dreadful people who are "hearty" at breakfast, that meal at which the characteristic Englishman sits dourly over his newspaper glowering upon all who make chatter, much less joke - but not upon old Gunby. I have known him burst into such a glum assembly wearing a bowler hat, boxing gloves, and Father Christmas white beard. With his passing much laughter has gone out of the lives of all who knew him; profoundest sadness descended upon his wife, who, alone able to read his handwriting, typed all his inimitable school stories and upon her twin sister, long time matron at Dulwich, who joined with them to make the happiest trio to which I have had the privilege of admission."
Gunby Hadath lived at Cricklewood but spent winter in the French Alps for many years. He must have been in his early eighties at the time of his death.The Times 18 January 1954, (p. 8) announce his death and the following day a fuller obituary appeared in which it states he died at 82 years of age and was born on April 30 1871
OBITUARY:Let's get started with the Sheppard illustrated stories. The first I've found is "The mountain's dread hour" by Gunby Hadath (Boy's Own Paper July 1938). The two illustrations (shown above) are of a mountain eagle and it attacking two people on a ledge. All the other illustrations here are from Boy's Own Paper April 1940, Sheppard drew images to accompany Hadath's story "In search of a kingdom". Both stories are based on Hadath's experiences in the mountains of France.
MR. GUNBY HADATH whose contributions to the Boy's Own Paper and other publications of a similar nature will be recalled, died on Sunday in hospital in London at the age of 82, as briefly reported yesterday.
John Edward Gunby Hadath was born on April 30, 1871, the son of the late Rev. E. E. Hadath, sometime rector of Owersby, Lincolnshire. He was educated at St. Edmund's School, Canterbury, and Peterhouse. Cambridge, and began his career as a schoolmaster. His gift for clear exposition was soon manifested in writing, and he was able in due course to give up the classroom and transfer his work to the study, so that in time his name became one of the best known and best loved of those who aim to instruct as well as entertain youth. Many of his numerous stories appeared in serial form in the Boy's Own Paper,and were later republished as books to delight many generations of boys to whom Brent of Gatehouse, Last of his Line, Outlaws of St. Martyn's, Won by a Try and Schoolboy Grit have been household words for years. Besides his articles and stories, he wrote a number of lyrics, the best known of which is "Down the Vale" which in its musical setting had many years of popularity, and he also wrote for the theatre. For some years past he had divided his time between this country and France and since 1932 had been a Citoyen d'Honneur of the Commune of St. Gervaise-les-Bains, Haute Savoie.He married Florence Annie, the youngest daughter of the late William Webber, who survives him.
|Boy's Own Paper April 1940 p.315|
* A lot of the early biography is adapted from Leonard M. Allen's article in The Story Book Collector No 33 January 1949