|This one is my favourite - Seven Years |
War in America background
The answer to the question was easy, I don't even remember stopping to think who it might be, as a younger version I devoured his books, reading them over and over, and they undoubtedly fed those nascent wargaming fires that I was also stoking up with copies of Featherstone and Grant at the same time...
Ronald Welch (14 December 1909 – 5 February 1982) was actually born Ronald Felton, he took his pen name from the Welch Regiment [clicky] which he served in during WWII.
He was born in Wales (at Aberavon in West Galmorgan), the son of accountant Oliver Felton and his wife Alice (nee Thomas). After attending Berkhamsted School (1922-28) in Hertfordshire, he earned a place at Clare College, Cambridge, where he studied history (M.A., 1931). Welch then went on to work as an assistant history master at Berkhamsted before moving to Bedford Modern School as a senior teacher in 1933.
By all accounts he seems to have had a strong attraction for Wales so the choice of regiment was probably not so strange, but having said that he was working as a history teacher (he read History at Cambridge) in Bedford on the other side of the country when the war broke out, so clearly there was something drawing him back to his native Wales.
He would have been 30 (so comparatively old) when the war broke out, but was already a Lieutenant in the schools cadet force (Officer Training Corps or OTC). He was commissioned Lieutenant in the Welch Regiment in 1940, and served throughout the war - there isn't much detail but I also read that he had served in tanks.He reached the rank of major and remained in the Territorial Army after the war.
When the war finished he returned to teaching and throughout the 50's was headmaster of Okehampton Grammar School in Devon (1947 to 1964). It was while headmaster here that he started writing the books that I then became so addicted to..
He won the 1956 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject, for Knight Crusader, the first novel in the Carey Family series (which he published in 1954) but continued to write well into the 70's.
|Just managed to get a copy of this one!!|
The thing that set them part for me was their depth and accuracy, the well documented and clear historical background, but set against a good story - the very best way to learn history that I've found! The best editions were also illustrated by William Stobbs who pictures were just superb - the following is typical of his style..
I own seven of Welch's books now, but it's taken me years to obtain them. My latest acquisition is "For the King" - they're all out of print and go for funny money on eBay and the like. The good news however, is that I've just heard they are being reprinted [clicky] - don't hold back, I very much recommend them...!