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Whatever happened in the Secret Life of Arthur Ransome.

Updated on April 29, 2016
Arthur Ransome.
Arthur Ransome. | Source

Arthur Ransome a Secret Life.

Arthur Ransome the author of 'Swallows and Amazons' was born on 18 January, 1884. He lived at number 6 Ash grove, Hyde Park, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He had a comfortable childhood spending summer and other holidays in the English Lake District. Indeed he completed his formal education in Windermere. From there he went to Rugby School, one of the top private educational establishments in the country, it remains so to this day. Whilst there he stayed in the rooms previously used by Lewis Carroll, the author of 'Alice in Wonderland'. He was not academically gifted and moved on to Yorkshire College. Here he studied chemistry for a time but abandoned education, moving to London to be a writer.

Bohemia beckons.

He became part of a Bohemian set of friends headed by Pamela Colman Smith. Here in this group of left wing thinkers his social concience and awareness came to the fore. He met and married Ivy Constance Walker in 1909, they had one daughter Tabitha the marriage was not a happy one and in 1924 they divorced. It was during this time in London that he wrote a book on Oscar Wild. Lord Alfred Douglas the lover of Wild, took Ransome to court for Libel. This and other problems caused him to leave London and head for St Petersburg.The year was 1913 and although still married, He wanted a new start.

Russia and a secret life.

He obtained employment as the foreign correspondent for 'The Daily News' newspaper. Rumblings of revolution were growing, Ransome alligned himself with the likes of Lenin and Trotsky. He went into print several times in support of radical politics, though In Britain it was thought that he had a romantic view of the class struggle. He remained in Russia and began to report from the Eastern front. He was well placed in 1917 when the Russian Revolution broke out, being close to both Lenin and Trotsky. He would later marry Trotskys secretary, Yevgeniya Petrovna Shelepina.

In 2002 official documents were released which showed that Ransome was not as he had appeared. Ransome accepted friend of the communists, was working for the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Great concern was shown by MI5 because he expressed Bolshovik sympathies in his articles whilst working for the 'Manchester Guardian' newspaper. Which he began to write for in 1919. Ransome was not removed from the files of MI5 until 1937. MI6 however knew him to be Asset S76. and it was they who had requested his help in supplying information on the revolution to British authorities. At one point MI6 assisted in the smuggling of Yevgeniya to Sweden, it is thought she to may have become a British Agent there.

Swallows and Amazons.

By the early 1920s Ransome was moving away from radical journalism. By now he was living in Estonia and the romance of writing was returning. He had built a 30-ton ketch which he had called 'Racundra' He took the ketch on its maiden voyage around the Baltic, this became the basis for his first sailing book 'Racundra's First Cruise'. This also awakened the enjoyment of sailing within him.

The mid 1920s saw Ransome and Yevgeniya return to England and he settled in his beloved Lake District. By now sailing was a passion and in 1929 he wrote 'Swallows and Amazons'. More books were to follow and Ransome moved yet again. This time to East Anglia.

He died on 3 June, 1967 in a Manchester Hospital. After his death he went back to the lake district. He is buried along with his wife, in the churchyard of St Paul's Church, Rusland, Cumbria, England. He found great fame with his series of books, but the secret life he led we can only imagine.


Significant Men: Gorbachev.

Significant Women: Emmeline Pankhurst. Votes for Women.


© 2012 Graham Lee

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    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this insight.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Hi Graham! My what an awesome article this is and what a dark horse Arthur Ransome was! I had no idea about the life of this author and this was a fascinating glimpse into his private life, ideas and what he got up to. I loved his books while at school and you wouldn't guess as a kid that this excellent author was also a spy!

      A very enjoyable and fascinating hub! Voted up + shared!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you Mhatter for your comments, much appreciated.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Seeker7. Thank you for your visit and most welcome comments. Yes, a real dark horse as you say. A very full life indeed.

      Thank you for your votes and sharing.

      Graham.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Thanks for the introduction to Arthur Ransome's Life. Intriguing and an inspiration for Ian Fleming and that MI6. There is so much classified information on people that only our grandkids will have access to them. Thanks again!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      Wow. This man lived a truly fascinating life. I had not heard of him before but you told the story quickly and expertly. Thank you for the good read!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Lord De Cross. Yes it's surprising what goes on and with whom which we know nothing about. Thank for your visit and comments.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi James. Thank you for your visit and comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Graham.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      His life was more fascinating than the words he wrote. I bet the stories he would have loved to tell would have been incredible. Great work, Graham!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you TT. We never know who is doing what with or to whom at any time. Good job really I guess. Or is it? Secrets and lies, smoke and mirrors.

      Thank you for your visit and comments.

      Graham.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A great share Graham; I have to admit I didn't know an awful lot about this author;well not until I read this.

      Interesting and useful here;thanks for sharing and for being a great teacher.

      Eddy.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Eddy. Thank you for your welcome comments. Me a Teacher? I am flattered. Thank you for the votes.

      Graham.

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