- As these characters almost invariably appear together, information about them is combined here
- Bill redirects here; not to be confused with Red-haired Bill, ship's boy on board the Viper, later crew member of the Wild Cat
The Death and Glories are the crew of the eponymous Death and Glory. Their names are Joe, Bill and Pete, and they are usually mentioned in that order, which seems to reflect their ranking within the crew and their relative ages. Bill & Pete are the usual engines of the Death and Glory, but when full steam ahead is needed it is Joe and Bill (BS11).
Joe is skipper of Death and Glory and owner of a white rat, Ratty. He is decisive; in Coots in the North he gets them all (including Ratty) on the boat going north, saying that if they held a Coot Club meeting to decide it would be too late.
Bill is apparently second-in-command. He is Chief cook of Death and Glory (BS13, 21). Bill's Aunt Alice works at the Ferry Inn (BS14). Bill is the only crew member of Death and Glory who has a bicycle (BS15). Bill is inclined to be pessimistic or serious in his approach and demeanour and thus complements Joe's character; their relationship can be compared to that of John and Susan Walker. Bill's demeanour is perhaps even "native", although this word is not used to describe Bill. In BS11, Bill makes sure that Tom Dudgeon and the Ds dry the rain off their seats before they sit down in Titmouse to row home.
Pete is the youngest of the Death and Glories, thus often addressed as "young Pete". He is a small, black-haired boy, the owner of the enormous telescope (BS3) and is the fisherman of the Death and Glory (BS6) (cf: St Peter). His father is also called Peter (BS2), and works for Jonnatt's in Horning.
In sketch notes, Arthur Ransome listed their names as Joe Southgate, Bill Jenkins and Peter (sic) Woods (Ransome's draft for Coot Club quoted in LAR10). Pete's father is called Peter as well. Pete might therefore be Peter Woods Jr. The name Woods was recycled in Woods the lorryman.
- Coot Club: their encounter with the Hullabaloos precipitates the making of Tom Dudgeon an outlaw; they help him to keep a low profile and later they rescue the stricken Margoletta.
- The Big Six: arguably the central characters, falsely accused they struggle to clear their names with the help of the Coot Club.
- 'Coots in the North': firmly earned a place as central characters, they stow away in a boat on a transporter lorry that is going to the Lake in the North in an attempt to meet the Ds.