Arthur Ransome Wiki
Dick Callum

Dick stinks

Dick Callum
commander of Dixon's Farm sled

Able Seaman of Teasel
detective, forensic scientist and photographer of Scotland Yard
Scientist to SADMC
captain of Scarab

Ship's Naturalist of Sea Bear
Usual Residence:
London (assumed);
school somewhere in the Midlands (he met Dorothea at Crewe on their way to the Lake - PM2)
Future career:
will amass great wealth (CC13)
Major achievements:

Too many parameters

"Sorry. I didn't hear what you were saying." (Dick, BS22)

Dick Callum is a young astronomer, scientist, naturalist and master of the Scarab. Dick and his sister Dorothea Callum are often mentioned as a pair, the Ds.

When the D's meet the Swallows and Amazons, Nancy asks .... but what are you, in real life I mean, Dorothea promptly says Dick's an astronomer (WH3).

Dorothea says that both of them can swim and Dick got first prize at school for men under twelve. Dick says Boys, but everyone had understood (CC9).

He is A smallish boy with large black-rimmed spectacles (BS9). At various times Dick was nervously cleaning his spectacles (BS10,14). When Nancy says that they must have Scarab despite the GA, If it had not been that he could not let go of the oars he would have taken off his spectacles and wiped them with relief (PM9).

Dick attends a boarding school (near Crewe PM2) and lives in London, where his father, Professor Callum is an academic archaeologist.

Dick is socially awkward and often fails to follow others' conversation: "Sorry. I didn't hear what you were saying." (BS22). He can be preoccupied in what he is doing: when he is testing the "gold dust" he might have been alone in a world empty except for two test-tubes .... (PP33)

However he is valued at times of crisis. After the tunnel collapse, just as when they found the cragfast sheep in the winter holidays, he seemed to be thinking of everything art once and know what to do. (PP24)

Dick has manual skill as well as scientific knowledge: he is able to carve wooden cleats for the sledge built for the Ds by Mr Dixon (WH13). He is also able to build the pigeon-activated alarm at Beckfoot (PP6). He develops photographs (BS31).

In Dick's pocket book he notes birds he has seen and things he wants to remember, e.g. the Morse and Semaphore codes and his mother’s birthday.


Dick Callum is described as prudent and will amass great wealth by a fortune-telling automatic weighing machine at Bridge Stores, Potter Heigham (CC13).

Callum Reif, an adult scientist character resembling Dick is featured in Julia Jones's Strong Winds trilogy.


The Ds train

Dorothea and Dick lean out of their train window in the BBC adaptation Swallows and Amazons Forever!

Dick fire

Dick Callum reading by the fire in The Dog's Home

Dick stinks

Dick assaying minerals in the Houseboat