Arthur Ransome Wiki

The fatherless state of many child characters is a widespread feature of the Swallows and Amazons series. This may be Ransome reflecting the aftermath of the very great death toll during the First World War and subsequent flu epidemic. Also Ransome himself, had left his only child Tabitha effectively fatherless when he went to Russia.

The absence of parents (fathers and mothers) also provides the context for child characters' independent adventure.

Characters with no fathers[]

(during childhood that is, if adults)

Characters with mostly absent fathers[]


Married women with no mention of a 'Mr', therefore apparently widowed or divorced (for brevity, let's not mention the mothers of those listed above as fatherless):

Other missing family members[]

  • Father 'old' (which may reflect the "man drought" of the interbellum
  • Jacky Warriner" - his father is described as old (PP34)
  • Ian, whose father The McGinty is described as old (GN)
  • Motherless: Port and Starboard – no mother; she died when they were babies.
  • Uncle-less: Nancy and Peggy feel the absence of their Uncle Jim quite keenly, regarding this as treachery

by way of contrast[]

  • Tom Dudgeon – a character whose 'normal' nuclear family situation is described at length in the books (CC, BS)
  • The Death and Glories- all referred to as "boat builders' sons" whose fathers, though setting clear boundaries, are protective, and whose mothers keep an indulgent eye on them. (CC, BS)