Arthur Ransome Wiki
Captain Ted Walker RN
Edward H R ('Ted') Walker
on a destroyer (SA)

Commander (WD)

Took up shore position at Shotley as Captain (SW, ML)
Walker family, Captain Curtledge, Royal Navy
Native Residence:
at sea; Shotley naval station
Future career:
Admiral before he retires (ML16)
Daddy redirects here. See also Frank Farland, called "Daddy" by Port and Starboard

Edward H R ('Ted') Walker usually called Daddy by the Swallows, is an officer of the Royal Navy.

Daddy is mentioned regularly throughout the series:

  • in the summer of 1929, one year before the Walkers visit Holly Howe, Titty and Roger had only begun to learn how to sail when their father had been home on leave a year before (perhaps at Falmouth) (SA1).
  • in 1930 Daddy, whose ship was at Malta but under orders for Hong Kong facilitates the adventures in Swallows and Amazons with his 'better drowned than duffers' telegram (SA1). Later Susan says We could go to the China Seas to see daddy (SA11).
  • When they are discussing houseboats, John says that Father lives on a boat (ship) all year round, and Titty objects: a destroyer isn't a houseboat (SA3).
  • in January 1931 Susan tells the Ds that their mother had taken Bridget to Malta, where their father's ship was stationed (WH3).
  • in 1931, on 22 April Daddy is on leave, spending the Easter school holidays with the Swallows in the South (CC1)
  • in the summer of 1931, on the 13th day of the summer holidays, Titty writes a letter to Daddy in China (PP23). Cutting it a bit fine for him to receive it before he leaves (see following) . . . .
  • in August 1931, Daddy leaves China, travelling overland by train (presumably via the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia) for a new position at Shotley. At Flushing on his overland journey, he meets the Swallows on board Goblin and travels home with them as described in We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea. He says "I had a walk round after my train got in. To stretch my legs after sitting still for twelve days .... and nights" (WD23).
  • in late August or early September 1931, Commander Walker seems to receive a promotion to Captain, and is called urgently to London on Navy business, preventing his planned holiday with the Goblin and the Swallows on Swallow Island; events described in Secret Water. In SW Ted Walker is usually Commander Walker (SW1,11,31), but in the first chapter he is called Captain Walker once; twice in SW2. In the last chapter (SW31) he is Commander Walker 12 times and Captain Walker 4 times.
  • in the winter of 1931-1932, during the telling of the story of Missee Lee Titty said that John does not really need Latin but just try him in mathematics. John explains that he is going into the Navy ... Like Father ... He's a captain .... He'll be an admiral when he retires. Miss Lee says Captain? .. Blitish Navy? to which Roger says Yes .. a real captain, not like Captain Flint ... He was stationed at Hong Kong. Miss Lee exclaims Gunboats and then not to tell anyone; If he (Taicoon Chang) knew ... If the counsellor knew ... If Wu knew ... If my father ... (ML16)


Although the Swallows usually address their mother as Mother, the more infantile title persists for their father:Ted is usually called Daddy by the Swallows (and by the narrator). John Walker seems to be developing a more native style of calling him Father: "Navy Cut. That’s what father smokes." (WH14); "Who taught you to tie a bowline knot?" "Father." (WD1). Mary Walker calls him Ted. His full initials EHR are given in the author's co-dedication to Mrs EHR Walker in Swallows and Amazons. The nickname Ted may refer to Edward or Edmund (see Wikipedia: Ted).


Ted Walker is known for his axioms or aphorisms imparting wisdom and rather black-and-white points of view as a ship's captain might have to use in decision making and leadership:

  • Better drowned than duffers; if not duffers, won't drown (SA1)
  • Daddy always says that when it's a case of life and death no rules count (WH25)