Today I’ve been reading A. D. Gristwood’s novella ‘The Coward’ (published in 1927 as the second half of the volume The Somme). It’s well-told and I wondered whether I could find out more about Gristwood.
A few minutes searching on ancestry.co.uk has indicated this:
He was born Arthur Donald Gristwood in 1893 in Catford. His father was a commercial traveller in the paper trade.
In the 1911 census the family was living in Hornchurch, Essex, and young Arthur is described as a ‘Civil Servant’ – which could mean any number of things.
He enlisted and joined the 5th London regiment. I couldn’t find his attestation papers online, but here is his medal record (You’ll need to click it to see it properly):
This tells us that he was still a private at the end of the War. But what does SWB List TP/4934 mean?
And what does that top line on the back of the card say?
He published his two novellas together in 1927, with an introduction by H. G. Wells. This reminds me of R. H. Mottram, who could only get his Spanish Farm published when it had a note by John Galsworthy at the front to make it more saleable. Did Gristwood also have problems with publishers before he got Wells’s endorsement?
Gristwood died in 1933, while still in his thirties. The probate registry details his will:
Margaretta was his mother, so we can presume that he never married. he didn’t have much to leave her.
Rather a sad life for someone who wrote two noteworthy novellas. Does anyone know any more about him?