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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Edward R. Home-Gall

Edward R. Home-Gall was the son of writer William Benjamin Home-Gall, also a writer. William, born in Hong Kong in 1861, had a problematic schooling and travelled widely in America before returning to the UK where he worked as a coachman and an unsuccessful farmer. He was more successful as an author, publishing his first novel in 1892 and, by the late 1890s, had established himself as a popular writer for boys.

William (known as Willie) married Anna Louisa Amy Drelincourt on 14 September 1889 at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington; however, the marriage appears to have lasted only briefly and William is known to have been staying at a London club in 1890 and was living with his aunt, Elizabeth J, Mallows, at the time of the 1891 census. Anna, born in Dublin, Ireland, in c.1845 and 15 or so years Willie's senior, was boarding in Fulham with her son at that time. In fact, her name was not Drelincourt at all: she was born Anna Louisa Amy Meekins and, in 1864, married Drelincourt Campbell Gilchrist Odlum; at the time of the 1871 census, aged 25, she was living in Kensington with her husband, then a 27-year-old physician, and their son, Drelincourt William De Montmerency Odlum (1865-1939), who went on to become an actor.

The Home-Gall family circa 1904 standing outside Panmure, Edward in front of gate.
In the next few years William had two children with Edith Emma Bolingbroke (b. Yarmouth, Norfolk, 1867; d. Staines, Middx., 1945): Willie Bolinbroke Home-Gall (1894-1982) and Edward Reginald Home-Gall, born in Hampton-on-Thames in 1897 and baptized at Hampton St. Mary, Richmond upon Thames, on 2 May 1897. William did not marry Edith until 1898 (at St. Giles, London).

Edward joined the Amalgamated Press in 1914 as an office-boy. His first story appeared in the semi-religious weekly The Sunday Circle and his second, a football yarn, in the Boys’ Realm, then under the editorship of John Nix Pentelow. Although under age, he managed to join a Territorial Unit and enlisted in the Isle of White Rifles, taking part in the landing in Gallipoli, although was later invalided home with enteric. He made a full recovery and returned to fight in Messines where, as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Fusiliers, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in January 1918. He relinquished his commission on October 29, 1920, with the rank of Lieutenant.

At the age of 21 he returned to the A.P. who had kept his office job open (the wage was 12/6 a week). He submitted an idea for a new title, The Football Favourite, which was accepted and ran for over eighteen years, achieving a good circulation. Home-Gall contributed many stories to the paper, one of the most popular being his series 'The Terrible Twins' in which a rich and poor football fan changed places. When this series finished, Home-Gall left Fleetway House to go freelance, struggling for the first six months when his earnings averaged 16/- a week.

Home-Gall wrote hundreds of stories for the Thomson papers—Rover, Wizard, Adventure—and also the later stories of Harry Lovell & Co. for H. A. Hinton’s School and Sport after Charles Hamilton refused to write any more due to non-payment (Home-Gall was also never paid).

His fortunes turned in 1923 when he sold a serial to R. T. Eves’ young paper, Champion. For the next thirty years he wrote three 5,000-7,000 word stories a week for Champion and Triumph plus stories for the annuals and elsewhere. He was the creator of the detective Colwyn Dane, and was especially noted for his speedway yarns, claiming that he wrote the first speedway story ever published in Britain. One reader in Australia, bored with his job as a car attendant on the railways, wrote to him asking how he could become a speedway rider and followed Home-Gall’s advice… Bluey Wilkinson was later recognised as one of the greatest riders ever known to the sport.

Something of a sportsman himself, Home-Gall played for the Answers golf team (led by A. Hindle) in the London Press Golfing Society’s Foursome tournament.

Home-Gall was one of the most prolific writers of boys’ stories of all time, producing some 35 million words for various boys’ papers. Shortly after the Second World War, he set up his own company, Panmure Press, to produce his own work in a series entitled Boys' Favourite Library, which was later revived in the early 1950s from another company. During the 1950s, Home-Gall regularly scripted for the comics Lion and Tiger, although his most regular character was the text series 'The Amazing Adventures of Mr X' (as by Edwin Dale). He also penned two novels for Mark Goulden (an imprint of W. H. Allen) about superhero The Human Bat, which are probably the two most sought-after of all his books.

Home-Gall lived at Panmure, 2 Nightingale Road, Hampton-on-Thames, Middlesex, for many years and later moved to the South of France where he continued to write, penning the Shirley Flight, Air Hostess novels for World Distributors under the name Judith Dale. He appears to have retired in the early 1960s, around the time that the Shirley Flight books began appearing in France under Home-Gall's own name. Two additional Shirley Flight stories appeared in France in 1969 and 1972.

Home-Gall, who was a bachelor, died in France in November 1974, aged 78.

Publications

Novels
The Lone Mountie. London, Amalgamated Press, 1940.
The Haunted Ice-Rink, An Ice-hockey Mystery Thriller. London, New Arts, Nov 1946.
The Football Commandos. London, New Arts, Dec 1946.
The Outlaw Mountie and Red Fang, the Wonder Husky. Hampton, Panmure, Aug 1947.
Fighting Rebels of the Desert. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure (BFL 1), May 1948.
Hooded Terror of the Speedway. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure (BFL 2), 1948.
Beau Rapier, the Desert Dick Turpin. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure (BFL 3), Sep 1948.
The Railway Rovers. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure (BFL 4), Nov 1948.
Victor Gaunt—Master Spy. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure, Nov 1948.
The Boxing Cyclones. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure Publications (BFL 5), Jan 1949.
Appointment With Death. Hampton, Panmure Publications, Mar 1949.
Victor Gaunt In China. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure Publications, 1949.
The Speed Ace Gang-Buster. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure Publications (BFL 6), 1949.
The Jungle Speedsters. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure Publications (BFL 7), Aug 1949.
Ace Carew—Airman Speed King (Carew). London, W.H.Allen, Nov 1949.
Mystery Goal-Getter of the Rovers. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure Publications (BFL 8), Nov 1949.
The Phantom Ice Demon. Hampton, Middlesex, Panmure Publications (BFL 9), Dec 1949.
Lightning the One-Ton Wonder. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 10), Feb 1950.
The Football Speedsters. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 11), Mar 1950.
The Human Bat. London. Mark Goulden (Fantasy Library 1), Apr 1950.
The Century-Hitter From Nowhere. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 12), Apr 1950.
King of the Cycling Sabres. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 13), May 1950.
The Speed-Ace Frogman. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 14), Jun 1950.
Trailed By Snakeman. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 15), Jul 1950.
The Masked Record-Breaker. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 16), Aug 1950.
The Human Bat v. The Robot Gangster. London, Mark Goulden (Fantasy Library 2), Sep 1950
The Hooded Terror Tong. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 17), Sep 1950.
The Secret Centre-Half. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 18), Oct 1950.
A Prince of the Willow. London, Hennel Locke, Oct 1950.
The Redskin Ice-Ace of the "Outlaws". Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 19), Nov 1950.
Black Hand. Hampton, Panmure Publications (BFL 20), Dec 1950.
The Roving Rovers. London, Hennel Locke, Jan 1952
The Convict Speed Devil. London, Comyns (BFL 3), Oct 1953.
The Lumber Camp Killers. London, Comyns (BFL 5), 1953.
The Yellow Peril Island. London, Comyns (BFL 6), 1954.
Thugs of the High Seas. London, Comyns (BFL 7), 1954.

Novels as Edwin Dale
Dare-Devils of the Dirt Track. London, Amalgamated Press, 1929
Speedsters of the Dirt Track. London, Amalgamated Press, 1931
Stars of the Speedway. London, Amalgamated Press, 1931
From Bush to Speedway. London, Amalgamated Press, 1932
The 40 m.p.h. Footer Stars. London, Amalgamated Press, 1932
Bronco Dawson, The Cowboy Speed King. London, Amalgamated Press, 1932
Stunters of the Speedway. London, Amalgamated Press, 1933
Dare-Devils of the Q Patrol!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1933
The Speedway Circus Star. London, Amalgamated Press, 1933
The Flying Speedster. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934
Mad to be a Speed Star. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934
Speed King of Monk’s Mechanical Circus. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934
Gaunt of the Khyber Pass. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934
Lone-Hand Lawrence, the Aussie Speedster. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935
The Heavyweight Mountie. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935
Riders of the Phantom Speedster. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935
The Arctic Castaways. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935
Broadside Boyd. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935
Cyclone Zip, the Aussie Speedster. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936
The Speedway Roughriders. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936
Speedway Menace. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936
Skipper of the River Rebels. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936
King Flame. London, Amalgamated Press, 1937
The Ice-Rink Speedsters. London, Amalgamated Press, 1937
The Country of No Escape. London, Amalgamated Press, 1937
The Rebel Speed Star. London, Amalgamated Press, 1937
Ice-Rink Regan’s Timber Wolves. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938
The Ice-Rink Avenger. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938
The Speedster from Devil’s Island. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938
The Challenge of the Red Domino. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938
The Ice Aces of Haunted Valley. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938
Ice-King Kerry. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938
The Hunchback of Stenmoor Stadium. London, Amalgamated Press, 1939
Don Sabre, the Desert Robin Hood. London, Amalgamated Press, 1939
Gaunt of the White Tong. London, Amalgamated Press, 1939
The Scapegrace Centre-Forward. London, Amalgamated Press, 1939
The Secret of Puck-Chaser Steele. London, Amalgamated Press, 1939

Novels as Judith Dale (series; Shirley Flight in all)
Note, volumes 9 and 10 (Hawaiian Mystery and in Spain) were by Trudi Arlen.
1 Shirley Flight, Air Hostess. London, World Distributors, 1958; as Shirley, hôtesse de l'air by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Valdi Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 59), 1962
2 Shirley Flight, Air Hostess, and the Diamond Smugglers. London, World Distributors, 1958; as Shirley et l'affaire du diamant by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Valdi Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 65), 1962.
3 Shirley Flight, Air Hostess, Desert Adventure. London, World Distributors, 1958.
4 Shirley Flight, Air Hostess, in Hollywood. London, World Distributors, 1958; as Shirley à Hollywood by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Vanni Tealdi. Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 164), 1970.
5 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess and the Flying Doctor. London, World Distributors, 1959; as Shirley et les écumeurs de la prairie by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Daniel Dupuy, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 168), 1971.
6 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in The Great Bullion Mystery. London, World Distributors, 1959; as Shirley et le mystère des lingots d'or by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Valdi Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 124), 1967.
7 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in Congo Rescue. London, World Distributors, 1959; as Shirley chez les Pygmées by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Daniel Dupuy, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale), 1964.
8 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess and the Rajah’s Daughter. London, World Distributors, 1959; as Shirley et la fille du rajah by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Vanni Tealdi. Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 83), 1963.
11, Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in Pacific Castaways. London, World Distributors, 1960; as Shirley et les naufragés du Pacifique by Edward Home-Gall, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale), 1973.
12, Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in Fjord Adventure. London, World Distributors, 1960; as Shirley dans les fjords norvégiens by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Valdi Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 78), 1963.
13 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in Flying Jet. London, World Distributors, 1961; as Shirley et le mannequin Carol by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Daniel Dupuy, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 100), 1965.
14 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in Storm Warning. London, World Distributors, 1961; as Shirley dans la tempête by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Vanni Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 135), 1968.
15 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess, and the Chinese Puzzle. London, World Distributors, 1961; as Shirley et le rébus chinois by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Vanni Tealdi. Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 72), 1963.
16 Shirley Flight—Air Hostess in Canadian Capers. London, World Distributors, 1961; as Shirley au Canada by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Vanni Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 112), 1966.
Shirley et la mystérieuse Mona [Shirley’s Troublesome Trainee] by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Valdi Tealdi, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 150), 1969.
Shirley et la reine du fandango by Edward Home-Gall, illus. Daniel Dupuy, Paris, Editions G.P. (Spirale 180), 1972.

Novels as Rupert Hall
Mascot Ted. London, Amalgamated Press, 1926.
Hated by the Team!. London, Amalgamated Press (Champion Library 4), Mar 1929.
The Pro from Nowhere. London, Amalgamated Press (Champion Library 9), Jun 1929.
Stick it, Cowboy Ken!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1929..
Play Up, the Linnets!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1929.
The Lad with the Lightning Left. London, Amalgamated Press, 1929.
Boy Riders of the Stockyard. London, Amalgamated Press, 1930.
War Hawks o’ Flanders. London, Amalgamated Press, 1930.
No Team Like the Trojans!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1931.
True to his Colours. London, Amalgamated Press, 1931.
The Youngest Pro in the Country!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1931.
The Kid They Couldn’t Tame. London, Amalgamated Press, 1932.
To Victory with the Tanks!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1933.
Wanderers of the Wild. London, Amalgamated Press, 1933.
The Mystery Man of the Legion. London, Amalgamated Press, 1933.
The Masked Footballer. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934.
The Holdfast Hikers of the Amazon. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934.
The Phantom Avenger. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934.
Rough Diamond Rudd of the Fighting Fusiliers!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1934.
The Millionaire Footballer. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935.
Air-Crazy Atkins. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935.
Doomed to Devil Island!. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935.
The Hobo Footballers. London, Amalgamated Press, 1935.
The Hobo Cup-Fighters. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936.
Gaunt, Flying Spy. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936.
The Big-Hit Blacksmith. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936.
Castaways of Conspiracy Island. London, Amalgamated Press, 1936.
The Caravan Rovers. London, Amalgamated Press, 1937.
Racer Dan of the Whirlwind Wheelers. London, Amalgamated Press, 1938.
Flip’s Flying Flea. London, Amalgamated Press (Champion Library 230), Aug 1938.
Unlucky Mike. London & New York, Warne & Co., 1939.
The Mystery Six-Hitter from India. London, Amalgamated Press, 1940.
Giraffe Jones The Hairpin Half-Back. London, Amalgamated Press (Champion Library 266), Feb 1940.

(* With thanks to John Sheaf for the photograph.)

4 comments:

Chap O'Keefe said...

A great post, Steve! As a boy, I was very familiar with this author's work as seen in The Champion and Lion and Tiger in the 1950s, and became aware later that he was also Rupert Hall and Edwin Dale. But your article is, I think, the first I've read mentioning the Shirley Flight books. I remember seeing odd copies of the Boys' Favourite Library as a child, but they weren't widely available at local newsagents. I suspect that without the big-magazines muscle of AP or Thomson the series was handicapped by poor distribution. Its two-colour covers probably didn't help either -- a very "pre-war" look.

Joshua Kahan said...

Thanks for that Steve!

Des Kearley said...

Fantastic article. I have an interest in Edward Home-Gall as I have his MC. He was awarded this for his actions on 4 Jun 1917 at the Battle of Messines - “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as Battalion Signalling Officer. He personally superintended the laying of wires under heavy shell fire, and was most successful in obtaining and maintaining communication throughout the action". A brave man and highly successful author.

Jackie said...

Terrific post. Do you know who to contact to seek copyright to use some of the text from one of the Shirley books in a forthcoming publication?