Bates, H.E. (Herbert Ernest), 1905-1974

Alternative names
Birth 1905-05-16
Death 1974-01-29

Biographical notes:

Resident of Kent, England.

From the description of Letters, 1930-1968. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 34122419

Bates was an English writer and novelist.

From the description of [Letters to] Miss. Heilburn / H. E. Bates. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 156913081

English author.

From the description of In view of the fact that ... : [n.p.] : autograph manuscript signed of the short story, 1926? Mar. 6 [in a publisher's note]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270129887

From the description of Herbert Ernest Bates letters, 1950. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63936542

English short-story writer and novelist.

From the description of Now sleeps the crimson petal, 1952-1974. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122486891

H.E. Bates was a prolific English author who achieved both popular success and critical acclaim. Born in Rushden, Northamptonshire, he was an indifferent student until inspired by a teacher to appreciate literature, but turned down a chance to attend Cambridge University. He went on to work odd jobs, supporting himself with periodical publications, before finding success as a novelist. He averaged almost a novel per year for almost fifty years, and also wrote a substantial amount of acclaimed short fiction and verse. Bates' work is distinguished by his interest in rural themes, his mistrust of industrialization, and his preference for character and setting over plot; he was perhaps best known for his World War II propaganda tales of bomber pilots, published anonymously as Flying Officer X.

From the description of H.E. Bates letter to Dear Clayton, 1930 Jan. 26. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 85869664


From the description of H.E. Bates literary manuscript, 1928. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79453998

From the description of Papers 1926-1932. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 703895211

From the description of Letters, 1968-1980. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 703889289

English short-story writer.

From the description of The Tree, 1926. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122605770

Herbert Ernest Bates (later known to his friends and wife as 'H.E') was born in Rushton, Northamptonshire on 16 May 1905. He received his education at Kettering Grammar School and when he left at the age of sixteen he became, first, a clerk and then a provincial journalist. His first novel, The Two Sisters , was published in 1926 by Jonathan Cape after being rejected by 9 other publishers. By 1931, Cape had published three further novels.

In 1941, the Royal Air Force recruited Bates as a short story writer under the pseudonym of 'Flying Officer X'. This work included, The Greatest People in the World (1942) and Fair Stood the Wind for France . The latter was published by Michael Joseph who was to be his publisher for the rest of his life.

The Darling Buds of May (1959) began a popular series of earthy novels set in a rural context and for this work, he may be best remembered. His acclaimed autobiography was published in three volumes: The Vanished World (1969), The Blossoming World (1971) and The World in Ripeness (1972). Bates died in Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury, Kent on 29 January 1974.

From the guide to the Bates, Herbert Ernest, 1926, (Senate House Library, University of London)


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  • Literature
  • Male authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • English literature
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • Authors, English
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Trees in literature


  • Authors


  • England (as recorded)