Hugo Francis Guy Charteris

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Hugo Francis Guy Charteris

Birthdate: (48)
Birthplace: London, England
Death: 1970 (47)
Elvington, North Yorkshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Hon. Guy Lawrence Charteris and Frances Lucy Charteris
Husband of Virginia Mary Charteris
Brother of Anne Geraldine Mary Fleming and Frances Laura Spencer-Churchill (Charteris), Duchess of Marlborough

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About Hugo Francis Guy Charteris

Hugo Francis Guy Charteris, MC was a Scottish novelist and screenwriter. Charteris wrote nine novels, seventeen television screenplays and numerous children's books and short stories.

Charteris was the fourth child of Captain Hon. Guy Lawrence Charteris (1886–1967), son of Hugo Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss and his first wife, Francis Lucy Tennant (1887–1925), granddaughter of Sir Charles Tennant. Charteris was educated at Eton and in 1941 he left to join the Scots Guards. He was twice wounded in the war, eventually receiving an MC in Italy while defending his position against continuous enemy attack. After the war he went to Malaya and Java where he served as a public relations officer for south-east Asia command (1945-7). At this time he also edited an English language and wrote short stories. He soon left the army and went up to Oxford where he read English at Trinity College for a few frustrating terms (1947-8). In 1948 he married Virginia Mary (b.1922), daughter of Colin Gurdon Forbes Adam and granddaughter of Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock. Together they had two sons and three daughters. The eldest son, Richard, drowned at their home in Scotland in 1951. Through his brother in law, Viscount Rothermere, he got work with the Daily Mail where he was sub-editor until he was sent to Paris as second correspondent, mainly writing articles for the Continental Daily Mail.

He retired from full-time journalism in 1951 when he decided to settle in Sutherland, intending to live as a novelist. While being sustained by commissions from Punch and the Telegraph magazines, Charteris wrote his first novel, A Share of the World which was published in 1952. Francis Wyndham hailed it as 'the most impressive first novel that has appeared since the war'. Charteris went on to write eight further novels to great critical acclaim. His depiction of the aristocracy was often informed or based upon the lives of his relations. The family in his first novel was based upon his parents-in-law and he portrays Guy, his father, affectionally in many novels. Sir Oswald Mosley, who was related by marriage to his wife's family, launched but later abandoned a libel action over the tragic fascist portrayed in The River Watcher (1965). Charteris later developed a strong friendship with Mosley's son, Nicholas, 3rd Baron Ravensdale, who inspired a Congo mercenary in that same novel.

After 1965 Charteris wrote for television. His most popular work was Take Three Girls (1969–71), based upon a flat-share. His greatest critical success came, however, with The Toggle, a moving portrayal of the helpless isolation of a schoolboy controlled by cold, harsh adults.

Charteris was noted for his beauty in youth and later was gauntly handsome. He died of cancer on 20 December 1970, at his home, The Grange, Elvington, Yorkshire, and was buried in St Helen's churchyard, Skipwith, York.

In 1952 his sister Anne Charteris married Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels.


  • The Indian Summer of Gabriel Murray
  • The Coat
  • The Tide is Right
  • Pictures on a Wall
  • Marching with April
  • Picnic at Porokorro
  • A Share of the World
  • Staying with Aunt Rozzie
  • The Lifeline
  • Clunie
  • The River Watcher


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Hugo Francis Guy Charteris's Timeline

December 11, 1922
London, England
Age 47
Elvington, North Yorkshire, England