Arthur Grimble

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Sir Arthur Francis Grimble, KCMG (Hong Kong, 11 June 1888 – London, 13 December 1956) was a British civil servant and writer.


He was educated at Chigwell School and Magdalene College, Cambridge. He then went to France and Germany for postgraduate studies. After joining the Colonial Office in 1914, he became a cadet administrative officer in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, of which he became resident commissioner in 1926. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) on 1 January 1930.[1] Specialist in the myths and oral traditions of Kiribati people, he learned the Gilbertese language.

He remained there until 1933, after which he served as Governor of the Seychelles (1936–1942) and of the Windward Islands (1942–1948).

Literary career[edit]

After retiring and moving to Britain in 1948, he became a writer and broadcaster. He wrote A Pattern of Islands (London, John Murray 1952, published in US as We chose the Islands) and Return to the Islands (1957) which were best-sellers. In 1956 a film Pacific Destiny was based on his experiences. A Pattern of Islands was republished by Eland, London in 2011, ISBN 978-1-906011-45-1. Both Grimble's daughter Rosemary and his son-in-law, Commander Adrian C. C. Seligman, published books of their own.[2]

The best book on his scientific work on the Gilbertese culture has been published by Henry Evans Maude, Tungaru Traditions: writings on the atoll culture of the Gilbert Islands, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1989, ISBN 0-8248-1217-4

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Gordon James Lethem
Governor of the Seychelles
Succeeded by
Sir William Logan
Preceded by
Sir Henry Bradshaw Popham
Governor of the Windward Islands
18 May 1942–1948
Succeeded by
Brigadier Sir Robert Arundell


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  2. ^ "Adrian Seligman". The Telegraph. 21 August 2003. Retrieved 29 March 2017.