H. M. Tomlinson

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H. M. Tomlinson

Henry Major Tomlinson (21 June 1873 – 5 February 1958) was a British writer and journalist. He was known for anti-war and travel writing, novels and short stories, especially of life at sea. He was born and died in London.[1]


Tomlinson was brought up in Poplar, London. He worked as a shipping clerk, and then as a reporter for the Morning Leader newspaper; he travelled up the Amazon River for it.

In World War I he was an official correspondent for the British Army, in France. In 1917 he returned to work with H. W. Massingham on The Nation, which opposed the war. He left the paper in 1923, when Massingham resigned because of a change of owner and political line. His 1931 book Norman Douglas was one of the first biographies of that scandalous but then much admired writer.


  • The Sea and the Jungle. Being the narrative of the voyage of the tramp steamer Capella from Swansea to Santa Maria de Belem do Grao Para in the Brazils (1912)
  • Old Junk (1918) stories
  • London River (1921) revised 1951
  • Waiting for Daylight (1922)
  • Tidemarks: Some Records of a Journey to the Beaches of the Moluccas and the Forest of Malaya in 1923 (1924)
  • Gifts of Fortune With Some Hints For Those About to Travel (1926)
  • Under the Red Ensign (1926)
  • Gallions Reach (novel) (1927)
  • Out Of Soundings (1928)
  • A Brown Owl (1928)
  • Illusion: 1915 (1928)
  • Thomas Hardy (1929)
  • Côte d'Or (1929)
  • Between the Lines (1930)
  • War Books: A Lecture Given at Manchester University 15 February 1929 (1930)
  • All Our Yesterdays (1930)
  • The Sky's the Limit (1930)
  • Great Sea Stories of All Nations (1930) editor
  • Best Short Stories Of the War (1931) editor
  • Norman Douglas (1931)
  • An Illustrated Catalogue of Rare Books on the East Indies and A Letter to a Friend (1932)
  • The Snows of Helicon (1933)
  • South to Cadiz (1934)
  • Below London Bridge (1934)
  • Mars His Idiot (1935)
  • RMS Queen Mary, a noble tribute to the imagination of man (1935) with E. P. Leigh-Bennett
  • Pipe All Hands (1937) novel
  • The Day Before: A Romantic Chronicle (1939)
  • Modern Travel (1939) editor, anthology
  • Ports of Call (1939) in The Queen's Book of the Red Cross
  • The Wind is Rising. The war diary of H. M. Tomlinson and a vision of all our tomorrows (1941)
  • The Turn of the Tide (1945)
  • Morning Light: The Islanders in the Days of Oak and Hemp (1946)
  • Malay waters. the story of little ships coasting out of Singapore and Penang in peace and war (1950)
  • The Face of the Earth (1950)
  • The Haunted Forest (1951)
  • A Mingled Yarn: Autobiographical Sketches (1953)
  • H. M. Tomlinson: a Selection from His Writings (1953) edited by Kenneth Hopkins
  • The Trumpet Shall Sound (1957)


Tomlinson was much admired in the 1920s.[2] In 1921, Christopher Morley praised what he saw as the "exquisite, considered prose" to be found in Tomlinson's 1918 book of essays, Old Junk:

How direct and satisfying a passage to the mind Mr. Tomlinson's paragraphs have. How they build and cumulate, how the sentences shift, turn and move in delicate loops and ridges under the blowing wind of thought, like the sand of the dunes that he describes in one essay.[3]

Frederic P. Mayer, however, writing in the Virginia Quarterly Review, expressed a less admiring view:[4]

Because his book is labeled fiction, H. M. Tomlinson, with the publication of his first novel, "Gallions Reach," is gaining fame. Before, Tomlinson, essayist and traveler, enjoyed but a limited distinction. Recently, however, and mainly through "Gallions Reach," there has grown a Tomlinson vogue. He has been praised as "a second Conrad." The truth is, Tomlinson does not derive from nor resemble Conrad.[4]


  1. ^ H. M. Tomlinson (English writer) – Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ Horwill, Herbert W. (25 September 1927). "The New York Times". London Acclaims Mr. Tomlinson. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  3. ^ Morley, Christopher, ed., Modern Essays, p.210 (New York 1921).
  4. ^ a b Frederick P. Mayer, 1928.


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