Robert Chartham

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Robert Chartham was the pseudonym of Ronald Sydney Seth (5 June 1911,[1] England – 1 February 1985[2]), a British writer who used the name Chartham for his activity as a sexologist and the name Seth for travel books and books about espionage.

As a child Seth was a chorister at Ely Cathedral and a King's Scholar at King's School, Ely.[3] He was educated at Cambridge University.[4]

Appointed Professor of Literature at the University of Tallinn, Seth returned to London at the start of World War II, joining the BBC and helping to start the Monitoring Intelligence Bureau.[4] In 1941 he was commissioned into the RAF and in 1942 joined SOE.[4] Parachuted into Estonia, he was captured by the Germans and trained by the Sicherheitsdienst as an agent for a mission to Britain.[5] Seth spent most of the rest of the war as a "stool pigeon" in Oflag 79, but in April 1945 was entrusted with a message of peace by Himmler, which he carried to London via Switzerland.[4]

Chartham's career included teaching and counselling in European universities, lecturing to British university students on "How to Enjoy Sex" and serving as a counsellor in his own London clinic.

He was an editorial consultant to Forum: The International Journal of Human Relations.

In the 1970s Seth lived in Malta with his second wife, Barbara McAdam Seth.[6]


as Ronald Seth:

  • Baltic Corner: Travel in Estonia, 1939
  • A Spy Has No Friends, 1952. Republished 2008 by Barbara Seth, Seth's second wife.[7]
  • Secret Servants, 1957
  • For My Name's Sake, 1958
  • Two Fleets Surprised, 1960
  • Forty Years of Soviet Spying, 1965
  • Caporetto, 1965
  • Russell Pasha, 1966
  • The Russian Terrorists, 1967
  • The Executioners: The Story of SMERSH, 1967
  • Spies: Their Trade and Their Tricks, 1969
  • Encyclopedia of Espionage, 1972
  • Jackals of the Reich, 1972

as Dr. Robert Chartham:

  • Mainly for Wives, 1963
  • Sex Manners for Advanced Lovers, 1969
  • The Sensuous Couple, 1971
  • Your Sexual Future, 1973


  1. ^ HS 9/1344-1345, The National Archives
  2. ^ "SETH.–On February 1st, after a too long illness, Ronald, alias Dr Robert Chartham, aged 73 years", 'Deaths', The Times, 6 February 1985
  3. ^ Information about the author in Unmasked! The story of Soviet espionage
  4. ^ a b c d Obituary, The Times, 5 February 1985.
  5. ^ KV 2/377-380, The National Archives
  6. ^ 'Presentation of paintings to Din l-Art Óelwa', Vigilo 31, April 2007
  7. ^ 'War hero lived to tell tale after gallows failure', Kentish Express, 16 October 2008

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