Ronald Welch

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Ronald Welch (14 December 1909 – 5 February 1982)[1] was the pseudonym of Welsh writer Ronald Oliver Felton TD, who wrote in English. He is best known for children's historical fiction. He won the 1956 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association for the year's best children's book by a British author, for Knight Crusader, the first in his so-called Carey Family series of novels.[2]


He was born in Aberavon, West Glamorgan.[1] He was teaching at Bedford Modern School when the Second World War broke out. In 1940 he was commissioned lieutenant in the Welch Regiment, to which his pen name refers. He reached the rank of major and stayed in the Territorial Army after the war. He was for many years headmaster of Okehampton Grammar School in Devon.

Welch's final work, The Road to Waterloo, not strictly speaking part of the Carey family saga but closely connected to it in terms of subject matter, remained unpublished at the time of his death. It was not until 2018 that it was discovered among his papers and published in a special edition by Smith Settle.[3]

Carey family saga[edit]


  • The Carey family home is at Llansteffan Castle (or Llanstephan), Carmarthenshire, Wales. The house may be based on Plas Llanstephan.
  • The home of the junior branch of the Carey family (descended from Rupert Carey) is at Horton Hall, on the Gower.
  • The Carey family has a long-standing connection with the d'Assailly family of France. Neil and Richard Carey (and probably others) married a d'Assailly. The head of the family is the Marquis de Vernaye and the family home is near Graye-sur-Mer (see Escape From France).
  • The heir to the Earl (usually his eldest son) has the title Viscount Cilfrew (Cilfrew is a village near Neath, Glamorgan). Holders of the title mentioned include Denzil and Bernard Carey.
  • The books do not indicate a connection to the Scottish Duke of Aubigny.
  • The Carey coat-of-arms is a black hawk on a yellow background (see Bowman of Crecy, For the King).
  • Nicholas Carey/Ensign Carey and The Hawk/The Galleon are the only books that cover the same periods of time.
  • The books contain explicit dates and historical events so the time period covered is usually easy to calculate


Carey Family Books
Reading order Pub. Date Book Main Characters Other characters Setting
1 1954 Knight Crusader[a] Phillip d'Aubigny Hugo d'Aubigny (father, killed 1187, Battle of Hattin), Gilbert d'Assailly 1186 – 1192?

Third Crusade

2 1966 Bowman of Crécy[b] Hugh Fletcher Sir John Carey (not listed in family trees),

William Assailly

1343? – 1346

Edward III / Hundred Years War / Crecy

3 1967 The Hawk Harry Carey
(later 2nd Earl)
Edward Carey (1st Earl, father), James Carey (uncle), Mary Carey (sister), Margaret Carey (sister) 1584 – 1586

Elizabeth I

4 1971 The Galleon[b] Robert Penderyn Edward Carey (1st Earl of Aubigny), Harry Carey 1583–1586?

Elizabeth I

5 1961 For the King[c] Neil Carey
(later 4th Earl)
Edward Carey (3rd Earl, father), Denzil Carey (brother, killed 1644, Marston Moor) 1642 – 1648

English Civil War / Royalists

6 1956 Captain of Dragoons Charles Carey
(later 6th Earl)
John Carey (cousin, killed 1704),

Vicomte d'Assailly

1703 – 1704

Duke of Marlborough / Battle of Blenheim

7 1958 Mohawk Valley Alan Carey Charles Carey (6th Earl, father), Anne Carey (sister) 1755 – 1759

French and Indian War / General Wolfe / Quebec / Seven Years' War

8 1960 Escape From France[d] Richard Carey
(later 8th Earl)
George Carey (7th Earl, father), Anne Standish (Carey) (aunt), Jeffery Standish (cousin, killed 1794), Rupert Carey (uncle), Christopher Carey (cousin), Peter Carey (cousin)

Quentin d'Assailly, Amelie d'Assailly, Armand d'Assailly, Louise d'Assailly (later Lady Aubigny)

1791 – 1794

Revolutionary France

9 1959 Captain of Foot Christopher Carey Richard Carey (8th Earl, cousin), Peter Carey (brother), Anne Standish (Carey) (aunt)

Louise Aubigny (d'Assailly)

1808 – 1812

Duke of Wellington / Peninsular War

10 2018 The Road to Waterloo James Carey
(later 9th Earl)
Richard Carey (8th Earl, father) 1815

Battle of Quatre Bras

11 1963 Nicholas Carey Nicholas Carey James Carey (9th Earl, cousin), Robert Carey (cousin), Bernard Carey (later 10th Earl, cousin), Andrew Carey (cousin), John Carey (brother),

Felix d'Assailly, Louise Aubigny (d'Assailly)

1853 – 1855

Italian nationalism / Crimean War

12 1976 Ensign Carey William Carey

(killed 1857, Nasirabad, Indian Mutiny)

John Carey (father), Nicholas Carey (uncle), Edward Carey (brother) 1853 – 1857

Indian Mutiny / Bengal Presidency

13 1972 Tank Commander John Carey Peter Carey (father) 1914 – 1917

World War I / The Great War

Family members[edit]

Carey Family Members
Name Born Died Books
Alan 1735 1770 Mohawk Valley
Andrew 1905 Nicholas Carey
Anne 1739 1814 Mohawk Valley, Escape from France,

Captain of Foot


(10th Earl)

1902 Nicholas Carey

(6th Earl)

1681 1767 Captain of Dragoons, Mohawk Valley

(11th Earl)

Christopher 1788 1812 Captain of Foot
Denzil 1644 For the King

(1st Earl)

1594 The Hawk, The Galleon

(3rd Earl)

1655 For the King
Edward 1911 Ensign Carey

(7th Earl)

1734 1800 Escape from France

(2nd Earl)

1630 The Hawk, The Galleon
Henry 1775 1853
James The Hawk

(5th Earl)


(9th Earl)

1796/1798? 1868 Nicholas Carey, The Road to Waterloo
John 1704 Captain of Dragoons
John 1885 Nicholas Carey, Ensign Carey
John Alive in 1976 Tank Commander
Lawrence 1693
Margaret The Hawk
Mary The Hawk
Mary 1937
Matthew 1590

(4th Earl)

1632 1690 For the King
Nicholas 1910 Nicholas Carey, Ensign Carey
Oliver 1798
Peter 1780 1850 Captain of Foot
Peter 1940 Tank Commander

(8th Earl)

1770 1839 Escape from France, Captain of Foot,

The Road to Waterloo

Robert 1870 Nicholas Carey
Rupert 1737 1807 Escape from France
William 1692
William 1857 Ensign Carey

Military service[edit]

Carey Family – Military Service
Name Rank Unit

(10th Earl)

Captain Dragoons or Dragoon Guards

(Heavy Cavalry)
(probably Dragoon Guards, like Richard)


(6th Earl)

Major Cadogan's Dragoons
Christopher Captain 43rd Light Infantry
Edward Captain Royal Navy

(9th Earl)

Cornet 30th Light Dragoons
John Admiral Royal Navy
John General West Glamorgan Regiment

(fictional, ex 110th Foot), Tank Corps

Nicholas Colonel 110th Foot (fictional)
Peter Admiral Royal Navy

(8th Earl)

Lieutenant-Colonel 3rd Dragoon Guards
William Ensign 84th Bengal Native Infantry




  • The Black Car Mystery (1950)
  • The Clock Stood Still (1951)
  • The Gauntlet (1951)
  • Knight Crusader (1954) —winner of the Carnegie Medal[2]
  • Sker House (novel) (1955) (writing as Ronald Felton) (based on Sker House)
  • Ferdinand Magellan (1955)
  • Captain of Dragoons (1956)
  • "The Long Bow" (1957, booklet consisting of the abridged first three chapters of Bowman of Crécy)
  • Mohawk Valley (1958)
  • Captain of Foot (1959)
  • Escape from France (1960)
  • For the King (1961)[c]
  • Nicholas Carey (1963)
  • Bowman of Crécy (1966)
  • The Hawk (1967)
  • Sun of York (1970)
  • The Galleon (1971)
  • Tank Commander (1972)
  • Zulu Warrior (1974)
  • Ensign Carey (1976)
  • The Road to Waterloo (2018) (posthumous)

† indicates a book in the Carey family series

Short stories[edit]

  • "The Kings Hunt" (1963), Swift Annual 1963[c]
  • "The Joust" (1968), Miscellany Five, edited by Edward Blishen[a]
  • "The King's Hunt" (1970), Thrilling Stories of the Past for Boys, edited by Eric Duthie[c]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Miscellany Five, edited by Edward Blishen (Oxford, 1968), includes a Ronald Welch short story "The Joust", which has as one of its characters Philip d'Aubigny the Crusader, hero of Knight Crusader. The hero, Owen, comes to the favourable attention of Sir Philip and becomes his squire.
  2. ^ a b c d The 1970 short story entitled "The King's Hunt" is set at the 17th century English Civil War battle of Edgehill and Neil Carey appears in it, so it aligns with For the King.
    (Neil Carey does not appear in a 1963 story with the same title, published in the British children's comic Swift.)
  3. ^ Extract appears in "A Date With Danger" (Octopus Books, 1984). Published for Marks and Spencer, a large British retail chain.


  1. ^ a b "Welch, Ronald, 1909–". Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCCN). Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 1954) Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  3. ^ "The Road to Waterloo". Slightly Foxed. Retrieved 10 August 2019.