Leo Walmsley

Leo Walmsley


Leo Walmsley was born in the town of Shipley in West Yorkshire, England, and his family moved to the village of Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast when he was two years old. He grew up with a deep and abiding love for the moors and the coast of the area which expressed itself in his "Bramblewick" books written in the 1930s. These stories immortalised the local fishing community as well as Robin Hood's Bay itself.

He was awarded the Military Cross whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps in East Africa during the First World War and later travelled widely in search of adventure. With his family he lived in various parts of the British Isles before finally settling in Fowey, Cornwall, where he died in 1966.

Readers of Walmsley's books will know that they are largely autobiographical and visits by the Society to many of the places which Leo knew and described have given members a deeper understanding of the life and works of the author.

In Walmsley's centenary year (1992), three of his 'Bramblewick' books about the Yorkshire fishermen, Three Fevers, Phantom Lobster and Sally Lunn were reprinted in new editions by Yorkshire publishers Smith Settle to appeal to a new generation of readers.

Other titles also made available included Paradise Creek (Fowey Rare Books, 1995), Guide to the Geology of the Whitby District (Walmsley Society, 1995) and Sound of the Sea (Smith Settle, 1996). However, such is the popularity of Leo's writing that these books quickly went out of print until the Walmsley Society began a republishing programme in 2005.

A complete biography, Shells & Bright Stones, was written by Society experts and published in 2001. A review can be seen here, and is available for purchase from the Society's Book Shop. Few new copies remain.


  • 1914 – Guide to the Geology of the Whitby District
  • 1919 – Fossils of the Whitby District
  • 1920 – Flying and Sport in East Africa
  • 1921 – The Silver Blimp
  • 1923 – The Lure of Thunder Island
  • 1926 – The Green Rocket
  • 1926 – Toro of the Little People
  • 1932 – Three Fevers
  • 1933 – Phantom Lobster
  • 1935 – Foreigners
  • 1937 – Sally Lunn
  • 1939 – Love in the Sun
  • 1941 – Fishermen at War
  • 1942 – British Ports and Harbours
  • 1944 – So Many Loves (autobiography)
  • 1944 – Sally Lunn (play)
  • 1948 – Master Mariner
  • 1951 – Lancashire and Yorkshire
  • 1952 – Invisible Cargo
  • 1954 – The Golden Waterwheel
  • 1957 – The Happy Ending
  • 1959 – Sound of the Sea
  • 1963 – Paradise Creek
  • 1965 – Angler's Moon

A full bibliography of Leo's writing is also available from the Walmsley Society Book shop, as are some of his recently republished novels.

Walmsley book cover image

The new editions

The Walmsley Society is now republishing Leo's books, having begun with Three Fevers in 2005, and fully-edited editions of Angler's Moon and Foreigners in 2008. By 2014 eleven of his books were available in the bookshops.

Some of these have also been prepared as Kindle editions.

See the new books here

Some of the new editions

Foreigners, Penguin edition

Master Mariner, repub. 2011
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