|Author||R. F. Delderfield|
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|LC Class||PZ3.D37618 Tn PR6007.E36|
To Serve Them All My Days is a novel by British author R. F. Delderfield.
First published in 1972, the book was adapted for television in 1980. It has been adapted twice by Shaun McKenna, first as a stage play at the Royal Theatre Northampton (Royal & Derngate) in 1992and again as a five-part series of 45-minute plays for BBC Radio 4, first broadcast in January 2006.
David Powlett-Jones, a coal miner's son from South Wales, has risen from the ranks of the South Wales Borderers and been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in World War I after serving three years in the front-line trenches. In 1918, after being injured and shell-shocked, he is employed to teach history at Bamfylde School, a fictional public school in North Devon.
Under the tutelage of Headmaster Algy Herries, who views him as a possible successor, David discovers a vocation in teaching. He swiftly earns the respect of many of his colleagues and forms a close friendship with the curmudgeonly English master, Ian Howarth, and with several students of unique personality and talents. He clashes with Carter, an ambitious science master and Commanding Officer of the school's Officer Training Corps (OTC), whose actual military service was embarrassingly brief, cut short for medical reasons. Following the Armistice, the two men disagree on whether or not the school should erect a war memorial; David loses the argument but wins the respect of Brigadier Cooper, one of the school governors.
In 1919 David marries a young nurse, Beth Marwood; shortly afterwards, they have twin daughters, Joan and Grace. Five years later, Beth and Joan are killed in a road accident; Grace is badly injured and requires many months of rehabilitation before returning home. After encouragement from one of his pupils, a distraught David contemplates life without Beth, and he carries on for the sake of Grace.
David remains concerned about life in Wales, particularly among the miners, and is politically affected by the General Strike of 1926. He returns to writing a scholarly biography of Margaret of Anjou, which he had put to one side after Beth's death. Whilst researching the book in London, he once again meets Julia Darbyshire, a teacher who had worked briefly at Bamfylde, and strikes up a romance with her.
In 1927 Herries retires; David and Carter apply for the headship, but the governors, unable to decide between them, appoint a South African named Alcock. His authoritarian management of the school makes him highly unpopular among the staff and the boys. David and Carter, faced with a common enemy, settle their differences, but Carter resigns to take over a school of his own, and several other masters also resign. In 1931 Alcock petitions the Board of Governors to dismiss David, whom he regards as the ringleader of the opposition. After being told that the Board's report will back David, Alcock dies of a heart attack while writing out his resignation. David is appointed as his successor and moves the school forward.
David's relationship with Julia ends when she travels to the USA with her boss, whom she marries. David becomes romantically involved with Christine Forster. She is determined to build a career as a Labour politician but is unable to break into this male-dominated world. They later marry. After initial difficulty adjusting to life at Bamfylde, Christine accepts a teaching position at the school and they have a son.
Julia Darbyshire's son, born soon after she moved to the USA, becomes a pupil at Bamfylde. At the end of the book Julia informs David in a letter, shortly before her death from breast cancer, that he is the boy's real father. As the book ends, World War II has begun, and David is facing the prospect of losing many of his former pupils in another war.
To Serve Them All My Days mirrors the history of Britain in the post-Great War era, casting David's experiences against the difficulties, contradictions, and social issues of the inter-war years. David's life focuses on how Britain comes to terms with the turmoil of the Great War, the General Strike, socialism and the formation of the National Government in particular.
"Bamfylde", the fictional independent school in North Devon, was influenced by West Buckland School, the school that R.F. Delderfield himself attended. The headmaster during his time there was Ernest Charles Harries and his wife was Eleanor (Nellie) on whom the characters Algy Herries and his wife are based.West Buckland School has adopted some of the names used by Delderfield in his novel, naming two new boarding houses Boyer and Bamfylde, and a new preparatory school building after Delderfield himself.
A 1972 book review by Kirkus Reviews called the book "A pleasant autumnal comforter for Delderfield's following, which, if unrolled by the yard, day after day, will serve to the first snowflake."The Historical Novel Society called the book "a gentle meander of a novel that occasionally becomes a plod. Anyone who is a teacher will absolutely long for the kind of pupils who populate the pages. Even the delinquent ones are thoroughly good eggs underneath while David Powlett-Jones is an absolute saint who can set any troubled child on the right path, including the bed-wetters and illicit pipe smokers! However, that’s not to sneer. It’s a genuinely warm, comforting novel."
Ronald Frederick Delderfield was an English novelist and dramatist, some of whose works have been adapted for television and film.
Andrew Wynford Davies is a Welsh writer of screenplays and novels, best known for House of Cards and A Very Peculiar Practice, and his adaptations of Vanity Fair, Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, Bleak House and War & Peace. He was made a BAFTA Fellow in 2002.
Dartington Hall in Dartington, near Totnes, Devon, England, is an historic house and country estate of 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) dating from medieval times. The group of late 14th century buildings are Grade I listed; described in Pevsner's Buildings of England as "one of the most spectacular surviving domestic buildings of late Medieval England", along with Haddon Hall and Wingfield Manor. The medieval buildings are grouped around a huge courtyard; the largest built for a private residence before the 16th Century, and the Great Hall itself is the finest of its date in England. The west range of the courtyard is regarded as nationally one of the most notable examples of a range of medieval lodgings. The medieval buildings were restored from 1926 to 1938.
Sir Richard Grenville, also spelt Greynvile, Greeneville, and Greenfield, was an English privateer and explorer. Grenville was lord of the manors of Stowe, Cornwall and Bideford, Devon. He subsequently participated in the plantations of Ireland, the English colonisation of the Americas and the repulse of the Spanish Armada.
Jean-Baptiste Antoine Marcelin Marbot, known as Marcellin Marbot, was a French general, famous for his memoirs depicting the Napoleonic age of warfare. He belongs to a family that has distinguished itself particularly in the career of arms, giving three generals to France in less than 50 years. His elder brother, Antoine Adolphe Marcelin Marbot, was also a military man of some note.
Stalky & Co. is a novel by Rudyard Kipling about adolescent boys at a British boarding school. It is a collection of school stories whose juvenile protagonists display a know-it-all, cynical outlook on patriotism and authority. It was first published in 1899 after the stories had appeared in magazines during the previous two years. It is set at a school dubbed "the College" or "the Coll.", which is based on the actual United Services College that Kipling attended as a boy. The character Beetle, one of the main trio, is partly based on Kipling himself, while the charismatic character Stalky is based on Lionel Dunsterville, M'Turk is based on George Charles Beresford, Mr King is based on William Carr Crofts, and the headmaster, Mr. Bates, is based on Cormell Price, headmaster of the United Services College.
Hugh Fortescue, 2nd Earl Fortescue KG, PC, styled Viscount Ebrington from 1789 to 1841, was a British Whig politician. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1839 to 1841.
Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole, CBE was an English novelist. He was the son of an Anglican clergyman, intended for a career in the church but drawn instead to writing. Among those who encouraged him were the authors Henry James and Arnold Bennett. His skill at scene-setting and vivid plots, as well as his high profile as a lecturer, brought him a large readership in the United Kingdom and North America. He was a best-selling author in the 1920s and 1930s but has been largely neglected since his death.
Blundell's School is a co-educational day and boarding independent school in the English public school tradition, located in Tiverton, Devon. It was founded in 1604 under the will of Peter Blundell, one of the richest men in England at the time, and moved to its present site on the outskirts of the town in 1882.
Alfred William Alcock was a British physician, naturalist, and carcinologist.
Raymond Buckland whose craft name was Robat, was an English writer on the subject of Wicca and the occult, and a significant figure in the history of Wicca, of which he was a high priest in both the Gardnerian and Seax-Wica traditions.
West Buckland School is an independent school in West Buckland, Devon in the English public school tradition. It comprises a senior school, preparatory school, and a nursery. It is a relatively high performing school in Devon. It was one of eight schools shortlisted for 'Boarding School of the Year' in the TES Independent School Awards 2019, a category won by Cottesmore School.
Buckland Brewer is a village and civil parish in the Torridge district of Devon, England, 4.7 miles south of Bideford. Historically the parish formed part of Shebbear Hundred. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 777, increasing to 794 at the 2011 census The village is part of Waldon electoral ward. The population for this at the same census was 1,679.
Prideaux Place is a grade I listed Elizabethan country house in the parish of Padstow, Cornwall, England. It has been the home of the Prideaux family for over 400 years. The house was built in 1592 by Sir Nicholas Prideaux (1550–1627), a distinguished lawyer, and was enlarged and modified by successive generations, most notably by his great-great-grandson Edmund Prideaux (1693–1745) and by the latter's grandson Rev. Charles Prideaux-Brune (1760–1833). The present building, containing 81 rooms, combines the traditional E-shape of Elizabethan architecture with the 18th-century exuberance of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill Gothic.
Parkham is a small village, civil parish and former manor situated 5 miles south-west of the town of Bideford in north Devon, England. The parish, which lies within the Kenwith ward in the Torridge district, is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of Alwington, Littleham, Buckland Brewer, East Putford and Woolfardisworthy. In 2001 its population was 742, compared to 786 in 1901.
A Horseman Riding By is a sequence of 3 novels by R. F. Delderfield written between 1966 and 1968. It starts in 1902 at the tail end of the Boer War and is continued in the sequels to end in 1965. The first book is set in Devon in the early 20th century. It was to some extent an elegy for the traditional society which was blown apart by the First World War.
To Serve Them All My Days is a British television drama series, adapted by Andrew Davies from R. F. Delderfield's 1972 novel To Serve Them All My Days. It was first broadcast by the BBC over 13 episodes in 1980 and 1981. It was broadcast in Australia in 1981 by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and in 1982 by PBS in the United States as part of their Masterpiece Theatre anthology series.
The Dragonfly Pool is a children's novel by author Eva Ibbotson. It is illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
John Charles Herries Brooke was Dean of Cape Town from 1932 to 1947.
Words on Bathroom Walls is a 2020 American coming-of-age romantic drama film directed by Thor Freudenthal and written by Nick Naveda, based on the novel of the same name by Julia Walton. The film stars Charlie Plummer, Andy García, Taylor Russell, AnnaSophia Robb, Beth Grant, Molly Parker and Walton Goggins.