Compton Mackenzie was born in West Hartlepool in 1883. He was educated at St Paul's School and Magdalen College, Oxford. During the First World War he became a Captain in the Royal Marines, becoming Director of the Aegean Intelligence Service. He wrote more than ninety books - novels, history and biography, essays and criticism, children's stories and verse, and was also an outstanding broadcaster. He founded and edited until 1961 the magazine the Gramophone, and was President of the Siamese Cat Club. He lived for many years on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, but later settled in Edinburgh. Compton Mackenzie died in 1972.