Percy F. Westerman

Percy Francis Westerman (1876 - 1959) was a prolific author of children's literature, many of his books adventures with military themes.

He was born in Portsmouth, England and educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, before taking up a clerical appointment at Portsmouth Dockyard. He married Florence Wager, of Portsmouth, in 1900. Always keen sailors, they spent part of their honeymoon sailing in the Solent. Their son, John F.C. Westerman, born in 1901, also wrote adventure books for boys.

At the age of 70 he was reluctantly forced by a fall to leave his houseboat for dry land, but he continued writing apace. He died at the age of 82, and his last book, Mistaken Identity was published posthumously in 1959.

His writing career allegedly began with a sixpence bet made with his wife that he could write a better story than the one he was reading to his son, who was at the time ill with chickenpox. His first book for boys, 'A Lad of Grit', was published in 1908. In the same year, Baden-Powell founded the Scouting movement, which strongly influenced many of Westerman's books - he was a particularly keen supporter of the Sea Scouts. He published a further three books in 1911, which were so successful that he gave up his Admiralty appointment that year to become a full-time author. He lived on board a houseboat - a converted Thames barge - on the River Frome at Wareham in Dorset, where he wrote the majority of his books.

During the First World War he was initially employed on coastal duties by the Royal Navy, but in 1918 he was commissioned, like W. E. Johns, in the Royal Flying Corps, as an instructor of navigation. During the Second World War he commanded a company of the Dorset Home Guard. He wrote to Blackie of his service in the two wars that "neither appointment seriously interfered with my literary output."

During the 1930s Westerman was voted the most popular author of stories for boys. His books sold over one and a half million copies in his lifetime and he published over 170 books, with 12 different firms.

Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
1782 A Midshipman of the Fleet A boy picked up from the sea after the sinking of the Royal George becomes a Midshipman
  Bob Strickland's Log (No information available)
  Jack Craddock's Commission (No information available)
  The Last of the Buccaneers Young Somerville sails with Anson in the famous Centurion as a midshipman.
  'Gainst the Might of Spain A story of the days of the Great Armada

AOS Other Nautical Fiction

Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
  A Lad of Grit A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea in Restoration Times
  The Quest of the "Golden Hope" A 17th Century swashbuckling sea adventure
  Missing, Believed Lost Bewildered schoolboys find themselves on a voyage to a West Indian island.

Modern Era Naval Fiction

Series: John Cloche
Year  Book  Comment
WWII Fighting for Freedom Cloche is engaged in turning back the tide of the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.
WWII Destroyer's Luck (No information available)
WWII Sub-Lieutenant John Cloche Cloche witnesses the sinking of Ark Royal, and later, Prince of Wales and Repulse
WWII 'Engage the Enemy Closely' A tale of gunboat warfare in the English Channel
WWII 'Operations Successfully Executed' Cloche is chosen for the 3 man crew of a midget submarine
WWII Return to Base Cloche is missing following a Channel encounter
  The Mystery of the Key A party which, onboard a former trawler, set out to try their luck at sponge-getting


Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
WWI The Thick of the Fray at Zeebrugge H.M.T.B.D. Bolero is sunk by a German U-boat
WWI The Submarine Hunters The story of the Capella
  The Bulldog Breed Three "on the beach" officers take service with the Valdorian Government, joining the Navy.
  The Flying Submarine Holmsby and his friend Tresillian desire to secure the invention for the British Fleet.
  The Sea Monarch Rescued sub-lt. Gerald Tregarthen is forced to serve on the cruiser Olive Branch.
  The Rival Submarines A story of naval divers
  The Stolen Cruiser (No information available)
WWI A Sub of the R. N. R. A story of the Great War
WWI Rounding up the Raider A naval story of the Great War
WWI Under the White Ensign A naval story of the Great War
WWI A Watch-dog of the North Sea A naval story of the Great War
  The Fritz-Strafers aka
The Keepers of the Narrow Seas
(No information available)
WWI With Beatty off Jutland A romance of the great sea fight
WWI A Sub. and a Submarine The Story of H.M. Submarine R19 in the Great War
WWI The Mystery Ship A story of the "Q" Ships during the Great War
  The Terror of the Seas (No information available)
  A Shanghai Adventure (No information available)
  The Disappearing Dhow (No information available)
  The Black Hawk (No information available)
  The Red Pirate (No information available)
  Captain Flick (No information available)
  Midshipman Raxworthy (No information available)
  Midshipman Webb's Treasure (No information available)
  The Phantom Submarine (No information available)
Short Story Anthologies
WWI The Secret Channel and Other Stories of the Great War  

Modern Era Other Nautical Fiction

Series: Alan Carr
Year  Book  Comment
  His First Ship Alan Carr is too young to be accepted by the Golden Line but gets a job on the small coastal vessel Mary Rumbold.
  His Unfinished Voyage Carr joins the Golden Effort for a voyage to Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo
  Cadet Alan Carr Cadet Alan Carr is appointed to the Golden Vanity
  In Eastern Seas Carr joins the Golden Venture at Liverpool but the ship is soon stranded on the sands at Formby
WWII The War - and Alan Carr The Golden Venture is at sea when war is declared between Britain and Germany
  War Cargo (No information available)
  Alan Carr in the Near East A Cadet's life and adventures aboard the S.S. Golden Venture during the World War
  Alan Carr in the Arctic (No information available)
WWII Secret Convoy The S.S. Golden Crest is in dock in New York where she is converted to take ramps for Sherman Tanks.
  Alan Carr in Command (No information available)
  Held in the Frozen North (No information available)
*** This series is built around the firm of Whatmough and Duvant who own and run the "Golden" line of ships. This firm is the basis of other works by the author and Alan Carr may have a 'walk on' part in such works.


Series: Golden Line
Year  Book  Comment
  A Cadet of the Mercantile Marine Peter Kelso sails as a cadet on the Golden Vanity, a fully-rigged ship of 3200 tons.
  Chums of the "Golden Vanity" In a storm the Arran Dhu is on its beam ends when the Golden Vanity arrives.
  On Board the "Golden Effort" (No information available)
  The Good Ship "Golden Effort" Keith Harrington is a cadet on the Golden Effort when it is shipwrecked.
  The "Golden Gleaner" Angus Cross anxious to follow the example of his uncle and go to sea, is accepted as a cadet by the "Golden Line".
  Round the World in the "Golden Gleaner" (No information available)
  Working their Passage Two Sea Scouts are rescued, none too soon, by the Golden Gleaner.
  East in the "Golden Gain" (No information available)
  The Luck of the "Golden Dawn" (No information available)
  Pat Stobart in the "Golden Dawn" (No information available)
  The Junior Cadet aka
Norman goes to Sea
Junior Cadet Norman Mansell takes up his first post on the Golden Pursuit at Southampton Docks
  All Hands to the Boats Fourth Officer Norman Mansell is loaned to the rival Blue Bird Line


Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
WWII By Luck and by Pluck The story of apprentices on the Mulcaster, before and during D-Day
  Held to Ransom Sir Montague Corton takes a Mediterranean cruise in the ex-naval craft Zenna.
  The Salving of the Fusi Yama Desperate rivalry, diving, a hurricane, and a quest for sunken treasure
  The Senior Cadet (No information available)
  The Third Officer A present-day pirate story
  The Wireless Officer (No information available)
  The Pirate Submarine When a ship dismantling business runs into trouble one is turned into the pirate submarine Alerte.
  Captain Cain After the submarine Alerte is sunk some of the crew escape
  The Buccaneers of Boya (No information available)
  Leslie Dexter, Cadet (No information available)
  Captain Fosdyke's Gold Follows Rob Wroxhall, assistant engineer to a sea salvage firm
  Captain Sang Leslie Hughes is a victim of assault in an American seaport
  Rocks Ahead! (No information available)
  Andy-All-Alone (No information available)
  The Call of the Sea (No information available)
  In Dangerous Waters (No information available)
  Unfettered Might A yacht wanders into an atomic testing area
  Contraband (No information available)
  Desolation Island A hunt for Australian gold lost in a shipwreck
  The Mystery of the Sempione (No information available)
  Rolling down to Rio A voyage from Southampton to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires

The author’s official web site is (Fan site-The Westerman Yarns)

© 2008-2024 David Hayes (Astrodene)