Coningsby Dawson

Coningsby Dawson (26 February 1883 – 10 August 1959[1]) was an Anglo-American novelist and soldier, Canadian Field Artillery, born at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.

Coningsby Dawson
Coningsby Dawson in 1919.jpg
Dawson in 1919
Born(1883-02-26)February 26, 1883
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
DiedAugust 10, 1959(1959-08-10) (aged 76)
Service/branchCanadian Forces


Dawson attended Merton College, Oxford, matriculating in 1902 and taking a second class degree in Modern History in 1905.[2] He spent a year taking a theological course at Union Seminary but decided on a career as a writer.


In the same year he went to America, where he did special work for English newspapers on Canadian subjects, traveling widely during the period. He lived at Taunton, Massachusetts, from 1906 to 1910, when he became literary adviser to the George H. Doran Publishing Company.[1]

At his parents' home<20 years in America, WJ Dawson> in Taunton, Massachusetts, he wrote poems, short stories, and three novels: Garden Without Walls (1913), an immediate success, followed by The Raft and Slaves of Freedom. In 1906 while travelling in western Canada collecting material for magazine articles Coningsby stayed in Nelson, British Columbia. He was impressed with the beauty of the Kootenays and sent a telegram to his brother Reg, encouraging him to come west and try his hand at apple growing. Coningsby's father purchased 40 acres and Reg cleared the land, built a cabin and planted trees. The ranch, as it was called, became a summer destination for the family. In his wartime letters home Con fondly recalls the time spent at the ranch as he gazes at the moon from the battlefield trenches.<Hope & 40 Acres: A Nelson Memoir, Reginald Dawson>

Military serviceEdit

In 1914, he went to Ottawa, saw Sir Sam Hughes, and was offered a commission in the Canadian Field Artillery on the completion of his training at the Royal Military College of Canada, at Kingston, Ontario. "His long training at Kingston had been very severe. It included besides the various classes which he attended a great deal of hard exercise, long rides or foot marches over frozen roads before breakfast, and so forth."

In July 1916 he was selected, with twenty-four other officers, for immediate service in France. His younger brothers enlisted in the Naval Patrol, then being recruited in Canada by Commander Armstrong.

Lieutenant Coningsby Dawson joined the Canadian Army at the front in 1916, and continued in service until the end of World War I. He served in the Somme battlefield at Albert, at Thiepval, at Courcelette, and at the taking of the Regina trench.

Civilian careerEdit

After having been wounded he came twice to the United States (1917, 1918) on lecture tours. In 1918, he investigated for the British Ministry of Information, American military preparedness in France.

The Project Gutenberg EBook #14086 of Carry On: Letters in Wartime, by Lieutenant Coningsby Dawson, Novelist and Soldier, Canadian Field Artillery 1917 includes:

  • "By the time this reaches you I'll be in the line again, but for the present I'm undergoing a special course of training. You can't hear the most distant sound of guns, and if it wasn't for the pressure of study, similar to that at Kingston, one would be very rested." February 4, 1917.[3]

In 1919, he went to England to study European reconstruction problems, and subsequently lectured on the subject of the United States. He also visited and reported on the devastated regions of Central and Eastern Europe at the request of Herbert Hoover.

He also edited, with his father W. J. Dawson, The Reader's Library, and Best Short Stories (1923).

Partial list of WorksEdit

  • The Worker and Other Poems (1906)
  • The House of Weeping Women (1908)
  • Murder Point (1910)
  • The Road to Avalon (1911)
  • The Garden Without Walls (1913)
  • Florence on a Certain Night and other Poems (1914)
  • The Raft (1914)
  • The Unknown Country (1915)
  • Slaves of Freedom (1916)
  • The Seventh Christmas (1917, 1921)
  • Carry On: Letters in Wartime (1917 [3]
  • The Glory of the Trenches (1918)
  • Out to Win (1918)
  • Living Bayonets (1919)
  • The Test of Scarlet (1919)
  • The Little House (1920)
  • It Might Have Happened to You (1921)
  • The Kingdom Round the Corner (1921, 1923)
  • The Vanishing Point (1922)
  • Christmas Outside Eden (1922)
  • The Moon Through Glass (1934)
  • Inspiration Valley (1935)


  1. ^ a b "Mr. Coningsby Dawson". The Times (54537). 12 August 1959. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  2. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 29.
  3. ^ a b


  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876–1918. Volume II: 1919–1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984
  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 94.
  • Project Gutenberg EBook #14086 of 'Carry On: Letters in Wartime', by Lieutenant Coningsby Dawson, Novelist and Soldier, Canadian Field Artillery 1917.

External linksEdit