H. E. Bates Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


H. E. Bates

Birthday :

May 16, 1905

Died On :

January 24, 1974

Birth Place :

Rushden, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

Zodiac Sign :


Childhood And Early Life

The English writer Herbert Ernest Bates was born on the 16 May 1905 in Rushden, Northhampshire England.



H. E. Bates was educated at Kettering Grammar School.


Rise To Stardom

Bates's first novel, The Two Sisters was published in 1925 when he was working as a reporter at a newspaper in Wellingborough. He was twenty years old at the time. The novel was rejected eight times by various publisher until Bloomsbury editor Edward Garrett recommended that it be accepted.



H. E. Bates was a friend of Edward Garrett’s son David who worked for the Ministry of Aviation. During World War II Bates approached David Garrett to enquire as to who best he could serve. He was advised to apply for a commission in the RAF Reserve. He was subsequently appointed to the Public Relations Branch with the task of traveling around talking to airmen and documenting their stories in short story form.

H. E. Bates joined the RAF in late 1941 and did his training at the RAF base in Uxbridge before being given several postings including a Bomber Command base in Cambridgeshire to gather information for his stories. The stories he wrote about the airmen published in two collections: The Greatest People in the World (1942) and How to Sleep the Brave (1943). He also wrote three novels about World War II: Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944), The Purple Rain (1946) set in Burma and The Jacaranda Tree (1948) set in India.

By the time World War II had ended Bates was an established writer and went on to produce many novels, short stories and articles including From The Nature of Love (1954), Colonel Julian (1955), The Darling Buds of May (1958), A Moment in Time (1964), The Vanishing Wind (1969) The Triple Echo (1970) and The Blossoming World (1971).

The Darling Buds of May and its sequel was made into a television series, The Darling Buds of May, which ran on British television from 1991 until 1993. The series starred Pam Ferris, Philip Franks, David Jason and a young Catherine Zeta-Jones. The series was a big hit and was a breakthrough for Zeta-Jones.


Personal Life

H. E. Bates was married to Madge Cox. They had four children, two daughters, and two sons.

H. E. Bates died on 29 January 1974 in Canterbury, Kent, aged 68.

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