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Warren Chetham-Strode


Reginald Warren Chetham-Strode (he was christened Reginald but never used his first name), was born on the 28th January 1896 in Henley. He survived the war but his name had already been put on the Memorial. His name was removed and the name of W.S.Yalland was moved to take its place, hence the list is in alphabetical order apart from the name of Yalland. Warren’s brother, Edward Randall Chetham-Strode, was killed in World War 1 and it is thought that this was a case of mistaken identity. They were both in the 2nd Border Regiment, the same Battalion. Warren was the youngest son of Dr Reginald Chetham-Strode, Edward the eldest son. Their father died on 7th August 1943. He was born in New Zealand, who he played cricket for against England in 1879. He came to England to train as surgeon at Edinburgh University (awarded the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Master in Surgery on 1st August 1885). Their mother was Fanny Antonetta Chetham-Strode (nee Andrew) from Helensborough, Scotland. Their parents were married at Saint Andres, Stoke Newington, London on 9th October 1887.

Warren was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset from 1910 to 1913.

Above Sherborne School.

He played cricket in the school 1st XI in 1913.

Above Warren Chetham-Strode in the 1912 Sherborne rugby XV

Above the Sherborne 1913 Junior House Rugby XV. Warren Chetham-Strode is standing 3rd from right.

He joined Clifton Rugby Club in 1913-14.

He attended the club dinner at The Fortt's Hotel, Royal Promenade on 4th April 1914

In 1914 he played cricket for Westbury-on-Trym

Warren was awarded the Military Cross at Buckingham Palace in 1917. This even made the Auckland Weekly News on the 29th March 1917.

His brother, Edward, died on the 1st October 1917. He was the husband of Adeline Chetham-Strode, of 21 Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne.

Early in his life he worked for British American Tobacco in the United States and India.

On the 18th October 1919 he arrived in Liverpool from New York on the RMS Carmania. His address is listed as 74 Twyford Avenue, Acton Hill, London. His occupation as an officer.

Above the RMS Carmania.

His address is also listed as 74 Twyford Avenue, Acton Hill, London on his Medal Roll Card. The rear of Twyford Avenue is the London Wasps training ground.

On the 11th February 1922 he arrived in London from Calcutta, India on the SS Margha. His address is listed as The Sports Club, St. James Square, London. His occupation as a Planter.

On July 16th 1927 he married Moira Hamilton Smith (born 17th December 1903 in Limerick, Ireland), youngest daughter of Captain and Mrs Frederick Thomas Verschoyle, of De Vesel House. Her father was Captain late 2nd Brig. South Irish Div. R.A. (Castle Troy, Co. Limerick) and her mother was Hilda Caroline Blair (they were married 26th Oct 1891). Her mother is part of the Plantagenet Roll of Blood Royal. At the time Warren was living at 61 Eaton Terrace, London. Moira was also a writer and in 1947 wrote the play "The Young May Moon".

On the 4th March 1929 he arrived in Liverpool from New York on the RMS Lancastria. His address is listed as 1523A Ebury Street, London SW1. His occupation as a Director.

Above the RMS Lancastria

His first play was Sometimes Even Now was produced at the Embassy Theatre in 1933 and starred Celia Johnson and Jack Hawkins.

In 1934 his father practised as a surgeon at 60 Wimpole Street, London.

In 1935 he writes the screenplay for his first film, Abdul the Damned.

Above a scene from Abdul the Damned.

Above a scene from Abdul the Damned.

Above a scene from Abdul the Damned.

There is a story from World War 2, that his father, then aged 80, when asked after the siren had gone, what shelter he was going to replied "Shelter? I go up on to the roof with my shot-gun. Shoot them from the roof!"

His father filed for bankruptcy on the 7th September 1940 at the High Court of Justice. At the time he is listed as living at 60 Wimpole Street, London.

His father died on on 7th August 1943. His mother died on 17th July 1946 while in Lincoln.

He became a famous author and playright. He is probably most famous for writing the play “The Guinea Pig” in 1946, which he made into a film starring Richard Attenborough, directed and produced by John Boulting in 1948.

Producer/director John Boulting rehearses Richard Attenborough for the rugger scenes in the Boulting Brothers production "The Guinea Pig" for Pilgrim Pictures at M.G.M. Studios, Elstree. Starring in "The Guinea Pig" with Richard Attenborough is Sheila Sim. Other leading artists are Bernard Miles, Cecil Trouncer, Robert Flemyng and Peter Reynolds. The Play and Screenplay were written by Warren Chetham-Strode. Sheila Sim was the wife of Richard Attenborough.

The movie caused controversial at the time for using the word "Arse" in the script. Sherborne School was used in the film along with students from Kings College for the rugby scenes. Warren's Old School.

Above Richard Attenborough in a scene from The Guinea Pig. This was his 11th film. Two years previously he had starred in Brighton Rock.

Above a 1948 Theatre Royal, London programme for a stage version of the "The Guinea Pig" by Warren Chetham Strode.

He was invited to write the screenplay for the Noel Coward play "Brief Encounter". He reluctantly refused and explained his reasons to Noel Coward in a letter in 1948. "It would need a good deal written in to bring it to a full length picture...Your work cannot be messed about." Noel, however, was clearly in favour of someone else adapting in this case and wrote urging the paywrite to reconsider. This brought a fuller explanation. "It's not a matter of taking your play and adding twenty minutes..Whoever did the script of Brief Encounter [Noel himself] didn't only throw in a few extra trains...I feel that since the war we have come to hold more firmly to the values and security of work and friendship - rather than to the temporary enchantment and excitement of sex."

In 1950 his play "Background" was made into a film. This looked at the effect of divorce on young children. This was typical of the theme of his plays along with public schools and the new Health Service.

In 1951 he wrote the screenplay for the film The Lady With The Lamp, about Florence Nightingale, starring Anna Neagle.

On 24th January 1955 the first instalment, of the serial "The Barloes of Beddington" was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme. His first Radio Play.

He started writing plays and film screenplays. Later he would spend his life writing children's books. Just before he died he was quoted in Martin Middlebrook's classic 'The First Day of the Somme'. Middlebrook had produced this book in 1971 after obtaining first-hand accounts from as many survivors as he could, using the newspaper articles in all the local areas where the relevant regiments originated from. W. Chetham-Strode's contribution concerned the treatment of German prisoners.

His plays provided the acting debuts for Ronnie Barker (first starring role in a stage production of The Guinea Pig), Honor Blackman (in a stage production of The Guinea Pig) and Peter Barkworth (debut as lead in a stage production of The Guinea Pig 1948) .

From the book "Who's Who in the Theatre A Biographical Record of Contemporary Stage" Warren's recreations are listed as Fishing, tennis, and shooting. His Clubs as East India, and Sports and address as Reighton's Farm, Playden, Nr. Rye, Sussex.

Warren Chetham-Strode died on the 26th April 1974. He was living at Playden, Sussex. He had one son, Michael Chetham-Strode.

He was involved in the writing of 9 films between 1935 and 1953. They were

Film Starred Plot

Abdul the Damned (1935)

Role: Screenwriter with Rober Burford.

Director: Karl Grune
Cast: Fritz Kortner, Nils Asther, Adrienne Ames, John Stuart, Walter Rilia
This epic costume drama is set in 1908 Turkey and chronicles the ruthless reign of a paranoid ruler who begins killing everyone he suspects of treachery against him. The despot's loyal chief of police obediently enacts his master's bloody whims until he too stands accused of conspiracy and is sentenced to die. To save him, his lover, a Viennese actress, offers to join the despot's harem.

Two Who Dared (1937)

Role: Screenwriter with Leo Lania

Director: Eugene Frenke
Cast: Anna Sten, Henry Wilcoxon, Viola Keats, John Garrick, Romilly Lunge
Having flunked out as Sam Goldwyn's answer to Greta Garbo, Russian actress Anna Sten retreated to Britain for the 1936 historical drama A Woman Alone. Based on a novel by Fedor Ozop, the film is set in 19th century Russia. Sten plays a peasant girl who falls in love with military captain Henry Wilcoxon. The subsequent emotionally supercharged complications are reminiscent of the similar ill-fated romance in Tolstoy's Resurrection (which Sten had earlier filmed as We Live Again). Produced by Anna Sten's husband Eugene Frenke, A Woman Alone was originally released in Britain as Two Who Dared.

Honeymoon Merry-Go-Round (1939)

Role: Screenwriter

Director: Alfred Goulding
Cast: Sally Gray, Monty Banks, Claude Hulbert, Tully Comber, Princess Pearl.
In this romantic comedy, a new marriage gets off to a rocky start when the newlyweds travel to Switzerland for a peaceful honeymoon and get in a big fight instead. The angry husband takes off in a huff. He goes skating and is mistaken for a champion hockey player on a visiting British team. His bumbling antics on the ice cause the English team to win a crucial victory. They also win the respect of his bride and happiness ensues.
The Day Is Gone (1939)

Director: ?
Cast: Torin Thatcher, Olga Lindo, Raymond Huntley, Valerie Tudor, Arthur Wontner, Lucy Sibley, Eileen Way, Erik Chitty.


TV Film

The Guinea Pig (1948)

Role: Play Author and Screenwriter with Roy Boulting and Bernard Miles.

Director: Roy Boulting
Cast: Richard Attenborough, Sheila Sim, Bernard Miles, Cecil Trouncer, Robert Flemyng, Edith Sharpe, Joan Hickson, Timothy Bateson, Clive Baxter, Basil Cunard, John Forrest, Maureen Glynne, Brenda Hogan, Herbert Lomas, Anthony Newley.

Not a film about scientific research, The Guinea Pig (US title: The Outsider) is the story of an incipient "affirmative action" program. An impoverished young British boy wins a scholarship. As part of a sociological experiment, he becomes the first product of his "class" to be accepted in a snooty upper-crust public school. Most of the film concentrates on the effect this experiment has on the school staff. The Guinea Pig stirred up controversy at the time of its release because of the presence of an alleged profanity in its dialogue. The word "Arse".

Odette (1950)

Role: Screenwriter. Book by Jerrard Tickell.


Director: Herbert Wilcox
Cast: Anna Neagle, Trevor Howard, Marius Goring, Peter Ustinov, Bernard Lee, Maurice Buckmaster, Alfred Schieske, Gilles Queant, Marianne Walla, Fritz Wendhausen.

This espionage drama was based on the true story of Odette Sansom Churchill, who became an unlikely hero during WWII. Born in France, Odette (Anna Neagle) was married to an Englishman who died in battle. When the British Army made an appeal for photos of the French coastline, Odette mailed a set of old holiday snapshots to the War Office. As a result, Odette was approached to serve as a British agent in France during the Nazi occupation. Under the guidance of Capt. Peter Churchill (Trevor Howard) and French resistance soldier Arnaud (Peter Ustinov), Odette's ability to blend in as a typical French citizen was put to excellent use by Allied intelligence. Odette was eventually found out and subjected to brutal torture by Gestapo Col. Henri (Marius Goring), but she never gave up any information on her work. She was then sentenced to death in a concentration camp, and when American forces arrived to liberate the compound, Odette was held hostage by the camp's Commandant (Alfred Schieske), believing that she was too valuable to let go. Anna Neagle consulted with the real life Odette Sansom Peter Churchill (who married after the war) to prepare for her performance.

The Lady with a Lamp (1951)

Role: Screenwriter based on a play by Reginald Berkeley.

Director: Herbert Wilcox
Cast: Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Sr., Gladys Young, Felix Aylmer, Sybil Thorndike
British film-favorite Anna Neagle, having previously played such great historical personages as Queen Victoria and Edith Cavell, tackles the role of Florence Nightingale in Lady with the Lamp. Based on a play by Reginald Berkeley, the film traces the indefatigable Nightingale's efforts to minister to the thousands of casualties of the Crimean War. Opposed in the uppermost circles of British government because she is "merely" a woman, Nightingale is championed by the Hon. Sidney Herbert (Michael Wilding), minister of war. Herbert pulls strings to allow Nightingale and her nursing staff access to battlefield hospitals, and in so doing changes the course of medical history. Lady with the Lamp was, as usual, produced and directed by Anna Neagle's husband Herbert Wilcox.

Background (1953)

Role: Play Author and Screenwriter

Director: Daniel Birt
Cast: Valerie Hobson, Rick Hart, Phillip Friend, Norman Wooland, Janette Scott
Background is a tearful flashback drama centering around a dysfunctional family. Valerie Hobson and Philip Friend play a long-married couple on the verge of divorce. As they ponder the question of who will receive custody of their children (Janette Scott, Mandy Miller and Jeremy Spencer), the couple has second thoughts about their upcoming litigation. It is the children who eventually bring Hobson and Friend back together, though the reunion seems strangely without passion. Background was released in the US as Edge of Divorce.

Affair in Monte Carlo (1953)

Role: Screenwriter

Director: Victor Saville
Cast: Merle Oberon, Richard Todd, Leo Genn, Peter Jones, Joan Dowling
Originally titled 24 Hours in a Woman's Life, the British Affair in Monte Carlo stars Merle Oberon and Richard Todd. A compulsive gambler, Todd is on the verge of disgrace and ruin. Ms. Oberon makes it her mission in life to save Todd from himself. The story is told from the point of view of worldly writer Leo Genn, who is obviously intended as the alter ego of Stefan Zweig, author of the original novel 24 Hours in a Woman's Life. Whenever the drama bogs down, the viewer is encouraged to revel in the authentic Riviera locations.



Chu Chin Chow

(June 2005)


On the third disc "Abdul the Damned" (1935), director Karl Grune, writing credits Roger Burford, and Warren Chetham fine cast Fritz Kortner (Abdul Hamid II/Kelar, his double), Adrienne Ames (Therese Alder), Nils Asther (Chief of Police Kadar-Pasha), Esme Percy (Ali - eunuch), John Stuart (Capt. Talak-Bey), Charles Carson (Gen. Hilmi-Pasha), Patric Knowles (Omar - Hilmi's aide), Walter Rilla (Hassan-Bey) and Clifford Heatherley (Court doctor)...sultan of Turkey at the turn of the Century was Abdul Hamid...he hires a double to impersonate him...was the real Hamid Turkey's government going to fall...brilliant film editing with an excellent musical score with a flare of the 30's English musicals...

Affair in Monte Carlo

(September 2007)



Odette (June 2009)




The books he wrote were

Title   Plot
The Barlowes of Beddington (1956)
The book which was made into a BBC Radio series. The story of a public school seen through the eyes of a Headmaster and his Wife. Patrick Barr played Robert Barlowe and Pauline Jameson, Kate, his wife. Evans, the Head Boy, was Edward Hardwicke, John Charlesworth was Finlay, Barry McGregor was Shepherd and boys in the background were pupils from Barking Abbey School. Geoffrey Wincott played Dogget, the School Porter and Anthony Shaw was the Governor, General Naseby.
Three Men and a Girl (1958) A comedy about 4 Siamese Cats.
Translations From the Siamese - A Novel About Cats Who Talk and People Who Understand (1958)
Top Off the Milk (1959)
The Years of Alison (1961) A romantic novel set during World War 1. About the life of Alison from birth just before her father is killed in action, to her times during World War 2.
A Cat Called Tootoo (1966)
Tootoo's Friends at the Farm (1967)
Tootoo the Travelling Cat (1968)

The plays he wrote were

Title Plot
Mice and Management (1931)  
Sometimes Even Now (1933)  
Man Proposes (1933)  
Heart's Content (1937)  
Day is Gone (1938)  
Stranger's Road (1943)  
Gleam (1946)  
The Guinea Pig (1946)  
Play for Ronnie (1947)  
Young Mrs. Barrington (1947)  
The Pet Shop (1955)  
The Stepmother (1959) A play in three acts; adapted from the novel "The Stepmother" by R.C.Hutchinson

His wife, Moira, died in January 1985 in Hastings. She wrote 3 books

Title Plot
So Long to Wait: An Irish Childhood (1960) An autobiography
Children In Love (1961)
Daughters of the General (1963) Set in 1920s Dublin.