- "That's mother and Uncle Jim," said Peggy in a queer voice.
- "Who is Bob Blackett?" asked Susan
- "He was father." said Nancy.
- Nobody said anything for a minute... (SD28)
Robert (Bob) Blackett was Nancy and Peggy's father, married to Molly Blackett and therefore brother-in-law of James Turner. They were all friends as children (and together climbed the Matterhorn in 1901, which the Swallows and the Amazons call Kanchenjunga). Nancy assumed Bob must have rescued Molly and Captain Flint from Great Aunt Maria, who was their guardian at the time(SD28).
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You are standing into danger. This article or section contains conjecture.We do not know Bob Blackett's career but there is one clue that he may have been a officer in the Royal Navy: After a reviewer in the Spectator (9 July 1943) reviewing The Picts and the Martyrs asked "I wonder whether Mr Ransome's stories appeal to children who live entirely outside the world of nannies, cooks and private boat-houses?" Ransome's reply to a supporter stated:
...I would like to point out...that it is cheaper to take lodgings in a farmhouse than [at] Blackpool, that boats are much cheaper than...motor cycles, that books cost less than legs of mutton and last much longer, and that the children of my books are the children of naval officers, boatbuilder's workmen, doctors, farmers, teachers etc. ...one might ask if the reviewer really thinks that none but birds can read Hans Anderson's Ugly Duckling and that it is necessary to be of the blood royal to enjoy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. (SFM, July 1943)
Here the children of naval officers, boatbuilder's workmen, doctors, farmers, teachers... refers (respectively) to the Swallows, the Death and Glories, Tom Dudgeon, Jacky Warriner, the Ds; the order roughly runs from major characters to minor, although the Ds are mentioned last.
It is the mention of naval officers (plural) here that gives a clue. There is only one naval officer mentioned who has children: Commander (later Captain) Ted Walker. So children of naval officers here means that there was another naval officer floating around who produced a child or children. Arthur Ransome may have been thinking of both the Swallows and the Amazons as the children of naval officers.
There is a flaw in this propositon: Tom is the only child of only one doctor, unless Ella Dudgeon was also a doctor...
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You are standing into danger. This article or section contains conjecture.We are never told how or when Bob Blackett died, though the likely ages of the Amazons in 1930/31 has led some to speculate whether it might have been in the First World War (or in the 1918 influenza epidemic).