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Henry Clay (an economist, who wrote for the the Manchester Guardian) was a friend of Arthur Ransome from his newspaper days who frequently used the Pin Mill anchorage (NBUS page 107).

Henry's son Jim Clay was a prototype for Jim Brading.

According to Christina Hardyment Henry Clay had four children; Gabriel, Jim, Helen and John. Jim was going to Oxford when he met Ransome in 1935, though Jim Clay himself thought that Jim Brading was a mixture, also owing something to Dick Tizard. The Clay yacht Firefly was very like the Nancy Blackett, and Ransome was impressed to hear that on a voyage to Holland and back the four children took charge (an inspiration for WD?).

We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea is dedicated To Mrs. Henry Clay

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