RC SHERRIFF'S LIFE TIMELINE  

From insurance surveyor in Surrey to screenwriter in Hollywood, RC Sherriff led a fascinating and varied life.

This timeline gives you a summary of some of
RC Sherriff's key life events. 

 

Visit RC Sherriff's Work for details of this writing career. 

Discover lots more
about RC Sherriff’s life 
in the Surrey Heritage Centre’s
virtual exhibition
.

 

1896

  • Born to parents Herbert Hankin and Annie Constance.
     

  • Grew up alongside his older sister, Beryl (1892 - 1966) and younger brother Cecil “Bundy” (1899-1989).

1897 -

1914

  • Grew up in Hampton Wick, Middlesex.
     

  • Educated at Kingston Grammar School.
     

  • Keen sportsman: rower, cricketer, footballer and hockey player.

1914

  • Left Kingston Grammar School for employment with Sun Insurance Company.

 

1915 -

1917

  • Enlisted with the Artists Corp
     

  • Commissioned as an infantry captain
    with the 9th East Surrey Regiment.

     

  • Fought on the Western Front in 
    France and Belgium.

  • Fought in the Battle of Passchendaele.

  • Wounded and sent to a field hospital.
     

  • Returned to England and remained at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, until November.

1917

Aug

  • Re-assigned to a post in the Scottish Command, Glasgow, where he lectured on gas warfare.   

1917

1918

 
  • Wrote a number of stage plays, some of which were performed by amateur dramatic societies to raise funds for the Kingston Rowing Club and other charities.
     

  • He also acted in many of his own plays.
     

  • See RC Sherriff's Work for more.

1920s

1919

  • Returned to work at Sun Insurance Company.  

1928

  • Wrote and published Journey's End, his best-known play.
     

  • Journey's End premiers in the West End, starring Laurence Olivier.

1928

Nov

  • Journey’s End opens on Broadway, New York, USA.

 
  • Used earnings from Journey’s End to buy Rosebriars; a five-bedroom home in Esher, where he lived with his mother, Constance.

1930s

  • Received a special studentship at New College, Oxford.

1931

  • Recruited by Universal Pictures Inc as a “scenario writer” to work on The Invisible Man. Travels to Hollywood, USA.

1932

1932 -

1939

  • Continued to write scripts and screenplays, including Goodbye, Mr Chips and Four Feathers.

 
  • Nominated along with Eric Maschwitz and Claudine West for an Academy Award for the screenplay for Goodbye, Mr Chips.

1940

  • Returned to England from Hollywood.

1944

1945 -

1950

  • Continued to write plays and short stories.
     

  • His plays included the play Miss Mabel, which paved the way for further West End success in the 1950s.
     

  • Worked as a script consultant for various movie studios, often uncredited. See RC Sherriff's Work for more.

  • Wrote the screenplay for The Dam Busters movie.

1955

 

1960s

  • Sherriff’s style of writing fell out of favour and was replaced by the “New Movement” of radical working-class writers, and ‘kitchen sink’ dramas.

  • RC Sherriff’s mother dies.
     

  • He continued to live alone in Rosebriars, Esher.

1965

  • Sherriff published his autobiography: No Leading Lady

1968

  • On September 13, Sherriff, a batchelor, died in Kingston Hospital.
     

  • He bequeathed Rosebriars to Elmbridge Council, to be used for arts and cultural purposes.
     

  • His papers were left to the governors of Kingston Grammar School.
     

  • Future royalties were to be divided between the school and the Scouts Association.
     

  • His ashes interred with his mother at St Winifred’s Church in Selsey.

1975

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