Strange Meetings

In 1932 a Mrs Reginald Hargreaves, then aged 80, met a man called Peter Llewellyn Davies in a bookshop. I was intrigued by it when I found out, and John Logan actually wrote a play about it.

Mrs Hargreaves was, you see, better known to history as Alice Liddell and young Llewellyn Davies was the inspiration behind Peter Pan.

I’ve always been interested in such things, though I suppose some of them aren’t as surprising as I think. When Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen they were both in the Army, and both tortured poetic souls so I don’t suppose it’s too surprising they met at Craiglockhart. There’s a play about that too, and a book.

Sassoon also knew Robert Graves, though that’s well known. It’s also well known that they fell out. What I didn’t know was that they met again in the 1950s when taking their sons to Oundle School. I’ve often driven through Oundle, but had never known that.

Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart both flew combat missions from England during the war, once meeting up for a photo-opportunity. Gable flew from Polebrook and Molesworth, neither of which are too far from Oundle. I’m struggling to find a reference for the meeting, but you can find a photo here, where Pacific Paratrooper comes up trumps. This shows you don’t need the internet when you have bloggers.

I suppose the chances of two Hollywood stars being photographed together when serving overseas is quite high.

Same goes for the chances of two academics with literary leanings joining the same literary society, as J. J. R. Tolkien  and C. S. Lewis did with The Inklings. It’s a small pool, so the chances were probably good.

There’s a good article on probability and coincidence here. I’ve actually been in a room with around 75 people and done the birthday one – we had three matches.





17 thoughts on “Strange Meetings

  1. paolsoren

    The only problem with this post of your is that it was so interesting and had so many fascinating links, I have just spent an hour reading when I should be half way across Melbourne helping my son, and now I have to ring him and explain.


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