Ian Hay

Biography of Ian Hay

Major General John Hay Beith (17 April 1876 – 22 September 1952), was a British schoolmaster and soldier, and, under the pen name Ian Hay, a novelist and playwright.


John Hay Beith was born in Chorlton, Lancashire, the second son of John Alexander Beith, of the Beith, Stevenson & Co. shipping and export business, based in Manchester. His paternal grandfather was a Presbyterian clergyman, Rev. Dr. Alexander Beith, active in the Disruption of 1843.


Beith was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh (initially as fag to Sir John Simon) and at St. Johns College, Cambridge, where he played rugby and captained the college boat club. Finding a second-class degree in Classics insufficient to obtain a steady teaching position at a major school, he returned to Cambridge for a further year to qualify as a teacher of physics and chemistry.

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