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London, 21 April 1976

William Sansom, the author, dies aged 64 suddenly in London after a serous illness. He was best known for his short stories and two novels “The Body” and “The Face of Innocence”.

Mr Sansom leaves a widow, actress Ruth Grundy, and their son Nicholas, 20. The family lived in St John’s Wood.

As an auxiliary foreman in London during the Blitz, he wrote “Ordeal by Fire” the story of the fire brigade’s battle against the bombs in 1940 and 1941.

After the war he began to write travel stories. He was awarded both a travel scholarship and bursary by the Society of Authors.

His publishers, Hogarth Press, said last night: “He was a really professional writer, and certainly in the first rank of British short story writers.”


William Sansom, who dies suddenly in London yesterday aged 64, was a gifted short story writer and novelist and the author of a number of books of vivid travel sketches.

He was one of that oddly assorted squad of writers and artists – Stephen Spender and Henry Green were others – who served with the Auxiliary Fire Service during he war and helped to fight the fires of the London Blitz. His experience then gave him the material for his first book, Fireman Flower.

Like other writers of what one thinks of now as the Horizon generation, he enjoyed traveling, making up avidly for the isolation of the war years and recording what he saw and how he felt in a series of books.

His novels, the Body, and The Face of Innocence, established a reputation which was probably at its highest in the fifties.  – W.L.W

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