Saki (H.H. Munro – 1870-1916)

Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) in 1913 by E.O. Hoppé
Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) in 1913 by E.O. Hoppé 
The photo at the head of the page shows the fishermen’s harbour in the Akyab, Burma Saki’s birthplace by DANIEL JULIE from Paris, France [CC-BY-2.0 ],
Saki was the nom de plume of Hector Hugh Munro, although he died young (in the First World War) is well-known particularly for his short stories. These are entertaining and satirical, casting a wry look at Edwardian British life. His style most resembles Oscar Wilde and Kipling among his predecessors, and he in turn influenced Wodehouse and Coward. There is a delightful touch of mischief in many of the stories which are like small gems, many-faceted yet tiny

His short stories were first published in newspapers, and later collected. He also wrote a few plays and a novel The Unbearable Bassington and When William Came: A Story of London under the Hohenzollerns picturing a future German invasion of Britain.

When war was declared though Munro was over the age of conscription, he volunteered to fight. Rothay Reynolds in an appreciation of Munro written for a posthumous collection quoted the officer in command of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (Saki’s regiment):

Poor Saki! What an admiration we all had for him, I always quoted him as one of the heroes of the war. I saw daily the appalling discomforts he so cheerfully endured. He flatly refused to take a commission or in any way to allow me to try to make him more comfortable. General Vaughan told him that a brain like his was wasted as a private soldier. He just smiled. He was absolutely splendid. What courage! The men simply loved him.


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