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Compton Mackenzie was born in West Hartlepool in 1883, and educated at St Paul's School and Magdalen College, Oxford. During the First World War he rose to the rank of Captain and was made Director of the Aegean Intelligence Service. He wrote more than ninety books -- novels, history and biography, essays and criticism, children's stories and verse -- and earned the reputation of bein one of the outstanding broadcasters of his time. Two of Mackenzie's particular interests were gramophones and Siamese cats -- he founded and edited the magazine The Gramophone, and was President of the Siamese Cat Club. He lived for many years on the Island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, and later made his home in Edinburgh. He was knighted in 1952. Compton Mackenzie died in 1972.