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John Hay Beith
British schoolmaster, soldier, novelist, playwright, essayist and historianwd:Q338543
country of citizenship: United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
language of expression: English
educated at: Fettes College, St John's College
occupation: writer, military officer, historian, screenwriter
award received: Military Cross, Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Major General John Hay Beith, CBE MC (17 April 1876 – 22 September 1952), was a British schoolmaster and soldier, but he is best remembered as a novelist, playwright, essayist and historian who wrote under the pen name Ian Hay.
After reading Classics at Cambridge University, Beith became a schoolmaster. In 1907 his novel, Pip, was published; its success and that of several more novels enabled him to give up teaching in 1912 to be a full-time writer. During the First World War, Beith served as an officer in the army in France. His good-humoured account of army life, The First Hundred Thousand, published in 1915, was a best-seller. On the strength of this, he was sent to work in the information section of the British War Mission in Washington, D.C.
After the war, Beith's novels did not achieve the popularity of his earlier work, but he made a considerable career as a dramatist, writing light comedies, often in collaboration with other authors including P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. During the Second World War Beith served as Director of Public Relations at the War Office, retiring in 1941 shortly before his 65th birthday.
Among Beith's later works were several war histories, which were not as well received as his comic fiction and plays. His one serious play, Hattie Stowe (1947), was politely reviewed but had a short run. In the same year he co-wrote a comedy, Off the Record, which ran for more than 700 performances.
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