The Witty Vagabond: A Biography of Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930) Author – Artist – Adventurer
When news filtered down to West Cornwall during Easter Sunday in 1930 that Crosbie Garstin, then aged just 42, was missing, feared drowned, after a boating accident at Salcombe, a deep sense of shock affected the countless friends, acquaintances and admirers of this “beloved, gifted, famous author and poet”, this “serious and conscientious artist”, this “brave, laughing care-free soldier”, and this “blithe and heroic spirit”, who was “in every way a notable son of Cornwall”. It seemed incredible that a fine sportsman and expert swimmer, who had experienced intrepid adventures all around the world, should drown in Salcombe estuary, that perceived haven of tranquillity. Whilst the initial disbelief was soon dispelled, as the facts became known, there are still those who contend that Crosbie did not drown but did a disappearing act, and it is a telling comment on human nature that, currently, there is more interest in this ‘mystery’, than there is in the widely diverse and hugely entertaining body of literature that he produced. The current neglect is all the more surprising as Crosbie’s own life was one big adventure story in itself.
David Tovey has completed a comprehensive biography of Garstin covering his incredible short life.