Alan John Ross (6 May 1922 – 14 February 2001) was a British poet, writer and editor. He was born in Calcutta, India, where he spent the first seven years of his life. When he was sent to be educated in Falmouth, England, Ross spoke better Hindustani than English.
Following preparatory school Ross boarded at Haileybury where, being both small for his age and a latecomer to his year, he initially suffered greatly from bullying — to his intense relief the bully was killed in a vacation cycling accident — but his stock quickly rose when he revealed a talent which matched his passion for cricket. With a hint of the debonair style that was to characterise his life, he avoided participation in the OTC and all study of mathematics and science, instead enjoying art, French poetry and racquet sports. As a senior boy he was caned for making an unlicensed visit to Wimbledon; it was his misfortune that he figured, smoking a cigarette, in a photograph of spectators carried in his headmaster's newspaper the following morning.
In 1940 he went to read Modern Languages at St John's College, Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis. Ross represented the university at both cricket and squash but did not complete his studies after joining the Royal Navy in 1941. Before doing so, he appeared in the annual match against Cambridge at Lord's in 1941, but because of World War II the fixture was reduced to a single day and did not have first-class status. The same season he appeared in one one-day match for Northamptonshire...
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