Wartime and D'Arcy


An interesting fact about On Growth and Form is that both the first and second edition of the books were released during wartime, 1917 and 1942, respectively. D’Arcy himself acknowledges this fact in the preface to his second edition in which he says the books “gave me solace and occupation, when service was debarred me by my years.”

D’Arcy continues “Few are left of the friends who helped me write [the first book]”. Indeed, Joseph Larmor, who assisted D’Arcy in the first book and was one of the few people he considered sending the second edition proofs to, fell fatally ill around the same time as its publish.

In his letters, particularly to Geoffrey Thomas Bennett, D’Arcy discusses various elements of the war.


While St Andrews didn’t receive too much bombing, D’Arcy says that the sirens frayed his nerves constantly. Also, some of the Schools were destroyed in the bombing and meant that his Laboratory was crowded (ms26132). D'Arcy went on several holidays to Spayside during the second world war, and confessed to Bennett that he found it hard to leave his house for so long.


D’Arcy referred to Churchill as a “magician” who had won over the middle classes. He tells a story of how a boy he knew had joined the army after listening to Churchill’s radio addresses. Despite this, D’Arcy wasn’t impressed by his oration, saying he gives at best "second or third rate speech" delivered in a "third or fourth rate" manner (ms26294). D'Arcy was also unsure about his skill as a diplomat.

The Enemy:

In a letter to Geoffrey Thomas Bennett in 1940, D’Arcy refers to the war as the “greatest blunder and greatest calamity in English history” (ms26237). At this time, he certainly believed that Hitler was a better military strategist than anyone on the British side and that the German forces were stronger than the Allies.

Bombing in nearby Dundee
Map of German advances in 1940


Geoffrey Thomas Bennett



Overview & D'Arcy's Life


On Growth and Form


Heilmann & Shufeldt


Maths of Transformations




D'Arcy and Mathematics


Coordinate Transformations


Logarithmic Spirals


Forms of Cells


Forms and Mechanical efficiency




Wartime and D'Arcy


The Leg as a Pendulum


Recreational Maths


Fibonacci Sequence




All Correspondence Links

Claxton Fidler


Eric Harold Neville


John Marshall


Alfred North Whitehead


Charles Robert Darling


Peter Guthrie Tait


William Peddie


Geoffrey Thomas Bennett


Dorothy Wrinch


Main Index Biographies Index

The support of The Strathmartine Trust towards this website is gratefully acknowledged    

Cammy Sriram and Edward Smith © July 2019
Creative Commons LicenceExcept where otherwise indicated, the text in this work by Cammy Sriram and Edd Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland

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