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Charles Frederick William Chilton MBE was born at King's Cross, London, on 15 June 1917. His father died in March 1918 in the first world war, aged only 19, never having met his son, and his mother died in the post-war flu epidemic, when Charles was five. From then on he was raised by his grandmother. He left school at 14 and took an apprenticeship with an electrical sign-maker, before joining the BBC as a messenger the following year. The BBC sponsored him to take evening classes. At 16 he became an assistant in the BBC gramophone library, and by 18 he had moved into radio presenting and production.

He began the second world war as a conscientious objector, but later enlisted with the RAF, serving three years as a radio trainer, before transferring to Armed Forces Radio and running the forces radio station in Ceylon with David Jacobs. After the war he returned to the BBC and married Penny, who worked as a secretary there.

In 1949 he created and produced a popular western radio show, Riders of the Range. The following year Marcus Morris, editor of the Eagle, approached him to create a comic strip version of the show, initially drawn by Jack Daniel. The radio show ended in 1953, but Chilton continued to write the comic version into the 1960s. He wrote another western strip, "Flying Cloud", for Girl in 1952. From 1953 to 1955 he created the science fiction radio seres Journey into Space, which he also adapted into comic strip form in Express Weekly in 1956-57. Full colour art was initially by Ferdinando Tacconi, later by Bruce Cornwell and Terence Patrick.

In 1962 he wrote and produced a musical based on first world war songs called The Long, Long Road, which was filmed as Oh! What a Lovely War in 1969. He was awarded the MBE in 1976 and retired soon afterwards, but continued to write for radio on a freelance basis, and acted as a tour guide for the Original London Walks company. He died of pneumonia on 2 January 2013.


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