4 Jan 2012

St Trinian's cartoonist Ronald Searle dies

9:02 am on 4 January 2012

British cartoonist Ronald Searle, best known for his drawings of the fictional girls' school St Trinian's, has died in southern France. He was 91.

His daughter Kate Searle said in a statement that he "passed away peacefully in his sleep" in a hospital in Draguignan on Friday.

Mr Searle's anarchic St Trinian's characters spawned a series of film adaptations, first in the 1950s and again in 2007 and 2009.

He also illustrated a series of 1950s satires on British education featuring the thoughts of schoolboy Nigel Molesworth.

His cartoons appeared in magazines and newspapers, including Britain's Punch and The New Yorker.

During World War II, Searle was captured in Singapore by the Japanese and spent three-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in Changi and working on the Thai-Burma railway.

Many of the secret sketches he made of prison camp life are now at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Searle won a number of awards, including prizes from America's National Cartoonists' Society and France's prestigious Legion d'Honneur in 2007.