By H. E. Biggs
In 1944 he was appointed Headmaster of Aldenham Church of England School at Delrow in Hertfordshire. There he was a sidesman at Aldenham Parish Church and later People’s Warden for five years. Thence he went to Redbourn to become Headmaster of the Boys’ Primary School in 1957 and there he remained till his retirement in 1965. He had, two years previously, moved to Harpenden.
This residence of twenty-six years in Hertfordshire enabled him to do extensive field work on the mollusca of the county. He was recorder for Mollusca for the Hertfordshire Natural History Society and in 1955 published, in the Transactions of that Society, "The Mollusca of Hertfordshire" gathering all the known records of the non-marine mollusca for the county from other workers and with the addition of his own making a comprehensive work of 38 pages. He also contributed many shorter papers and notes to the same journal.
Stratton’s interest in natural history began at an early age and continued throughout his life but from 1936 it was centred in conchology and he joined the Society in 1942. He had the distinction of being elected twice to the presidential chair, 1954–56 and 1962–64. To the best of my knowledge only one other, Mr. J. R. le B. Tomlin, has been accorded this honour. During Stratton’s second presidency the First European Malacological Congress was held in London, the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Malacological Society of London being joint hosts; he was also a member of this latter Society.
One of his most important contributions to the knowledge of our non-marine mollusca was his "The Mollusca of the Malham Area" which was the subject of his presidential address in 1956 [and which covered 25 pages in the Society’s journal].
He was also the author of two successful books; “Your Book of Shell Collecting” in 1968 and “Your Book of the Seashore” in 1970. The former was the means of introducing Junior Membership in the Society to many young people. Mr. Pringle, of Messrs Faber & Faber, the publishers of these two works, remarked to me "He was an ideal author"; I know what that means, for a publisher there is nothing more helpful than to have an author who produces his manuscript on time. A third work of a more scientific nature on the ecology of mollusca was in hand when he died. It will not be passed to another to complete.
Stratton was a very competent field naturalist, delightful to work with and very thorough in his examination and search of any area he selected. He had a sound knowledge of the habits and habitats of British mollusca and the present writer remembers a very profitable week spent with him at Dale Fort Field Centre in 1963 when we covered marine collecting as well as the non-marine species. He was Chairman of the Marine Census Committee of the Society. He worked with Dr. H. E. Quick on several field courses both at Juniper Hall, Surrey, and Malham in Yorkshire.
He did not describe any new species of mollusc but one species is named after him of which he writes "...my only claim to fame is in Placostylus strattoni Pain. Always regarded as something of a joke as it was bought, with others, for 2s. 6d. in a junk shop." This humility was typical of him.
He died on 22 January 1971 at his home in Harpenden after a short illness which followed a successful major operation some months previously from which we thought he had made a very good recovery and gained a much longer lease of useful life.
Stratton’s mollusca collection was purchased jointly by the Manchester Museum and Leeds City Museum. The catalogued collection, consisting of some 7,500 sets was divided as follows. To Leeds, British marine mollusca, British and foreign Unionacea (excluding Australian Mutelidae), foreign marine bivalves. To Manchester went the British non-marine mollusca (excluding the Unionacea), foreign non-marine mollusca (excluding Unionacea), Australian marine mollusca, New Zealand land mollusca, the Australian Mutelidae and fossil mollusca. The duplicate, uncatalogued material in each group was taken by the other museum.
|1945||Snails of the Avon Valley, Hampshire. J. Conch. 22: 134–135.|
|1945||Planorbis corneus in Herts. J. Conch. 22: 172.|
|1946||Some New Forest Snails. J. Conch. 22: 197–199.|
|1946||Arion ater var. albolateralis Roebuck. J. Conch. 22: 177.|
|1946||Arion ater var. albolateralis Roebuck. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 22: 163.|
|1946||Erosion of Lymnaea stagnalis. J. Conch. 22: 208–214.|
|1947||Mollusca of Wicken, Fen. J. Conch. 22: 247.|
|1948||Succinca elegans Rossm. in Herts. J. Conch. 22: 304.|
|1948||Flood debris from the River Colne. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 23: 24–29.|
|1948||Useful Sparrows. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 23: 37.|
|1946||Behaviour of a Robin with a Millipede. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 23: 37.|
|1949||Colonization of Land Snails. J. Conch. 22: 43.|
|1949||Succinea in Hertfordsbire. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 23: 72–73.|
|1950||Habitat of Clausilia rolphii Turton. J. Conch. 23: 101–104.|
|1950||Planorbis corneus (L.) var. rubra Oldham.J. Conch. 23: 104–105.|
|1950||Land Mollusca of the Parish of Aldenham. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 23: 100–127.|
|1951||The Mollusca of Elstree Reservoir. J. Conch. 23: 147–149.|
|1954||On Arianta arbustorum (L.). J. Conch. 23: 405–412.|
|1954||New Locality for Hygromia limbata (Draparnaud). J. Conch. 24: 20.|
|1955||The Mollusca of Hertfordshire. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 24: 81–118.|
|1955||Clausilia dubia Draparnaud in the Maiham area. J. Conch. 24: 41–46.|
|1956||The Mollusca of the Malham Area. J. Conch. 24: 111–138.|
|1956||Report on Mollusca. Trans. Herts. Nat. Hist. Soc. 24: 197.|
|1956||Comments on Introduced Land Mollusca of New Zealand. Bull. Conch. Sect. Auckland Mus. 12:11–12.|
|1958||(Review) Pacific Sea Shells. J. Conch. 24: 288.|
|1959||Two unusual snail colonies. J. Conch. 24: 332–324.|
|1960||Early Breeding of Marpessa lamninata (Montagu). J. Conch. 24: 432.|
|1960||Some Variations in the Unionidae. J. Conch. 24: 433–437.|
|1962||(Review) Sea Shells of the World. J. Conch. 25: 136.|
|1962||The Cardiacea. The Conchologists' Newsletter. No. 4: 19–20.|
|1963||(Review) A Synopsis of the British freshwater Bivalve Mollusca. J. Conch. 25: 169–170.|
|1963||An Ecological Study. J. Conch. 25: 174–179.|
|1963||(Review) Marine Mollusca of Victoria. J. Conch. 25: 206.|
|1963||(Review) Contributions to the Knowledge of South African marine Mollusca. Part III Gastropoda: Prosobranchiata: Taenioglossa. J. Conch. 25: 207.|
|1964||(Review) Marine molluscan Genera of Western North America. An illustrated key. J. Conch. 25: 247.|
|1964||Collecting at Dale. J. Conch. 25: 255–263.|
|1964||(Review) Contributions to the knowledge of South African marine Mollusca. J. Conch. 25: 275.|
|1964||Cecilioides acicula (Müller) as a garden snail. J. Conch. 25: 284–285.|
|1964||Collecting Non-marine Molluscs. "Papers for Students" No. 2. Pubd. by Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.|
|1964||Non-marine Molluscs of the Parish of Dale. Field Studies, 2 (1), 41–52.|
|1965||(Review) Marine shells of Southern Africa. J. Conch. 25: 361–362.|
|1965||Snail-killing Flies. Poirieria 2 (6). 96–97.|
|1966||(Review) The Young Specialist looks at Molluscs. J. Conch. 26: 140.|
|1968||Your Book of Shell Collecting. Faber & Faber.|
|1968||Obituary. H. E. Quick. J. Conch. 26: 275–277.|
|1969||What Price Shells? The Conchologists’ Newsletter No. 30: 108.|
|1969||Monacha cartusiana (Müller) in Suffolk. The Conchologists’ Newsletter. No. 30: 110–111.|
|1970||Conchology and Archaeology. Mollusca at Verulamium. J. Conch. 27: 131–134.|
|1970||Your Book of the Seashore. Faber & Faber.|
|1970||Numbers of Shells. J. Conch. 27: 171–176.|