Willo graduated from the Mechiston Castle Boys School in Edinburgh, Scotland, in June of 1935. From 1935 to 1938 Willo studied History at Oxford University. Willo’s History and Mythology Professor at Oxford was JRR Tolkien. In 1936 Willo attended JRR Tolkien’s, later to become famous lecture, Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. This lecture made a huge impression on Willo and led to Willo becoming fascinated by Norse legend and by the importance of Runes. JRR Tolkien in 1936 was writing the Hobbit. JRR Tolkien invented Cirth (a Runic language modeled on the Anglo-Saxon Runic Alphabet) for use in The Hobbit and later for use in The Lord of the Rings. JRR Tolkien taught Willo how to write in Cirth. Later, in the autumn of 1944 during the battle for Normandy, Willo, while serving as an officer in the UK Special Forces “behind the enemy lines” reconnaissance regiment “Phantom”, used Cirth as a secret communications language amongst his soldiers. During the 1950’s, JRR Tolkien published, one by one, his The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Willo was deeply moved by The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and to honor his former professor and friend, created a series of paintings and black pen on white paper illustrations of the main characters and scenes from The Lord of the Rings to honor JRR Tolkien’s achievement. Using his expertise in JRR Tolkien’s Cirth runic language, Willo wrote, in Cirth, beneath each illustration, descriptions of the qualities of each of his imagined The Lord of the Rings characters. As Willo’s eldest son, I was always fascinated by Willo’s connection to JRR Tolkien. As I have grown older, I have come to recognize that JRR Tolkien’s and Willo’s lives had much in common. JRR Tolkien was orphaned as a boy and perhaps not surprisingly, and likely to emotionally compensate for his lost parents, made especially close friends at the King Edwards School in Birmingham. It was JRR Tolkien’s closeness to his school friends that have many JRR Tolkien scholars believing that JRR Tolkien titled the first book of his The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring as tribute to his school friends. The Fellowship of the Ring book personifies the importance of comradeship and draws from JRR Tolkien's own experience with his school friends, a number of whom were later, and agonizingly for JRR Tolkien, killed fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Willo, like JRR Tolkien, was orphaned when his father was killed during the First World War, and like JRR Tolkien compensated by making especially close friends at the Mechiston Castle Boys School, only to experience the agonizing loss of a number of these best friends killed during the Second World War. Willo, after the Second World War, formed a “Fellowship” of his surviving friends who lived in Willo’s Manor House, where, and with the help of my mother Felix, they all tried to help each other recover from the severe post-traumatic stress disorders that they were suffering from after serving for five war years in a number of the UK’s Special Forces including, the Special Air Service (SAS), The Special Boat Squadron (SBS), Phantom (GHQ Liaison Regiment) and the Special Operations Executive (SOE). JRR Tolkien and Willo belonged to a generation who sacrificed so much to preserve democracy and decency and JRR Tolkien’s writings and Willo’s paintings and illustrations, sadly, demonstrate this. Please see Willo’s paintings and drawings in our “Willo’s Monocle” collection. (We have applied to Middle Earth Enterprises for a license to use the names of JRR Tolkien's characters with Willo's pictures).