W.H. Canaway was born in 1925 in Altrincham, Cheshire. He was educated at Altrincham Grammar School and the University College of North Wales, Bangor, where he was awarded with B.A. and M.A. degrees.
He served in the 8th Army intelligence in North Africa and Italy during the latter part of the Second World War, before coming home to lecture at Stafford Technical College. After ten years of this, he committed himself to full-time writing.
Canaway wrote fifteen novels, including Sammy Going South, a book that was translated into a dozen languages and was made the Royal Command Film Performance of 1963. He was also a keen angler and wrote two highly regarded fishing books, as well as many articles for The Fishing Gazette. However, it is probably as a screenwriter that he is best remembered - The Ipcress File (starring a young Michael Caine in 1965) being amongst his credits, as well as TV series such as Brendon Chase and Dan, Badger and all the Coal. He died on 22nd May 1988, whilst still working on a film version of an earlier work, A Declaration of Independence.