Biography:Tim Dinsdale

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Short description: Welsh cryptozoologist and writer
Tim Dinsdale
Tim Dinsdale.png
Born27 September 1924
Aberystwyth, Wales
Died14 December 1987
Reading, Berkshire, England
OccupationCryptozoologist, writer

Timothy Kay Dinsdale (27 September 1924 – 14 December 1987) was a British cryptozoologist who attempted to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.[1][2]


Dinsdale was born in Aberystwyth, Wales,[1][2] the son of Felix and Dorys (Smith) Dinsdale, who were on a year's leave from China where his father was a shipping agent.[3] Along with his parents, his older sister, Felicity, and later a younger brother, Peter, he lived in Hong Kong, Antung, and Shanghai, going to the China Inland Missionary School in Chefoo some 500 miles away from his home.[4]

This necessitated a journey along the coast and in 1935 the ship, SS Tungchow, containing 70 British and American schoolchildren, was seized by pirates. Eventually Dinsdale and the other children were rescued by HMS Hermes (95) a British Aircraft carrier.[5][6] The 10-year-old Dinsdale wrote an account of the adventure which received second prize in a competition run by a local newspaper, his first success as a writer.[7]

In 1936 he and his brother returned to Britain to attend King's School, Worcester[1][2] as boarders, and his sister was at a girls' school.[8] In 1942-3 he attended the de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School, and also volunteered in the Home Guard, where during training he sustained a bullet wound to the hand, the object not being removed for 28 years.[9] He joined the Royal Air Force becoming a pilot, and was training in Rhodesia and South Africa when the war ended so returned to complete his aeronautical training, and joining the aircraft industry.[10]

In 1951 he married Wendy Osborne.[11] They went on to have four children: Simon, Alexandra, Dawn, Angus. They moved to Toronto where he became an aeronautical engineer for Avro Aircraft Ltd, moving to Rolls-Royce aircraft division in Montreal in 1952, and back to Reading in the UK in 1956.[12] He was mainly involved on the flight testing of jet engines.[2] He was an Associate member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.[13]

Being made redundant from the aircraft industry in 1962 he took a job as a self-employed insurance salesman, which allowed him to spend more time on a passion he had developed for proving the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, and which was to take over his life.[14] He later got income from lecturing and the sale of books.[1]

On 14 December 1987 he died of a heart attack at his home in Reading, and was cremated on 21 December.[15] He was survived by his wife and four children.[1]

Loch Ness Monster

An article "The Day I saw the Loch Ness Monster" in Everybody's magazine (21 Feb 1959)[16] caught his attention, and he began reading more about the topic.[17] In April 1960 he made a lone expedition to the Loch, with six days of watching. On the fourth day (21 April) and sixth day (23 April) he took cine film of a moving object on the surface.[18] Along with his binocular observations, he was convinced that the film of 23 April was authentic proof of the existence of the monster, so next day he got a dinghy to take a similar track which he recorded on the remaining part of the film for comparison.[19] Having shown the film to various people, he was approached by a newspaper reporter, and on 13 June the incident was reported in the Daily Mail with images and the film was shown on the BBC Panorama TV programme.[20][21] Following this, he was commissioned to write a book Loch Ness Monster which was published in 1961.

The story and subsequent comments spread through the media. According to one author

The sensational result of Dinsdale's Expedition was to inspire an extraordinary revival of the mystery and trigger two decades of intensive surveillance of the loch's baffling surface. [22]

One consequence was the formation of the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNPIB) in 1962 by MP David James with naturalist Sir Peter Scott, which mounted volunteer groups each summer until 1972.[23] Dinsdale twice acted as Group Commander for two weeks.[24]

In 1966 the film received publicity again, having been analysed by the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC) which included the statement that the object was 'probably animate'.[25][22]

In 1967 he received a grant from Kodak for photographic equipment to help in his search.[26]

He had other sightings including what he described as a head and neck:

My first sighting in 1970 was 10ft. of neck sticking up out of the water. At a range of half a mile, it was as thick as a telegraph post. I saw it next in 1971. I saw a 4ft.-high neck, very clearly, at about 250 yards.
—Tim Dinsdale speaking to a reporter 1975[27]

Despite as many visits to the Loch as he could afford, he failed to obtain any more film footage.

In July 1987 at a two-day symposium in the Royal Scottish Museum's Natural History Department he was made an Honorary Member of the International Society of Cryptozoology (ISC) for

your many years of tireless efforts and fieldwork concerning the Loch Ness Monster. Regardless of whether such an animal exists or not, your dedication to the investigation and the honesty and integrity with which you have proceeded, is unparalleled in the field.
—ISC Director Richard Greenwell[28]

In April 2020, the binoculars which Dinsdale used during his expedition featured in an episode of the BBC series The Repair Shop.[29]


  • 1961 Tim Dinsdale Loch Ness Monster (Routledge & Kegan Paul) (UK); 1962 (Chilton) (USA)
  • 1966 Tim Dinsdale The Leviathans (Routledge & Kegan Paul)
  • 1972 Tim Dinsdale Loch Ness Monster, 2nd ed (Routledge & Kegan Paul)
  • 1973 Tim Dinsdale The Story of the Loch Ness Monster (Target) ISBN:0-426-10591-5
  • 1975 Tim Dinsdale Project Water Horse: The True Story of the Monster Quest at Loch Ness (Routledge & Kegan Paul) ISBN:0-7100-8030-1
  • 1976 Tim Dinsdale The Leviathans (revised edition) (Futura) ISBN:0-86007-365-3
  • 1977 Tim Dinsdale The Facts About Loch Ness and the Monster (Johnston & Bacon)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Mr Tim Dinsdale". The Times (London): p. 18. 17 December 1987. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Tim Dinsdale". The Telegraph (London): p. 16. 17 December 1987. 
  3. Dinsdale 2013, 280.
  4. Dinsdale 2013, 309.
  5. Dinsdale 2013, 358.
  6. "Planes Chase Pirates From Ship With 70 Children, Some Americans: British Naval Craft Rout Chinese Who Held Vessel 3 Days -- One Guard Slain, Passengers Robbed by Attackers -- The Tungchow Reaches Hongkong, 1,350 Miles From Destination. PIRATES ROUTED; 70 CHILDREN SAVED". New York Times (New York): pp. 1, 4. Feb 2, 1935. 
  7. Dinsdale 2013, 379-398.
  8. Dinsdale 2013, 412.
  9. Dinsdale 2013, 527-537.
  10. Dinsdale 2013, 547-578.
  11. Dinsdale 2013, 578.
  12. Dinsdale 2013, 578-631.
  13. Dinsdale 1968, p. frontispiece.
  14. Dinsdale 2013, 1313-1323.
  15. Dinsdale 2013, 3325-3335.
  16. Binns 1983, p. 107.
  17. Dinsdale 1968, p. 1.
  18. Dinsdale 1968, pp. 93,98.
  19. Dinsdale 1968, pp. 105–109.
  20. Dinsdale 1968, p. 252.
  21. Binns 1983, p. 113.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Binns 1983, p. 106.
  23. Binns 1983, p. 127.
  24. Dinsdale 1968, pp. 249–50.
  25. Dinsdale 1968, p. 114.
  26. "Loch Ness Hunt". The Times (London): p. 2. 22 July 1967. 
  27. Hughes, Paul (11 October 1975). "Have a Horror Holiday". Daily Mirror (London): p. 18. 
  28. Dinsdale 2013, p. 3303.
  29. "Episode 4". The Repair Shop. Series 6. 8 April 2020. BBC One. Retrieved 12 October 2022.


  • Dinsdale, Angus (2013). The Man who Filmed Nessie: Tim Dinsdale and the enigma of the Loch Ness Monster. Hancock House. ISBN 978-0-88839-726-3.  Pages are location in Kindle version.
  • Dinsdale, Tim (1961). Loch Ness Monster. Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1968 reprint by the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau plus postscript by the author, of the 1961 book
  • Binns, Ronald (1983). The Loch Ness Mystery Solved. Open Books. ISBN 0-7291-0139-8.