British archeologist John Pendlebury may have provided some inspiration for the character of William Harper Littlejohn. He was blinded in one eye at age but went on to become a notable college athlete at Cambridge where he excelled in the high jump as well as running. He wore a monocle over his glass eye while jumping and was known as the “monocle jumper.”
Pendlebury was an archeologist of some renown with excavations in Egypt and Crete.
He was also reputed to have great stamina and endurance with the ability to walk long distances. Pendlebury’s first name is “John” while Littlejohn is nicknamed “Johnny.” Pendlebury was 36 years old when he was killed in 1941 during the German invasion of Crete.
Read more about John Pendlebury at the British School at Athens Archives.