Robert Erskine Childers DSC,universally known as Erskine Childers,was the author of the influential novel The Riddle of the Sands and an Irish nationalist who smuggled guns to Ireland in his sailing yacht Asgard. He was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War. He was the son of British Orientalist scholar Robert Caesar Childers; the cousin of Hugh Childers and Robert Barton; and the father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers.

Childers was a Boer War veteran and was called back to active duty at the start of World War One.