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Military and Naval – pre 20th Century

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  • New South Wales Military Uniforms – A collection of images

    New South Wales Military Uniforms – A collection of images

    A collection of images of early and unusual New South Wales military uniforms – from the Boer War and earlier up to the Great War.

    Housed in a typical 1980’s photograph album with the convenient static assisted flip of sleeve allowing easy access to the items. Some have interesting notes to rear. All up 19 images, many large. Some Army promotional photographs, others photographic reproductions of early images, the odd postcard style.

    Some specifically identified … Sgt J Barracluff, Sydney Troop, NSW Cavalry Regt who we learn was a member of the tournament team sent to Great Britain, 1893- awarded 2nd Prize (equal) for Tilting at R.I.M. Tournament, Dublin 1893. A nice early image of the NSW Army Medical Corps at the Boer war. Sqn Sgt Maj W.H. Davies c1905-1912 in full dress review order. And, drummer Bert Taylor with second set of Drum Banners c1900 on his Drum Horse. Possibly our favourite – the “Cycle Section” many with turned down handle bars … and gaiters …

    A nice diverse collection of NSW historical military uniform images.


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  • Manuscripts in the Charter Chest at Cluny Castle: relating to the Clan Chattan and the Cluny of 1745.

    Privately printed by R&R Clark, Edinburgh, 1879.Octavo, original wrappers, worn at spine and foxed on covers, but excuse it for its rarity. All edges gilt, 60 pages.

    Previous owners signature in black ink on cover and inscription … the last of the direct line of 17th Highland Chief, Albert Cameron Macpherson (1854-1932).

    A most interesting and unique historical document from the charter chest (a form of safe) of the Scottish seat of Cluny Castle. The clan Macpherson took their name in the 15th century and with a confederation of other clans formed the might Clan Chattan, During the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, Ewan Macpherson supported the failed attempt against the English. He fled to France with a number of others of wealth … they had a nice time, unlike those that remained.

    Cluny secrets told nowhere else.


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  • First Class Polo – Tactics & Match Play – Brigadier-General R. L. Ricketts.

    First Class Polo – Tactics & Match Play – Brigadier-General R. L. Ricketts.

    For those that have always wanted to understand polo beyond the general idea of horses, a mallet and a bamboo ball (well plastic now) this is the book. Get ahead become an expert and make the right calls at these posh events.

    A fine copy of a super scarce book outlining the secrets of good polo play. Second edition, effectively self-published through Gale & Polden of Aldershot [British Military town] and London et, 1938.

    Octavo, 48 pages and IX full pages plates of tactics guaranteed to win the play.

    Ricketts played for the Alwar team in India circa 1900 and they won trophy after trophy – see the image of the frontispiece. They won the Indian Polo association Championship for several years and the Delhi Durbar without a single defeat scoring 117 goals against only 15.

    Ricketts describes the “merciless hitting of the ordinary easy ball by the Maharajah, and the advantages of the golf drive trajectory which he imparted to it etc”.

    Rickett’s motivation for the book is the fact that the Americans had more recently dominated the sport and to win back the advantage a quicker harder form of polo must be played. Bit like Bazball if you get that ..

    Ricketts on Polo everything you need to know to beat the Yankees


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  • The Downfall of Prempeh [The West African Ashanti Expedition] -Baden-Powell 1896

    The Downfall of Prempeh [The West African Ashanti Expedition] -Baden-Powell 1896

    A very special book by the Major Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (later Lord Lieutenant General) founder of the Boy Scouts (the first Chief Scout).

    First edition published by Methuen, London in 1896. Octavo, 199 pages, nicely illustrated and with a map. Red cloth covered boards, gilt titles to spine, a little spine fading, otherwise a clean and impressive copy.

    The capital of Ashanti land , Kumassi, sits 75 miles inland from Cape Coast Castle on the West African Gold Coast – now Ghana.

    This is about a military expedition to effectively oust the leader Prempeh because he was totally mad and made his subjects follow his passion which was basically sacrificing people, lots of them, all of the time. They had special places for these rituals and even a massive cauldron style object over which heads were severed. He had a passion for killing virgins sometimes hundreds at a time … not nice man. A think we can agree this was one Colonial intervention that was justified.

    Anyway, Baden-Powell writes so well and we learn a lot about the preparations for the forces sent in, how they were organised and the difficulties and calamities they came across. The ending was rather strange but we will leave that for the reader.

    Ashanti of the Gold Coast – Baden-Powell Expedition


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  • Malory’s – Chronicles of King Arthur – 3 Volumes

    Malory’s – Chronicles of King Arthur – 3 Volumes

    Published by the Folio Society in 1982. Three volumes in original slipcase. Octavo, 292,348 and 262 pages. Blue cloth covered bindings decorated in red and gold. A super looking production.

    Introductions and explanations by experts Sue Bradbury and Kevin Crossley-Holand and nice lino-cuts by Edward Bawden.

    The Chronicles comprise … The Tale of King Arthur; Sir Tristam de Lyonesse and The Morte D’Arthur.

    The legendary tales were first put down in one place by George of Monmouth in the early thirteen century. In the fifteenth century Sir Thomas Malory produced the definitive work completed in 1470, This was at the time Caxton really got going with his printing press so Malory’s work was destined to be promoted and preserved. Naturally, the language and expression of Malory’s writing reflects the period and “modern” writers have edited the text to be readable nowadays.

    What would King Arthur think of a boxed set?


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  • Tasmania’s A.I.F. Lighthorsemen – Peter J. Pickering

    Tasmania’s A.I.F. Lighthorsemen – Peter J. Pickering

    Self published in 2006 the full history of C Squadron, 3rd Light Horse Regiment – exclusively Tasmanian in WWI.

    Large format, soft cover, perfect bound. 142 pages, plus appendices. Magnificently illustrated, the original images, superb coloured charts of campaigns bring the whole story to a new level.

    Largely based on the authorised account of Sir George John Bell DSO CMG. The regiment went to Gallipoli and then back to Egypt and withing days thrown action in the western deserts and to the east of Suez. Among the soldier was a young wool classer Hudson Fysh who near the end of the campaign would take his first flying lessons. He would go on to fly London to Australia and later found QANTAS at Longreach in Queensland.

    Edition limited to 250 copies of which this is signed and numbered 219 by the author. Also signed by the then Governor of Tasmania William Cox.

    Scarce and very readable account – Tasmanian Heroes


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