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War & Escape – 20th Century

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  • The Night-mare – C.S. Forester – First edition 1954

    The Night-mare – C.S. Forester – First edition 1954

    First edition published by Michael Joseph, London in 1954. Octavo, 240 pages. Some wear to dust jacket an light edge spotting, otherwise a very good copy of this special WWII collection.

    Forester wrote a number of “non-fiction” accounts based of WWII events. Here we have ten short stories based on true accounts recorded in the details of the Nuremberg and Belsen trials.

    His introduction provides important perspective … for sure it was his personal wish that man should truly learn from the past. Well his writing is as always very readable.

    Forester educates – a different book about the Second World War.


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  • Vickers Mk1 303 M.G. [Machine Gun] Slide Rule Manufactured by W.H.H. for the Australian Forces – WWII

    Vickers Mk1 303 M.G. [Machine Gun] Slide Rule Manufactured by W.H.H. for the Australian Forces – WWII

    A fine example of the Vickers slide rule for the 303 (7.7mm) Machine Gun … perhaps the best machine gun of the 20thC.

    The Vickers 303 MG was based on the earlier MAXIM Gun after Vickers purchased the manufacturer in 1898. The Vickers 303 was used from WWI up until 1968 … it played its biggest part in WWII. It was capable of 10,000 rounds per hour and incredibly robust and reliable. Well like by Australian and New Zealand gunners. Required a team of five or six to operate … it was rather heavy, with a heavy tripod, water cooler and condenser and one can only imagine the weight of ammunition at the rate of firing. It was often used for “indirect firing” at up to 4 kms i.e., when the target could not necessarily be seen, and the trajectory must be calculated – hence the development of the sophisticated slide rule.

    This Australian variant of the Mark I is an adaptation of the Mark III that was manufactured in metal following a request from the 2/2nd (Australian) Machine Gun Battalion as the found the then wooden Mark III unsuitable for jungle warfare. The Vickers historical website references and Australian War Diary …

    “RULES, SLIDE: Probably one of the most useful items of equipment held by Machine Gunners is the Slide Rule. The present issue Rule, slide MG Mk III – 303 VMG for Mark VII amn is quite unserviceable, being made of cane and glued at the joins. The cane swells in the moist climate, the slides will not run freely, the glue gives way at the joins – and the whole thing falls to pieces. Should any of these things fail to happen, the white ants make sure that the Rule is u/s. So that throughout all the recent ops we have been denied the use of this most useful instrument. The Mk IV slide rule, designed for use with Mk V IIIz amn, is of metal construction throughout, and is most efficient. Were it possible to have a similar Rule, suitable for use with Mk VII amn, it would be of great assistance.

    15cm by 8cm by 1cm with two independent reversible sides for calculating range, drop, dispersion etc. Moves freely, excellent condition.

    The 2/2nd (Australian) Machine Gun Battalion was formed in 1940 and went to the Middle east and then fought at the Battle of Alamein. By 1943 they were required back in Australia to oppose the Japanese – they fought at Milne Bay and then later in Borneo. The equatorial conditions encountered gave rise to the above report and the re-development of this Slide Rule.

    See example in the VMGCRA collection … similarly manufactured by W.H.H. the struggle to find any further references to this maker.

    Unusual military slide rule … of some complexity and Australian relevance regarding its construction and manufacture


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  • There Was a Ship [The Story of Her Years at Sea] – Patsy Adam-Smith AO OBE

    There Was a Ship [The Story of Her Years at Sea] – Patsy Adam-Smith AO OBE

    A new edition softcover published by Penguins in 1995, 284 pages, Illustrations from period photographs. paper showing a little age otherwise a very good copy.

    Born in Victoria and spending some of her mature years in Tasmania patsy Adam-Smith had a pretty full life. This is her second autobiographical work focusing on her time at sea. During WWI she had been a nurse on a Hospital ship. This book is about her time in the Bass Strait and in and around the coastal waters of Australia. It features the tough life of those that live and work on the Bass Strait’s Island and particularly the Cape Barren Islands and the mutton bird trade.

    A special Australian sailor … and the mutton birds.


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  • Unusual Queensland Item – Directions by Night and by Day – Simple Methods Developed for the use of Scout Troops – E. T. Holdaway FRAS and W.J. Newell

    Unusual Queensland Item – Directions by Night and by Day – Simple Methods Developed for the use of Scout Troops – E. T. Holdaway FRAS and W.J. Newell

    This is a essentially a military guide for soldiers and scouts (maybe with military intentions) printed by Roberts & Russell, George Street Brisbane, described as distributed by Barker’s Bookstore so therefore also generally available. Having said that we cannot find any other copies; not in Trove.

    A 24 page soft cover. Large folding chart celestial chart of unusual style at front, numerous other diagrams throughout. Stapled binding with spine sometime split now re-enforced. Generally good condition for a fragile item

    Edwin Thomas Holdaway was a Fellow of the Astronomical Society and the Head Surveyor in the Queensland Lands Department, Lecturer at the University of Queensland in Surveying. Newell was also in the Lands Department and was the designated Queensland Astronomical Observer of the time. Holdaway died in 1947 which confirms the likelihood this was a WWII technical assistance booklet.

    Unusual Queensland Astronomical Work – WWII


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  • WWI Maritime and Travel Original Annotated Photograph Album – Over 180 Images

    WWI Maritime and Travel Original Annotated Photograph Album – Over 180 Images

    A most interesting collection spanning the years of WWI and shortly afterwards. Taken and compiled by a marine officer, over 180 original photographs, taken with some expertise, nicely presented in its original Morocco bound photograph album. The photographer has presented each photograph framing it within white borders and added very neatly in white a useful description.

    The condition of the photographs is good overall, a few are faded or marked in some way from the passage of time, others are crisp and clean. A few have been removed or fallen out and few are loose inside …we have not studied where they could go … the album is robust and showing minor age wear, the whole package is very presentable and more or less complete. We wish we knew the photographer … he was clearly officer material on the Orontes and had a wife and child … we have included his image as the “thumbnail” … does anyone know who he was …?

    The album can be split into two distinct periods. The first, before January 1919 being mainly onboard the HMT Orontes a vessel that plied the England – Australia route for the Orient line. With the outbreak of WWI, it became a troop carrier. The photographer appears to have also served on SS Derbyshire in a similar capacity. During this phase he took images of a number of famous vessels used in the war effort and numerous images of views, landmarks, architecture, and the people at various ports of call.

    The second element post January 1919 is devoted to a circumnavigation on SS Cufic which head across the Atlantic to Nova Scotia, down to the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia, Durban, Cape Town, and Home.

    Photographs of vessels include … RMS Mauretania; Kaiseren Auguste Victoria [surrendered in 1919 and used to bring American troops home]; HMS Renown [in New York Harbour with the Prince of Wales on board]; HMS Carpathia [of Titanic rescue fame and later torpedoed and sunk]; RMS Pannonia; SS Explorer; SS Demosthenes [used to carry Australian troops]; HMS Sydney [in Colombo Harbour just after the sinking of the German Cruiser Emden]; SS Derbyshire [Colombo – Rangoon Line]; HMT Osterley; SS Cufic and HMT Orontes.

    Examples of the touring images include …

    The Flatiron (previously Fuller) skyscraper – New York
    Washington Arch – New York
    Statue of Liberty – New York
    Top of Woolworth Tower – New York
    5th Avenue – New York
    A Glimpse of Wall Street – New York
    Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge – New York
    Boston views
    The Citadel Quebec
    Main Street Gibraltar
    A “Blimp” convoying
    A Glimpse of the US army
    Panama Canal scenes
    On route to Calcutta
    Homeward bound in the Bay of Biscay
    Cinnamon Gardens Colombo
    Cape St Vincent – Portugal [Incorrectly described Spanish]
    Hindu Temple South India
    Colombo Harbour
    Ox waggon Rangoon Burma
    On the Temple steps – India
    Native of South India
    Children of North India
    Hindu dockworker
    The Pagoda Calcutta
    Burmese Shrine to the God Dagan
    The Schegadon Pagodas Rangoon
    The lake Rangoon
    A Burmese girl off to the well
    Anzac Day 1918 some fancy costumes
    Sierra Leone West Africa
    Leaving Table Bay HMS Britannia escorting
    South African troops on board – the first bugle call – “Cookhouse!”
    Scene in Native Quarter Durban
    Australian sheep Hamilton Victoria
    Sydney Zoo
    Wellington New Zealand
    Tahiti South Sea Islands
    Main Street Papeete
    Tahitian Friends
    Papeete from Crows Nest
    A Harbour view Tahiti
    A big dam Panama Canal
    Electric Mule Panama Canal
    Leaving Liverpool Jan 18, 1919 – “Bon Voyage” [a self portrait]
    The first port Louisbourg – Cape Breton Island [Nova Scotia]
    Snow scene St John Nova Scotia
    Lock gates and numerous others – Panama Canal
    “Star of Holland” mid -Pacific [a US Tall Ship]
    New Zealand including memorial to Robert Scott
    Melbourne – picking up the Pilot
    Quarantine procedures in Melbourne
    A number in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane … and the way home via South Africa

    Superb, interesting unique photographic record. Now over 100 years old.


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  • The Badge of the Artists Rifles (Special Air Service)

    The Badge of the Artists Rifles (Special Air Service)

    The Artists Rifles was formed in 1860. The idea of the Artists occurred to Edward Sterling, an art student and ward of Thomas Carlyle, who convened a meeting of fellow students in the life class of Carey’s School of Art, Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury – from this the Corps of Artists was formed consisting of painters, sculptors, engravers, musicians, architects and actors. The badge was designed by Wyon, the Queen’s medallist –consisting of two heads: Mars – God of War and Minerva – Goddess of Wisdom. The badge carries the motto “Cum Marte Minerva” also the title of the regimental march. A regimental rhyme of note is “Mars, he was the God of war, and didn’t stop at trifles, Minerva was a bloody whore. So hence The Artists’ Rifles”.

    Light weight pressed metal 9cm by 6cm. strong deep relief.

    The Artists have an outstanding war record; the Victoria Cross being awarded on eight occasions. Whilst disbanded in 1945 they were reformed in 1947 as the 21st Special Air service Regiment (Artists Rifles).

    Notable members of The Artists included Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, Noel Coward, Frank Dobson, Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes OBE, Frederic Leighton, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Barnes Wallis


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