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War & Escape – 20th Century

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  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom – T.E. Lawrence of Arabia – First Trade Edition 1935

    Published by Jonathan Cape London 1935 – Seven Pillars of Wisdom a Triumph – “The Sword also means Clean-ness + Death”.

    First trade edition second impression same month as the July first impression. The Trade Edition preceded by the incomplete “Oxford” edition of 1922 (8 copies only were printed) and the very rare privately printed “Subscribers Edition” of 1927 (170 copies).

    Thick quarto, 672 pages. Frontispiece portrait of a bust of Lawrence, 4 folding maps as called for, 2 facsimiles and a total of 54 illustrations – 46 of which are dramatic portraits of men who appear in the book. Previous owners bookplate on paste down, a very good copy.

    Lawrence “took pains to bring objects and artists together”. A classic book written by Lawrence after a very successful war leading the Arabs against the Turks, considered one of the most important books on war especially political and guerrilla warfare. Churchill called it “One of the greatest books ever written in the English language”

    Lawrence of Arabia’s great book


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  • Bulldozer – Michael Terry – Rare – signed by Terry and with an interesting note by recipient.

    Bulldozer – Michael Terry – Rare – signed by Terry and with an interesting note by recipient.

  • Explorer adventurer Michael Terry was excluded from the War effort in WWII because of previous health issues and maybe he was getting on. This did not stop him assisting the war effort of the N.S.W. Department of Main Roads. After all, at the time he was likely Australia’s most notable modern inland adventurer. On one of his famous 1920’s expedition he drove a Model T Ford from Queensland to Broome in WA. His further explorations by camel and tractor gave rise to several highly collectable travel accounts.

    Published by the State Government in 1945. Perfect bound, decorative card covers, 260 pages, illustrated from period photographs. Super scarce … no other obvious copies available. Signed boldly by Terry near front. A little age as you would expect, still a very good copy.

    The premise of the book may sound a bit dull. Fear not the NSW infrastructure people had quite different role because of the War and assisting communication throughout Australia was one of them and it did not stop there … with involvement in Noumea, New Caledonia in the Pacific etc. Terry has a style, reflected in his earlier writing ‘Across Unknown Australia” etc that takes you to the moment of his adventures and observations, many references to individuals and their exploits. We also have the bombing of Darwin and the making of the Brisbane Line difficulties with a Diving Bell etc.

    At front is a very interesting note likely by the recipient “Beau” …. “Michael Terry was my friend. He served as a Marine in Russia in the war subsequent to WWI [Terry was an armoured car driver – he was captured and narrowly escaped execution by the Bolsheviks] … he travelled inland Australia and wrote about it. He was a F.R.G.S … He would now be at least 100 … 24th October 77 …” and other reminiscences. The writer quite wrong about Terry’s age, he would have been 78 at the time this note was written … time has a way of clouding the memory.

    Michael Terry a scarce and unusual account …

  • $80.00

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  • Revolt in The Desert -T.E. Lawrence – 1927 Pre dates general issue of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

    Revolt in The Desert -T.E. Lawrence – 1927 Pre dates general issue of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

    Published in London by Jonathan Cape a fifth impression of the first edition published in May 1927, first impression March that year. Bound in original sienna-brown cloth with gilt lettering. Royal 8vo, pp. 446. Good condition without dust jacket. Pages very clean good likewise map at rear, front hinge tender, otherwise a solid book. Heavy so not suitable for Overseas mailing at this price.

    Revolt in the Desert is an abridgement of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It was the only version available to the general public until the 1935 edition of The Seven Pillars was issued for general circulation. The book was an instant success. This is fifth printing of the first trade edition after the limited edition published in May 1927 (the first four impressions all being issued in March 1927). The whole illustrated by 16 plates and a good folding map.

    Out of interest – the costs for production of the 1926 private edition of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom had ballooned to such an extent that Lawrence was contemplating selling either his library or some of his property to clear the debt. Eventually he settled on this abridgement, undertaken in 1926 by Lawrence with the help of fellow servicemen, an earlier attempt by Edward Garnett having been set aside. The profits from this publication made the fortunes of the Cape publishing house.

    Lawrence of Arabia – Revolt in The Desert


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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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