Catalogue No. 171 “Festubert”
November 2020

Catalogue 171 contains the usual selection of new stock in most of the customary areas, including a number of interesting and scarce books and several unusual manuscript items.

This is the last catalogue I will be issuing this year, so may I take this opportunity to wish all my customers and their families a very happy Christmas and New Year. It has been a tough year for most of us, one way or another, and we can only hope that there is a return to some sort of normality in 2021.

We are a leading dealers in rare and second hand books on British military history from around 1800 to 1945. The Great War, 1914-1918, has always been our speciality and we hold extensive stocks of regimental and divisional histories, official histories, standard works, memoirs, Rolls of Honour, Army Lists and so forth. For more information see

Goodbye to All That: An Autobiography.
Classic Western Front memoirs of poet & infantry officer. 1st & 2nd Bns. RWF, Loos, Somme, &c. Nice copy of 1st USA edition: orig. red cloth, gilt, VG in sl. chipped & neatly repaired dw. See illustrations on our website. 1930 £220

Death of a Hero: A Novel.
One of the finest war novels by a participant, relating the family background, personal progression (public school, sexual development, louche Soho life before 1914) of the principal character, who enlisted in the ranks & saw much active service until commissioned & ultimately killed in action. Falls (awarding a Star) wrote: "...It is one of the bitterest war novels that has been written, yet strangely enough the actual scene of war is less horrible in its pages than comfortable England of the days before. To say that Mr Aldington's indictment is in any sense judicial would be absurd; it is far too savage for that. But its power is considerable. The war scenes are among the best of their kind." This is the "Authorized Unexpurgated Edition Limited to 300 Numbered Copies" - of which this is an unnumbered example. The 1st trade Edition was published by Chatto & Windus, in London, & Covici-Freiede, in NY, in 1929, reprinted 1930 &c., but was quite heavily redacted by the removal of profanities, passages regarding sexuality & other matter that would not have passed the censors. Aldington included a prefaratory Note to explain that: "This novel in print differs in some particulars from the same book in manuscript. To my astonishment, my publishers informed me that certain words, phrases, sentences, & even passages, are at present taboo in England. I have recorded nothing which I have not observed in human life, said nothing I do not believe to be true. I had not the slightest intention of appealing to any one's salacious instincts... At my request the publishers are removing what they believe would be considered objectionable, & are placing asterisks to show where omissions have been made..." There are several dozen such omissions amounting to some hundreds of words. This edition was the first to offer the complete and unaltered text. It was issued in printed paper wraps., as offered here, but with glassine wrappers & a slipcase: these have been lost but this copy is has an excellent modern purpose made slipcase with paper title label, VG thus & scarce. See illustrations on our website. 1930 £225

Pass Guard at Ypres.
Near classic Western Front memoirs in novelised form. Gurner served in F&F with the Rifle Brigade & Cyclist Corps, gaining the MC & being badly wounded. He never really recovered & committed suicide after a successful teaching career at Marlborough, Whitgift &c. Orig. maroon cloth, VG & rare, especially in the coveted pictorial dw, this example with neat internal renovation where chipped at extremities & very nice copy thus. See illustration on our website. 1930 £425

Old Soldiers Never Die.
Classic other rank memoir of the Great War by an 'Old Sweat' of 2nd RWF recalled from the reserve & mobilised with his bn. in 1914: Retreat from Mons, Festubert, Loos, Somme &c. (DCM/MM). His account of signalling work in action is particularly valuable. The ms. was prepared for publication by Robert Graves, who served in the same bn. 1915-1916. Orig. red cloth, titles in black, VG copy of early impression (a month after the 1st) in rare dw (a little chipped & marked, generally VG). Rarely seen in dw & early editions, despite there being several impressions, are remarkably scarce. See illustration on our website. 1933 £245

The Retreat from Mons, By One Who Shared in It.
Standard contemporary account with Order of Battle & texts of despatches. Orig. red cloth, gilt, VG in attractive orig. pictorial dw, this a little chipped but intact & appealing. Very rare in jacket in spite of the large number printed over many impressions. See illustration on our website. 1917 £145


An Infant in Arms: War Letters of a Company Officer 1914-1918.
Classic Western Front memoirs with 1/4th Bn. Ox. & Bucks. L.I. in France & Italy: invaluable insight into the life & experiences of an enthusiastic 1914 volunteer of the officer class. Orig. green cloth, gilt, near fine in like dw & scarce 1st Ed., especially in dw, See illustration on our website. 1935 £275

Other Ranks.
Fine third-person account of life in the infantry in France & Flanders closely based on author's service as a private soldier, with a glowing endorsement as to its mood & authenticity by Blunden. The author was Cpl. William Vincent Tilsley, who enlisted in the Manchester Regt., served with it, & later 1/4th Loyal North Lancs. in 55th (West Lancs.) Div., in France, & who was MID LG 25/5/1917. In the battalion history he is listed as serving with 'C' Coy. & wounded on 20/9/1917 (Battle of the Menin Road). He provides a very true to life account of the infantryman's experience of battle, as well as behind the lines, including a year in the Ypres Salient. Orig. black cloth, gilt, VG & rare, especially in dw, 'tho this rather chipped & worn, but intact. See illustration on our website. 1931 £245

Twelve Days.
A classic in-depth account of one twelve day tour in the trenches on the Somme with 'B' Coy., 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment by the company commander. VG in chipped dw, small loss at head of sp., sl. creased at edges, but striking & scarce dw (the publisher's sleeve notes opining that "The terror & boredom of it all are not forgotten, but neither is the sympathy & fellowship bred out of the dangers & the strain. The simplicity of the writing & the faithfulness with which the mirror is held up to trench life give a reflection that is particularly vivid, & one that is certain to bring back a flood of recollections to those who shared his experiences & yet present the younger generation with the unbiased picture which they have so far lacked.") Scarce in dw. See illustration on our website. 1933 £120
The Fighting Territorials. Volume II.
Scarce account of London battalions on the Western Front during 1915, following on from Vol. I which was mainly concerned with 2nd Ypres &c. This volume includes includes: 1st to 4th Londons, Cast Iron 6th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st Londons., &c., at Battle of Loos &c., inc. citations for MCs & DCMs, plus list of those Mentioned in Despatches. Very nice example in attractive orig. pictorial wraps. See illustration on our website. £65
The Soldier Squire: A Memoir with Portraits of Second-Lieutenant George Braddyll Bigland of Bigland of the 1/4th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, the Immortal Fifty-First Division.
2nd Lieutenant Bigland was born at St. Louis, Missouri, but returned to England aged two, was privately educated & took over running the Bigland estate at an early age, his father having died in 1902. He received a commission in the 4th Bn. Royal Lancaster Regiment (TF) in August 1914, joined in September & left for the front with his battalion on 3rd May 1915. Six weeks later he was Killed in Action, leading his platoon in the Battle of Festubert on 15th June 1915. An account of his childhood & youth largely recalled by his widowed mother, to whom, as an only child, he was naturally close, & of his military training. His death is described in letters from officers & men of his battalion. He was twenty-three years old & had married in the spring of 1915, Audrey Hampson; a daughter, also Audrey, was born after his death. He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial. Orig. red cloth, gilt to front (title & coat of arms), VG, rare & touching memorial, with lengthy presentation inscrip. from his mother to front paste-down: "This short memoir of her only Son, is presented to Mrs Salmon by his very proud, but life-sorrow stricken Mother Editha Blanche Hinde Bigland of Bigland - He lived nobly, he died nobly, he went to his death, a Gentleman, Unafraid..." See illustrations on our website. 1923 £175



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