On the eve of the Cold War

[World War II - British Armed Forces]. Scrapbook.

Western Front and aboard HMS Mauritius, 1942-1947.

Folio (260 x 360 mm). (153) ff. With 136 original black-and-white photographs, 10 picture postcards (6 of the Berlin Olympic stadium), 2 souvenir packs of photographs of Corfu (12 each), a pack of 15 photographs of Arnhem, 1 ALS (10 pp.), a large quantity of newspaper clippings, several telegrams, Red Cross certificates, booklets, brochures, menus and Christmas cards. Contemporary blindstamped half calf over cloth boards with 4 cloth straps.


A trove of photographs and ephemera, collected and assembled as an annotated scrapbook by two brothers serving in the British Army and Royal Navy. Particularly interesting for the rare images of Jewish refugee ships off the Palestinian coast, along with material relating to the 1946 Corfu Channel incident, considered an early episode of the Cold War.

The first section of the book reflects the army career of Stephen Charles De Lancey Aitchison, comprising impressive photographs of his training at Sandhurst, along with numerous newspaper clippings about allied advances on German territory, including news reports on Operation Queen against the Siegfried Line and the battle of Geilenkirchen in November 1944.

The second part illustrates Lennox Gordon Fraser Aitchison's career in the Royal Navy from March 1944 to June 1947, mainly serving as Able Seaman Printer aboard HMS Mauritius, one of the ships actively involved in the second Corfu Channel incident. Records relating to this historic event include 9 original photographs showing the "Saumarez" and "Volage" destroyers striking mines, and the "Leander" towing both of them, a sketch locating the explosions, and a letter from Lennox to his brother giving a lively eye-witness report: "Saumarez was first opened up on by Small Arms from the Albanian Coast, and 2 minutes later was obscured by fire following a terrific explosion". Among other notable photographs appear 7 rare images of illegal Jewish refugee sailing ships "crowded out with humanity" encountered off the coast of Mandate Palestine near Haifa, along with various charming views of Trieste, Malta, Nice, Nafplio, and Corfu.

A loosely inserted first edition of "The Two Types", a popular cartoon about two battle-hardened British officers prepared by William John Jones (pseud. "Jon") for the British Army Newspaper Unit, as well as some certificates from the Red Cross for Lady Shena Lennox Aitchison top off this exceptional collection.

Extremities somewhat rubbed. Occasional spotting; some photographs a little curled. A unique survival.

Art.-Nr.: BN#62273 Schlagwörter: , , ,