Sir Thomas Brassey [ Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, ] (1836-1918) British Liberal politician, Governor of Victoria [ his wife Anna "Annie" Brassey (née Allnutt), Baroness Brassey (1839-1887) ]
Marseilles; 12 March 1883. On letterhead of the Sunbeam, Royal Yacht Squadron.
1p., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged. Illustrated letterhead, printed in gold, red, blue and purple. Writing on behalf of his wife as well as himself, he explains that 'absence from England will prevent them accepting the kind invitation of Ms. Harrison Blair for Easter Sunday'.
Charles G. Tubbs, editor [ 1st American Squadron, Home Guard (London); Brigadier-General Wade Hampton Hayes (1879-1956), officer commanding ]
London: 'Printed and published at the Headquarters of the 1st American Squadron (Home Guard), 58 Buckingham Gate, S.W.' Nos. 1 to 12 monthly, from December 1941 to November 1942. No. 13 undated [February 1943?].
For more information on the squadron see Charles Dickon's 'Americans at War in Foreign Forces: A History, 1914-1945' (2014). After some difficulties over its status and that of its members, and with the disapproval of American Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, the unit was formed in London in June 1940, with Brigadier-General Wade Hampton Hayes (1879-1956) as commanding officer. After some string-pulling by Charles Sweeny, the Thompson Company in America contributed 100 Tommy Guns and 100,000 rounds of ammunition, and members contributed their cars, painted in camouflage at their own expense.
Sidney Stewart Hume (1886-1976), English First World War fighter pilot, incarcerated in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, 1919-1968, for the 1918 killing at Ham Common of Private Robert Aldridge
Both volumes written in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Crowthorne, Berkshire. 'Book of Verse: Nbr. 1': written between c.1938 and 1949 (bound in 1950). 'Book Nbr. 5 (Five)': 1953 to 1958.
These volumes bear tragic testimony to a diseased mind. A native of Argentina, Hume saw service in the First World War with the 1st County of London Yeomanry at Gallipoli, before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps (66 Squadron, RFC and RAF). In May 1917, while on his second patrol, he was shot down over France. It was while incarcerated in several POW camps (he escaped from one) that Hume's mental illness appears to have begun to manifest itself, and he was exchanged for German prisoners in August 1918.
Corporal Robert Walter Miller, RAF; his wife Margaret Patrica Miller (nee Batchelor) of Eastbourne, Sussex [Brigadier Ralph Billings, Kenneth Hampton and Bernard Hollobone; 527 RCAF Squadron; SEAAF]
Miller's letters from: RCAF Digby, Lincolnshire; RAF Snailwell, near Newmarket, Suffolk; with SEAAF in South-East Asia (Calcutta, India and elsewhere). 1943 to 1946. Other correspondents' letters from 1940 to 1943.
On his daughter's 1943 birth certificate (a copy of which accompanies the collection) Miller is descfibed as 'L/AC 1224106 Royal Air Force (accountants Clerk) of 40 Victoria Drive Eastbourne'. His 228 letters, 18 airgraphs and three telegrams are in good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Around April of 1944 Miller moves with 527 RCAF Squadron from RAF Snailwell, near Newmarket, Suffolk, to RCAF Digby in Lincolnshire, where he remains until the end of 1944. Thereafter he joins RAF SEAAF [South East Asian Air Force], serving in the vicinity of Calcutta, India.
William Kay [HMS Tauranga, Auxiliary Squadron of the Australia Station; Lou Blane; bluejackets]
'H.M.S. Tauranga at Sea' [undated, but presumably on HMS Tauranga's maiden voyage to Australia, 1890].
13pp., 12mo. On three bifoliums and a last single leaf. On aged and worn paper. A semi-literate, but spirited epistle. Little is to be discovered concerning the identity of the writer. Addressed to 'My Darling Son' and signed 'good bye, be good, ever yours and yours alone William Kay', but with a few hints that the letter may not in fact be from a father to his son. Kay begins by stating that he is going to fulfil his promise and write 'a long letter'.
J. Ryan, AB, sailmaker [3rd Cruiser Squadron, Royal Navy; Battle of Dogger Bank, 1915]
Government stamp: 'Supplied for the Public Service'. Diary entries dated from 29 July 1914 to demobilization on 31 May 1919.
Landscape, with leaf dimensions 19 x 10.5 cm. The diary covers 48 pages at one end of the notebook, with the diagrams and specifications over 32 pp at the other end. In original sturdy brown leather binding, with brass clasp, empty wallet at front and pouch for pencil. Marbled endpapers. In good condition. Text clear and complete on lightly-aged paper. Binding worn and with split hinges. In pencil on fore-edge: 'J. RYAN.
149 SQUADRON, ROYAL AIR FORCE, BOMBING OF THE RUHR VALLEY, SECOND WORLD WAR
No date [c.1940-1]; Sgts. Mess, Mildenhall, Suffolk.
2 pages, 8vo, both with Royal Air Force letterhead bearing the motto 'PER ARDUA AD ASTRA'. Not in good condition - creased, frayed, torn and discoloured - but a marvellous and immediate piece of history, regarding what one authority describes as the 'strategic bombing [...] principally against the Ruhr, on which No.149 concentrated during the winter of 1940-1'. The letter begins 'Dear Mum, | Just a line to thank you for the photographs, I think that one of you is very good.