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The A.A. Gunner’s creed

A.A. RAF team in Normandy.
Many thanks Histomil
Found in The Journal of the Royal Air Force Volume 15, no. 2 Autumn, 1935. pp 229-230 The A.A. Gunner's Creed, by H. W. H. The journal preface the creed by stating "…the origin of this creed is unknown, and the Editor publishes it hoping that he is not infringing any copyright" - a sentiment we also echo. HWH shows considerable wit and was probably a formidable gunner. A.A., as every WWII buff knows, stands for 'Anti-Aircraft.'

Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary to hold the A.A. Faith.

Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall miss the target everlastingly.

And the A.A. Faith is this: that we worship Calibration and the Mean of Three Height Readings.

Neither confounding the Height-takers: nor cavilling at their marvellous discrepancies.

For there is one Height of the Mirror, another of the Altimeter: and another of the U.B.2.

And yet there are not three Heights; but one Height.

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki seventy years on–a naval officer’s visit to Japan in 1946/1947

To mark the terrible events of seventy years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, here are some postcards bought by my late father while visiting Japan, late in 1946 or early in 1947, as a commander in the Royal Navy. They were found interleaved in the first volume of a two volume guide book entitled We Japanese, first published in December 1934 and June 1937,by H.S.K Yamaguchi, the managing director of the exclusive Fujiya Hotel at Miyanoshita, situated in the mountainous region of Hakone, eighty miles SW of Tokyo.

The first and second volumes of this four hundred page guide to ‘many of the customs, manners, ceremonies, festivals, arts and crafts of the Japanese’ were reprinted in October and December respectively. A third and final volume appeared in 1949. My father probably bought his copies while staying at the hotel, which was established in 1878 by a member of the Yamaguchi family, and today advertises itself as the oldest ‘Western-style’ hotel in Japan. He wouldn’t have met the guide’s author, who had made great improvements to his hotel in the thirties, because he had died in 1944, but he might have rubbed shoulders with some of its famous guests. During the war one of these was the loathsome ‘Butcher of Warsaw’, Joseph Meisinger, but he had been captured by the Allies in September 1945. At other times celebrities staying at this exclusive hotel included Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Charlie Chaplin, and the Emperor of Japan himself. In 1978 Yoko Ono took John Lennon here.

Today, at £133 pp per night, the Fujiya Hotel no doubt trades on its exclusive reputation, but it is still cheaper than a less famous rival nearby. If you do decide to visit it, the receptionist may let you consult the final issue (1950) of the guide to Japan that my father bought nearly seventy years ago. [RMH]

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World War 2 free book campaign

Found - a stamp in the front of a book reading: 'Dear Friend, This book comes to you with every good wish from the people of Leicester. May it help you to spend happily some of your hours off duty. GOOD LUCK. From The City of Leicester.'

It was in a copy of Brahms and Simon's A Bullet in the Ballet (Joseph, London 1937.) This was probably part of  a campaign to give off-duty service men and women a free book to read in the latter days of World War 2 - and also to welcome them to towns near their bases. There is slight evidence from online research that this was a British Council initiative. Possibly it was aimed at American troops...

Two books appear in online libraries bearing  this stamp. The first is Lord Raglan's The Science of Peace (Methuen, London 1933) with a similarly stamp but from 'Tunton' (probably a misprint for Taunton). This was at  the Royal Anthropological Institute. The other was a 'Bacon-wrote-Shakespeare'  book that had made its way to the Kirov Order of Honour Universal Regional Scientific Library in Russia. The stamp there is from the Borough of Dagenham. The book was Sir Edwin Duhring-Lawrence's Bacon is Shakespeare (Gay & Hancock, London 1910). Good reading for the war weary soldier...

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Air Raid Precautions. Hints for Housewives..

A wealth of practical information from a Mrs Creswick Atkinson. This 1941 booklet was aimed at housewives in World War II. In the case of an air raid or the possibility of such you either went to to your own air raid shelter (often an Anderson shelter), a public shelter or 'a table indoor shelter' or refuge room. If sheltering under a table you had to be sure it was the bottom floor or basement. The booklet is good on children and pets (although a child is often referred to as 'it') and says several times that they should be sent to the country, something not always possible. There is advice on gas attacks, incendiary bombs and even what to do if being machine gunned by an enemy plane:

Do not run away from the plane. Throw yourself down on your face at once. If you have to run, run towards the plane, not from it. 

In case your house is bombed:

1. Pack a suitcase of spare clothing and keep it at a friend's house in another part of town.
2. Arrange with a friend at the opposite end of your street or in another part of the town to give you hospitality for a short time in case of need.
3. Arrange with a relative to take you in until you can return to your house or find other quarters.

There is the usual advice about not spreading rumours and to 'keep cheerful yourself, and keep others cheerful too. A long face does not help anyone, but a cheerful face always makes the day seem brighter.' In fact 'Keep Calm and Carry on!'

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