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Fred T. Jane

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Category: Military
Reference No: 7451
Status: Available
Price: £95.00
  Fred T. Jane

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Extraordinary British founding editor of reference books on warships (All the World's Fighting Ships) and aircraft (All the World's Airships).

A vicar's son with a naval obsession, Jane spent his youth fighting sea battles on the village pond in Upottery, Devon, and his teenage years at Exeter school exploring the explosive potential of chemistry.

In his teens he began sketching warships, and among his first journalistic commissions was a trip to cover the 1889 inspection of the combined fleets at Spithead by Kaiser Wilhelm II. On that trip he sketched and took statistical details of 100 ships. Nine years later he published Fighting Ships, which contained details of more than 200, and within two years it became the definitive guide to naval intelligence.

In the years that followed, Jane added 19 more military books to the company stable as well as writing nine novels, including To Venus in Five Seconds 1897) and The Violet Flame (1899).

As an Independent  parliamentary candidate in the 1906 General Election he gained notoriety by kidnapping a Labour MP as a publicity stunt, and he travelled the country at reckless speeds in early sports cars. He is even credited with a role in the establishment of MI5.

This is a letter, handwritten and signed in black fountain pen ink on a sheet of headed notepaper ("Fighting Ships", 17 Elphinstone Road, Souhsea. Portsmouth, no date), with excellent content.

To a Mr Anderson, it reads (in full)

Many thanks for the trouble you have taken.

You are wrong about Kashiman and Katori* though - it was merely a newspaper yarn about the varying displacements: the two ships were built to the same design & are identical within a ton or so

Yours sincerely

Fred T.Jane

The letter has two vertical and two horizontal correspondence folds and has numerous creases, handling dings and two splits at either end of the lower horizontal correspondence fold. VERY RARE.

* The Kashima and Katori were two pre-dreadnought battleships built in Britain for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Kashima was built by Armstrong Whitworth at Elswick and completed in 1906 and the Katori was built by Vickers in Barrow and completed in 1905.