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The Chichester Star Compass (1945)

The Chichester Star Compass (1945)

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Francis Chichester


An original WW2 star compass manual, written by Francis Chichester, and published in 1945 by Allen & Unwin. This is a practical manual covering the information that a serviceman or civilian navigator would need to know to navigate using the stars. It was intended to be an 'efficient but simple instrument, of design based on long-known astronomical principles. Easy to understand and easy to use, either as a compass or planisphere. Designed for use anywhere in the world in a band of latitude between 50 degrees N. and 55 degrees N. For steering by the stars, it can be used on land, at sea, or in the air, and it will serve to check the compass of aircraft, boat, or land traveller'.

The book comes complete with its original dust jacket, and includes full instructions in the use of the star compass (which is in a pocket at the front of the book). The star compass itself comprises a base board to which is pivoted a rotating star disc, with a partly transparent mask and graticule superimposed. According to Chichester, it was 'Ideal for the navigator, pilot, or cadet.'

Sir Francis Charles Chichester (1901 – 1972) was a British pioneering aviator and solo sailor. He was knighted by for becoming the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, taking just nine months and one day to complete the voyage in 1966–67.

Unable to join the RAF at the outbreak of WW2 due to age and eyesight, he was not granted a commission until 14 March 1941 when he joined the RAFVR for the duration of hostilities. His civil occupation was listed as Air Navigation Specialist. His first posting was to the Air Ministry in the Navigation section of the Directorate of Air Member Training, where he served until August 1942. In July 1943 he was sent to the Empire Central Flying School where he instructed in navigation until released in September 1945. He wrote the navigation manual that allowed the pilots of single-handed fighter aircraft to navigate across Europe and back using kneeboard navigation similar to that which he had used in the Pacific.



In very good condition. The boards are in very good condition, with minor signs of wear and use. The dust jacket is in very good condition, with some wear at the edges and spine. The binding is good and secure. The text is in good condition with a few minor marks. The star compass in the pocket at the front of the book is in very good condition.

Published: 1945
Blue boards with black titling, with original dust jacket
With star compass in a pocket at the front
Dimensions : 135mm x 155mm
Pages: 43 (plus Star Compass)