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Fifth Column  (1940)

Fifth Column (1940)

Price £89.00 Sale


John Langdon-Davies

JOHN MURRAY, London, 1940

A rare 1940 first edition of John Langdon-Davies Fifth Column, a study of Fascist propaganda and espionage, based on the author’s experiences as a journalist and in the Spanish Civil War. It includes advice on how to overcome the threat posed by the Fifth Column in Britain at the start of WW2. John Eric Langdon-Davies (1897–1971) was a British author and journalist. He was a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War and the Russo-Finnish war. As a result of his experiences in Spain, he founded the Foster Parents' Scheme for refugee children in Spain, now a huge international organisation called Plan. He was a military instructor during WW2 and was awarded the MBE for services to the Home Guard.

The book is signed on the title page by its original owner, Thomas Hope Floyd (1896-1973). Floyd served with the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers during WW1, as a Private from the outbreak of war until the battle of the Somme, after which he was commissioned. His letters, memoirs, and other documents are catalogued at the National Archives and are available at the Lancashire Archives. He is best known today as the author of the classic WW1 memoir At Ypres with Best-Dunkley (1917), an account of the events which led up to the Battle of Ypres in 1917. Bertram Best-Dunkley (1890-1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. He was a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in the 2/5th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers. On 31 July 1917 at Wieltje, Belgium, when the leading waves of the attack had become disorganised by rifle and machine-gun fire at very close range from positions which were believed to be in British hands, Best-Dunkley dashed forward, rallied his men and personally led them to the assault of these positions, which despite heavy losses, were carried. He continued to lead his battalion until all their objectives were gained. Later in the day, when the British position was threatened, he gathered up his men, led them to the attack, and beat off the advancing German forces. He later died of his wounds.


In fair to good condition. The card cover is in fair to good condition, with general signs of use, some marks, and repaired damage to the spine. The binding and hinges are secure, the front hinge having been carefully reinforced with archival paper tape. The text is in good condition. There is a university library bookplate and a sticker on the front endpapers. The book is signed on the title page by ‘Thomas Hope Floyd, 2nd August 1940’.

Published: 1940
Yellow card cover, black titling
Dimensions: 125mm x 185mm
Pages: 60