Sydney: John Sands, circa 1945. First Edition. Large oblong quarto, bound in the original decorated cloth, 96 pp., illustrated throughout. Hinges becoming tender, yet still holding, one leaf detached (nonetheless the book is collated and complete). Dust-jacket worn with some loss. Overall a good copy. Item #330
This book was published in Sydney by officers of the 400th Bomb Squadron's to celebrate their role in the New Guinea, during which time the Squadron assisted Australia in the region.
The 400th Squadron formed a part of the infamous ‘Jolly Rogers’ - the 90th Bombardment Group of the United States Fifth Army Air Force in the Pacific theatre. The 400th Squadron were integral to the New Guinea campaign, especially around Lae, Rabaul and Wewak, and later moved north to assist in the recapture of the Philippines. They also assisted the liberation of the Palau archipelago in Micronesia.
This is one of the more extravagant American Squadron histories of the Second World War. It includes detailed images of all personnel, arranged by type, and covering some 12 pages. A further seven pages of images depict all the bomber crews, arranged by the names of their commanding officers.
‘The Black Pirates’ is a rich photographic image of the war from the air, depicting the bombing of Biak Island, Sawar, Wakde Island, Hollandia airfield, Kavieng (New Ireland), Gasmata and Cape Gloucester (New Britain), Peleliu in the Palau Group, and the Philippines. Furthermore, as a social historical record of the Second World War, it provides images of interactions with the indigenous peoples of New Guinea, day-to-day life on the airfields, and ‘Rest and Recreation’ adventures in Mackay, Queensland, and Sydney in New South Wales.
Of special sentimental interest is three pages of nose art, depicting the belles and femmes fatales adorning the B-52 bombers. ‘The Black Pirates’ is a special book, being one of the more unusual Australian military printings of the Second World War, and is a mixture of irreverent and unusual imagery from the Pacific theatre.
Price (AUD): $800.00