Title: 1941 ORIGINAL ARCHIVE OF HANDWRITTEN DIARIES...
Publisher: KOHIMA IMPHAL INDIA
Publication Date: 1941
Book Condition: Good
On offer is a substantial archive of manuscript diaries, letters, documents, photographs and ephemera handwritten and accumulated by George Kerr, of Aikenhead Road, Gorbals, Glasgow, who served in India, Burma and Germany in the Royal Armoured Corps during the Second World War. There are over 160 pieces in this grouping beginning with his call up to the Armoured Corps at Catterick in 1941 and following Kerr to India where he served with the 26th Hussars and 3rd Carabiners and in various tanks including the Grant and the Sherman. [The 3rd Carabiners served in their M3 tanks at Kohima and Imphal; "B" Squadron in particular was in heavy fighting up the steep slopes at Imphal - Kerr was "B" squadron, as there are two handwritten chits for "Disposition of Armament" for Tank 25814 'Balmoral'; it was common practice for all tanks in a squadron to be given call signs with the initial letter of that squadron. The chits mention both 75mm and 37mm ammunition, which corresponds with the M3 tank. His theatre-made 14th Army patch is included.] The archive includes: two "Jotter" notepads used as a diary during his long troopship voyage from England via South Africa to arrival in Bombay and the first week or so in India; a small leather pocketbook contains names and addresses of dozens of other tankers and soldiers, clearly friends and comrades of Kerr (a few girls mixed in), as well as a list of letters he has written to each; photos believed to be of Kerr, two in the 14th Army slouch hat; a letter certificate for "His Britannic Majesty's Transport X5" crossing the equator; there are 15 letters to Kerr (some immediately postwar) from what appears to be a girlfriend in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (whom research suggest he married and moved to Canada); ENSA programs, handwritten songs, poem and comedy routines by Kerr for entertainment "smokers" in India; ticket stubs from India and also Germany (Luneburg theatre); three  "Airgraph" letters sent to Kerr while in the 26th Hussars in "Prohibited Area, Colaba, India"; an apparently silver pin with Chinese characters (pinback broken); a "Health Memoranda for British Soldiers in the Tropics" (covering topics such as VD, malaria, sandfly fever, worms, and somewhat surprisingly, denouncing cigarette smoking - but pipes are OK!); two  prewar sports annuals from Strathbungo School, Pollokshaws; Indian railway chits, including overnight berths, three SEAC (South East Asia Command) Military Newspapers from 1945; an intriguing billfold wallet taken from a Japanese soldier. [It is a rather cheaply made accordion folder, with garish cover featuring Tiger Balm advertising. The interior is lined (or made from?) documents in English, but referring to identity of Malayans which we suspect that this "wallet" is something that the Japanese soldier picked up or bought in Malaya (possibly after the fall of Singapore). In the sections of the wallet are several photos, showing a Japanese couple in wedding clothes (photo from a studio in Amoy, China), a very western-looking Japanese young man in plus-four pants (with kanji on the reverse), an attractive woman in kimono, an older couple (parents?), and three men in uniform (one navy, two army). There is also a business card in Japanese. Also in the wallet is a selection of Chinese and Japanese paper money, including Occupation money from the Philippines and other places. One photo of the Japanese men in uniform has a pencil note on the back (apparently in Kerr's writing): "This Jap never saw the rising sun set", and has the address of a trooper in Manchester. Extremely interesting and unusual lot; about 85% of the items are wartime (there are some immediate postwar items from Kerr's period in the BAOR, a 1954 Coal Ration book from Glasgow, etc). Condition varies--cheap wartime paper (especially the Indian paper) is somewhat wrinkled from years of storage, but overall G. Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 0001603
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Store Description: M. Benjamin Katz, Fine Books/Rare Manuscripts: M. Benjamin Katz, Fine Books/Rare Manuscripts is located in Toronto, Canada doing business by appointment, and having an online presence selling rare books and manuscripts since 1999. Specializing in handwritten, historically significant books, manuscripts, diaries, documents and ephemera. A member of The Manuscript Society each treasure on offer is guaranteed authentic and as represented for life. Worldwide clientele includes public, private and university libraries on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. Always buying collections and estates.