GROVES, Percy Robert Clifford, Brigadier-General.

Behind the smoke screen.

With a Preface by Major-Geenral Sir Ernest Swinton.

London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1934 Stock Code: 142780
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First edition of this timely reassessment of the importance of air power, proving "that there is an urgent need for a reorientation of the nations defensive system" (Swinton's preface). This copy inscribed on the front free endpaper to the chairman and managing director of Short Brothers; "To Oswald Short with kind regards from P. R. C. Groves, January 17th 1934". The jacket annotated in Groves' hand "To be published on January 25th". An excellent association copy with prepublication presentation in the uncommon jacket.

The author was commissioned in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 1899, served in the Boer War. He joined the RFC in 1914 serving in France, Gallipoli and the Middle East as an observer and then pilot. His distinguished career included important appointments such as Director of Flying Operations in 1918; Air Ministry Representative at the Versailles Peace Conference 1919, and British Air Advisor to Supreme Council and Council of Ambassadors 1921-22, when he retired. In this work he warns of "our national complacency" as he predicts that in future wars "each belligerent will be to bring such pressure to bear upon the enemy's peoples that they will force their own Governments to sue for peace. The method of applying this pressure will be the aerial bombardment of national nerve-centres, chief of which are the great cities". The recipient Oswald Short (1883-1969), was an aeronautical engineer who took an early interest in ballooning, and established with his brothers the first commercial aircraft manufacturers. During WWI the firm supplied dirigibles, seaplanes and other aeroplanes to the Air Ministry, he retied in 1943 when the government expropriated the shareholders.

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Octavo. Original black boards, title gilt to spine. With dust jacket.


Light shelf-wear, slight lean, scatter of foxing at the fore-edge, else very good in slightly rubbed and soiled unclipped jacket, some splits and chips, and small piece lacking from the head of the spine costing a few letters from the title, but overall very good.


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