Life Line. Abadan Merchant Navy Magazine.

Abadan: Abadan War Charities Central Fund, 1943 Stock Code: 121716
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First edition of this magazine published by employees of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company to raise money for the Merchant Navy in the midst of the Second World War. The phrasing of the "Editorial Epilogue" and the foreword of A. V. Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty, suggest that this was a one-off venture to coincide with a "Merchant Navy Week" to be held in October, 1943; we trace no copies of this or any further iterations in libraries or in commerce, and no references in secondary literature.

Abadan was the site of first APOC refinery, completed in 1912, and as a key oil field and the pre-eminent Gulf entrepôt it was one of the first targets to be secured during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941. A notice explains that "the Abadan War Charities Central Fund was inaugurated early in 1940 under the Chairmanship of His Britannic Majesty's Consul to co-ordinate and encourage voluntary efforts to raise money for war charities by the British and Indian staffs of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Ltd. at Abadan Refinery, Khorramshahr, Ahwaz and Pipe Line Stations in Southern Persia, and other British and Indian Communities in that area. Much generous support has also been given by the British and Allied Forces stationed in the vicinity and local Persian residents" (p. 52). The fund, projected to reach 50,000 by the end of 1943 at the time of going to print, was distributed between various causes, with those in addition to Merchant Navy seamen and their dependants including "Welfare of Forces in Middle East", and "Welfare of Forces in Persia, Iraq and Persian Gulf", though the largest sum (8,000) was in fact earmarked for "Relief of Air Raid Distress" on the Home Front.

Contributions include cartoons, satirical verse, a piece on "Wildfowl of the Shat-al-Arab River", "Concerning Oilwells", a brisk description of mishaps at sites including Masjid-i-Sulaiman, Naft Khaneh, and Haft Kel, and "The Persian Gulf (An Historical Sketch", which is based on the well-known book by Arnold Wilson. All pieces are signed anonymously, pseudonymously or with initials, with the exception of two short stories by Alec Waugh, brother of Evelyn: "An Officer Learns a Lesson", and "A Happy Inspiration". An unusual and highly appealing survival.

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Square octavo (205 x 170 mm), 54 pp., wire-stitched in original printed paper wrappers. With laid-in "Supplement to the Abadan Merchant Navy Magazine", 8 pp., unbound as issued.


Ship motifs in bronze to panel versos, line-drawings to the text. Photographic illustrations to the Supplement.


Wrappers detached from text-block, the staple oxidised, corners bumped, rear panel variably discoloured.


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