The Yield of the Years.
A Story of Adventure Afloat and Ashore.London and Melbourne: Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1940 Stock Code: 143845
First edition of this uncommon account of counter-intelligence work in America during the First World War.
Born in Ballarat in 1869, Gaunt "was intended for the law but pleaded to go to sea. His father could only afford to send him to H.M.S. Worcester, the training ship for officers of the merchant navy; he soon transferred to the Royal Naval Reserve and was rated a midshipman on 17 December 1886. In October 1895 he joined the Royal Navy under the provisions of a special Order-in-Council" (Australian Dictionary of Biography). Around the turn of the century Gaunt saw service in the Philippines "Serving in H.M.S. Porpoise in 1897, he commanded the British Consulate at Apia, Samoa, during a rebel attack, and in subsequent uprisings raised and commanded a native force, dubbed 'Gaunt's Brigade', and was mentioned in dispatches. In June 1901 he was promoted commander. He served in the battleship Vengeance in China during the Russo-Japanese war and later in Cressy and Glory." At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was appointed naval attaché in Washington and ran an extremely successful campaign against pro-German elements in America: crossing swords with Aleister Crowley - who Gaunt described as a "small-time traitor" - at the time the editor German propaganda sheets from New York; and collaborating with Masaryk's spymaster Emanuel Viktor Voska in running a string of agents inside the Austrian Embassy in Washington, arranging for the capture of von Rintelen, the famous "Dark Invader", and disrupting the Hindu-German Conspiracy. When America entered the war in 1917 he was appointed liaison officer in the United States, "In 1918 he was employed in convoy service across the Atlantic and in June was appointed to the naval intelligence staff at the Admiralty." His post-War political career as a Conservative MP was brought to an end in 1926 when he was cited in a high profile divorce case. He retired to Tangier, but returned to England before his death in 1953. A remarkable tale of espionage that has led to Gaunt being identified as one of the possible inspirations for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Rarely encountered, almost unheard in the jacket.
Octavo. Original black cloth, title gilt to the spine. With dust jacket.
Portrait frontispiece and 14 other plates.
Cloth a little mottled at the tail of the spine, light browning, the jacket rubbed, and with some chips and splits, a few minor internal repairs, but textually and pictorially complete, a very good copy.
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