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Air Ministry

Signal Book for Use in Air Navigation

  • First edition, an uncommon second World War aircraft signal book published at the beginning of the second World War in February 1940, this copy with three pages of manuscript notes on Morse procedures for sending and receiving shops loosely inserted.

    The introduction states that this signal book was “drawn up in handy form for crews” and was “intended to facilitate communications between aircraft and other aircraft, aeronautical stations, ships or coast signalling stations using the International Code of Signals”. It is “divided into three parts: the first describes the signals prescribed by the International Air Convention of 1919 and a certain number of additional signals; the second part contains instructions for the use of signals in messages; and the third part is a Code of abbreviations extracted from the International Code of Signals”. The illustrations include national flags as displayed by ships and aircraft; aircraft navigation lights and airport signalling; distress signals; signals to be used next to grounded planes (”I require petrol”, “I require medical attendance”, “friendly natives”, “All is well. I can carry out repairs and take-off without assistance”). The final section lists single, double, and triple-letter morse signals (“I sighted a disabled vessel in [position indicated] apparently without radio”, “prepare for a cyclone”, “a balloon which has broken its cable is adrift”, “I have on board mail for you”).

  • ...Drawn Up in Conformity with the Air Convention of 1919 and the International Code of Signals. Published for the information and guidance of all concerned. By command of the Air Council. Air Publication 1795. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, February, 1940.

    Octavo. Original blue-grey boards, blue cloth backstrip, titles to upper board in black, text tabbed by chapter. Contemporary three-page manuscript detailing the Morse procedure for sending ship and receiving ship loosely inserted. Illustrations and charts throughout the text, many in basic colours. Binding rubbed with some marks, spots, and partial toning, corners worn, spotting to early leaves and edges of text block. Very good condition.

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