Nation's Attic Diving Into History 2023

Classic Salvage book inscribed by Author to Captain J.P. Williams

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Start price: $100

Estimated price: $200 - $500

Buyer's premium: 20%

Sales Tax: On the lot's price and buyer's premium

Epics of Salvage, by David Masters, 1953, Cassell & Company, London. Inscribed by Masters to Captain J.P. Williams, one of world’s foremost salvage experts, and one of the most important Australians of the 20th century. Below the inscription written in pencil is the home address of J.P. Williams in Toorak, Melbourne.

From the internet: “Sir John Protheroe Williams (1896-1989)From August 1939 Williams served as a lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve. The next year he transferred to the Royal Australian Naval Reserve. His most important work in World War II was to lead a team that in 1941 retrieved about eight tons of gold bullion from the wreck of the RMS Niagara, off Whangarei, New Zealand. Later, he was chief salvage officer with the Commonwealth Marine Salvage Board, recovering vessels damaged by enemy action. Over 600,000 tonnes of shipping were recovered during the board’s years of operation. After the war, he reverted to the RANVR and retired in 1954 as a lieutenant commander. He had been appointed OBE in 1950. Williams became chairman of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission in 1956. Determined to have minimal political interference in the management of the Australian National Line, he volunteered to do the job without payment, an offer that was not accepted. He proved that a government enterprise could operate successfully on private-sector principles. Appointed CMG in 1960, he was knighted in 1967. In 1971 he retired from the ACSC but continued to be involved in salvage enterprises throughout the world, some of great importance. He took part in salvaging the Wahine at Wellington, New Zealand, and the Straitsman at Melbourne. His company, J. P. Williams & Associates, was consulted in 1973 for the removal of the Seawise University, formerly the RMS Queen Elizabeth, which had sunk in Hong Kong Harbour after catching fire. This operation ranks as one of the largest commercial undertakings in Australian maritime salvage history. In retirement he wrote his autobiography So Ends This Day (1981).”

Hardbound in original dust jacket in protective sleeve. The book is very good condition with no damage. The spine is slightly sunned. Williams has four entries in the index and there is a photo of him on the Niagara salvage. The book connects to the knife of the Commonwealth Salvage Company, which Williams was the Chief Salvage Officer. A rare find of a book not only inscribed the leading salvage author of the period but to one of the world’s leading successful salvage officers of the 20th century.

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