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The Noel Melville Richards Archive

34 Lot Collection

The WWII Archive of Noel Melville Richards OBE LVO

An Original Signed Letter by General BL Montgomery

An Original Signed Letter by General BL Montgomery

Noel Melville Richards OBE LVO was Head of the Photographic and Reproductions Branch of the Air Ministry (PRB), which was located on the fourth floor in King Charles Street SW1. This building also housed Winston Churchill's War Rooms in its basement.

At the outbreak of war with Germany, the PRB was a small, well organised unit. By 1942, it had expanded rapidly. New techniques were developed, new methods and processes adopted and new apparatus installed. As the war progressed, operational work increased, reaching its peak in 1944, bringing with it the problems of greatly increased production and the need for the strictest security.

Their preparatory work in producing signals plans, target maps, photographs, shipping charts, aerial photographs, etc for the D-Day landings was crucial. A week before D-Day, photographs were taken of the plotting maps at SHAEF and on the morning of the invasion, the plans showing the first plot movements of the naval operation "Neptune" were photographed in the Prime Minister's Map Room.

This was the beginning of a complete photographic record of the movements shown on Churchill's maps in each theatre of war.

Facsimile documents were photographically reproduced by a number of complex printing techniques. With some of the originals no longer being available or in the public domain, these documents and photographs provide a unique photographic record, evoking some of the most important events of the twentieth century.

Sale Information

BK17: Antiquarian Book Sale
Wednesday, 15th March 2017
Okehampton Street, Exeter

Lots from the Collection

Lot BK17/226

Lot BK17/226: B L Montgomery, General Eighth Army

B L Montgomery, General Eighth Army original signed letter; with other original letters and facsimile copies of interest - two wartime memos with Churchill's comments appended:, May 1941 - A proposal to send hurricanes to Sweden, June 1942 - Withdrawal of Italians from Ethiopia and their shortage of fuel, February 1965 - Clementine Churchill to Lord Shackleton after WSC's death, Goddard's letter to NM Richards and facsimile of Lord Gort's to Goddard regarding Goddard's effect on the Dunkirk rescue, King George VI to SIr Cyril Newall upon retirement as Marshall of the RAF (1940), thank you letter signed in auto-pen by Constantine Churchill.

Estimate: £100 - £150
Realised: £130
Lot BK17/227

Lot BK17/227: Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial July 10th 1947 - Dedication of the Battle of Britain Window in Westminster Abbey by King George VI - seven photographs (215 x 160 mm) 10 postcards of the window, two printed booklets on the service, with dedication of the order of service, 8 photographs of USA Book of Remembrance in St Paul's Cathedral; with two published booklets on the Battle of Britain.

Estimate: £50 - £75
Lot BK17/228

Lot BK17/228: Berlin July/August '46

Berlin July/August '46 Twenty black and white photographs, 145 x 145 mm - includes entry to Hitler's bunker, etc. Taken on an official trip by NM Richards and Stanley Finbow for the Photographic and Reproductions Branch of the Air Ministry, Summer 1946.

Estimate: £100 - £150
Lot BK17/229

Lot BK17/229: Bomber Command

Bomber Command Air Ministry official photographs 1943-45 - forty photographs ( 210 x 160 mm ) each fully annotated on verso:, including attack on Moehne Dam (2), Hamburg, Bielefeld VIaduct (2), Tirpitz, Flying Fortress sea rescue, planes above Holland, paratroops in action, U-boats sunk, 'Admiral Scheer' capsized (2), Berlin damaged etc.; with a booklet on Bomber Command, and Stirling Fighting Tactics - Air Ministry Booklet on how to survive and fight in a Stirling Bomber illustrated with ten cartoons. Chart of Bombs dropped on central London 1940-43, larger chart possibly showing VI strikes on London, chart showing episode of the Bismark and Prinz Eugen, with illustrated notes for 4 day course for RA F Bomb Disposal Squadron Dec 1943, also Air Vice - Marshal Saundby's lecture notes on bomber command.

Estimate: £350 - £500
Realised: £320
Lot BK17/230

Lot BK17/230: Chequers in War Time

Chequers in war time 20 mounted photographs, (none of WSC), 160 x 125 mm, with an ALs from Churchill's Secretary thanking Noel Richards for copies.

Estimate: £200 - £300
Lot BK17/231

Lot BK17/231: Chief of Staff's Report

Chief of Staff's Report ''Diagrammatic Representation of Certain Phases of the War'' - original cloth backed boards, folio, 1945. Cabinet copy of the report, comprising more than 30 coloured plates illustrating the statistical progress of the War.

Estimate: £100 - £150
Lot BK17/232

Lot BK17/232: Churchill and the War Rooms

Churchill and the War Rooms 27 large photographs in a folder of Churchill in his map room with Captain Pym, examples of his wall planning maps, photographs of staff and environment in the underground War Rooms, the elaborate bomb protection the building enjoyed; with a booklet, and Pym's obituary and facsimile letter referencing the maps.

Estimate: £350 - £500
Realised: £350
Lot BK17/233

Lot BK17/233: Churchill Commemoration First Day Covers

Churchill Commemoration First Day Covers Two photographs of Winston Churchill, one in colour on location in the war room, apparently signed, 195 x 145 mm, both of which have first day cover stamps on the reverse with some loose stamps.

Estimate: £300 - £500
Realised: £550
Lot BK17/234

Lot BK17/234: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 2nd June 1953:, 2 colour plates inside the Abbey plus 'who's who' chart, 3 black and white photographs of the Queen in Royal Regalia and with the Duke of Edinburgh also in the State Coach, with two booklets on the Coronation.

Estimate: £50 - £80
Lot BK17/235

Lot BK17/235: Correspondence Between Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden

Correspondence between Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden and others, facsimile copies:, mainly concerning the progress of the war in North Africa, 1940, probably copied from files for Churchill's memoirs.

Estimate: £300 - £500
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