Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Seven Deadly Gay Sins : Going Blue with Lust

If there’s one sin which people admit to enjoying more than any other then surely it must be sex! But for sex to be included on a list of sins there has to be some concept of which kind of sex is considered acceptable and which kind isn’t. Every religion and secular philosophy have laws and regulations on sex, and quite often they contradict the others. In pre-Victorian times there was no problem in the UK with having sex with girls as young as 12 because that was the age of consent. Times, attitudes and morals have changed and today this would be classed as child abuse and paedophilia.

And then there’s pornography. Porn and sexual material has been referred to as being “blue” for many decades. Historians have often debated why. Some claim it originates in places like the Windmill Theatre where nude female models were bathed in blue light. Others claim it originates in the English censorship of theatre administered by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office where material deemed not suitable for performance was crossed out of the script with a blue pencil.

None of the historians bother looking further back. They know that red means anger and green means envy, not realising that blue for sex originates in the same Medieval cultural belief in western Europe. So, LUST, the excess of sex, is entered on my Seven Deadly Gay Sins flag.

So, what can we talk about today concerning the Deadly Sin of Lust in the lgbt community? Don’t get too excited because I’m not going into gay porn!

We should never assume that all lgbt heritage is about “good” people. One of the most constant downsides of the lgbt community is the presence of those who practice the form of lust currently considered the worst of them all – paedophilia.

There was a time when the general public thought all gay men were paedophiles (some still do). This opinion was brought into the open in my home city of Nottingham in August 1977.

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) held their annual conference in Nottingham. This was the same conference at which the inspiration for the play “Bent” was premiered.

One of the guest speakers at one of the workshops was a Dutch MP called Dr. Edward Brongersma (1911-1998). As a member of the Dutch Senate he was instrumental in bringing the homosexual age of consent down to 16 in line with heterosexual sex (he had been imprisoned in 1950 after being convicted of having sex with a 17-year-old). What he is best known for, however, is his research into gay paedophilia. He was considered a world authority on the subject. So when it was revealed he would be attending the CHE conference in Nottingham there was a public outcry.

Protests were held outside the hotel where the workshop he was scheduled to attend was to be held. The hotel, fearful of losing business and of threats to the property, cancelled the booking. The workshop was moved to another venue (just across the road from my flat) and went ahead with Dr. Brongersma as the main guest. At the end of the workshop he was given a standing ovation.

Attitudes in the UK towards paedophilia at the time were, more often than not, not discussed openly. Today there is more discussion about paedophilia and its moral place in society. Child abuse in particular is a highly visible and almost constant topic in the media.

The lgbt community must be able to distinguish between paedophilia/child abuse and acceptable sexual practices in modern society. There have been several articles in the lgbt media this year about one man who has been hailed as a hero against Christian homophobia, when in fact he was a serial child rapist and abuser. Is he the sort of “hero” we want?

The man was brought to the fore last year when plans were announced of Pope Francis’s visit to Uganda to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of the Ugandan Martyrs. The visit never actually went ahead but the lgbt media voiced their opposition all the same. The reason was because the Ugandan Martyrs were all young Christian men and boys who were executed by their king, Mwanga II, after they rejected his sexual advances. The visit was distorted into the Pope appearing to honour Christians who rejected homosexuality. Which was the greater sin – rejection of rape, or murder?

I gave a brief history of their martyrdom several years ago. The whole point about the killings is not that the Christian boys were being homophobic but that they were killed purely because they rejected the forced sexual abuse of a paedophile and child rapist who thought he had the right to rape who he pleased.

There was nothing good about King Mwanga’s sexual activities. The Ugandan Martyrs weren’t even gay. He used his power to abuse anyone he wished – gay, straight, male, female. This was part of his culture and the Christian missionaries realised (even if modern lgbt journalists don’t) that the human rights of Ugandans were being violated. Forget the religion. Would an atheist organisation have supported this violation? The fact that the boys were converted Christians is irrelevant. For the first time in their lives someone had arrived and said they had the right to say “No” to abuse.

For too many decades gay men have been portrayed as predatory paedophiles like King Mwanga. It’s the reason who so many people still oppose the idea of two gay men having children. I weep when members of the lgbt community start using their own religious prejudices to condone the rape of innocent boys. If I was murdered by a serial rapist because I said “No” I hope I’d be remembered as a hero not the villain.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Heritage Spotlight : Scraps of History

Have you ever kept a scrapbook? I have. I’ve still got over a dozen of them I put together when I was a teenager. I’ll be showing you two of them next year which I made 40 years ago. Unknown to me at the time these scrapbooks have become an invaluable record of the time I compiled them, something that can’t be reproduced in the digital age.

More often than not scrapbooks are thrown away. No-one thinks of them as significant to our cultural heritage. They’re often thought of as just sentimental, nostalgic items of no importance to anyone but their owners. But sometimes scrapbooks are saved by those enthusiastic enough to keep adding to them year after year after year.

One scrapbook compiler has become one of the most important chroniclers of black American heritage, without even having any academic background in history, and we’ll have a look at his life and work today at the start of the UK’s Black History Month. His name was L. S. Alexander Gumby (1885-1961).

Unlike my own scrapbooks, which I never imagined would still be around 40 years later, Alexander Gumby had the deliberate intention of making a permanent, ever-growing, and long-lasting record. His scrapbooks were also more than just a hobby and a collection of clippings, photos and ephemera that he found interesting. They became his life. In today’s digital age he would surely have had a major presence in the blogosphere and web universe.

Gumby began his first scrapbook in 1901 when he was 16, about the same age I was when I started. The subject of his first scrapbook was the recent assassination of President McKinley, but soon his desire came to centre on a record of the lives of African-American people and their contributions to American culture.

By 1904 he had left his native Maryland and had moved to Harlem, New York. Arriving at a very significant time in black American history, the early stages of the Harlem Renaissance, Gumby found himself moving in the same circles as great Harlem figures like Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Josephine Baker.

Through the patronage of a stockbroker called Charles W. Newman Gumby was able to expand his scrapbook collection and house it in a studio in Harlem which soon became known as “Gumby’s Bookstore”. This became an important gathering place for members of the Harlem Renaissance and also the lgbt community (Gumby was gay), and all of them helped to expand the scrapbook collection by donating photographs, clippings and autographs. There Gumby hosted talks and meetings, displayed his scrapbooks, and his flamboyant personality made his something of a must-meet for visiting black Americans. He earned the nickname “The Great God Gumby”.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 was a huge blow to Gumby’s stockbroker patron, and Gumby’s Bookshop closed down. Everything was sold, except the precious scrapbooks which were stored in a friend’s house.

Gumby continued to compile scrapbooks. Every aspect of black culture and heritage was collected, from slavery to sport (he compiled 7 scrapbooks on black boxers alone).

In 1950 he donated his entire collection to Columbia University. They employed him to help organise and catalogue the scrapbooks, which are now called the Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana.

Gumby never stopped collecting, right up to his death in 1961. In total he left 300 scrapbooks of vital contemporary records of black Africa and historical documents dating back to 1850. They leave a chronicle of black life that lives more than any book. We can immerse ourselves in parts of those scrapbooks online at “Unwritten History: Alexander Gumby’s African America”.

Perhaps we should all start our own scrapbooks. They would include all the things that can’t be put on Twitter or Facebook, or whatever technological version of the world you choose to live in.

For me, I stopped doing scrapbooks over 20 years ago, but I still collect various personal ephemera which are stored in boxes and envelopes. Is it time for a revival in the lost art of scrapbooking? Thanks to Alexander Gumby we have something to inspire us.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Michaelmas Blues

A Merry Michaelmas to all my readers.

Today is the Feast Day of the asexual St. Michael and All Angels. It’s an important date in European cultural tradition, being one of the four Quarter Days with which the Medieval world divided the years, all roughly corresponding to the present day equinoxes and solstices.

Of the many patronages attached to St. Michael is that of the police force and armed services. Consequently, the Catholic Church uses today’s feast day to hold a mass not only for St. Michael (hence Michael-mass) but for police officers, the armed forces, firefighters and emergency service personnel. Because of the colour of the uniform which most of these people wear this special mass is called the Blue Mass.

This year is the centenary of the appointment of the first female police officers. There were several women who had been given police roles before this but in 1915 the first female police officer with full arrest duties was appointed and several organisations were formed. One was the Women’s Police Service in England, and another was the organisation which became today’s International Association of Women Police, founded in the USA.

In salute to women who serve in the police forces around the world here are some British lgbt female police officers from past and recent history.

The origin of women serving in the police force in the UK grew out of several social issues of the period before 1915. One was the suffragette movement, another was the growth of the prostitution and white slave trade, and a third was the outbreak of the First World War.

As the majority of male police officers were called up for war service the government called for volunteers to replace them. They didn’t envisage women coming forward and before too long a part-time Women Police Volunteer force was created. It was led by Nina Boyle and Margaret Damer Dawson (1873-1920). Within a year a disagreement between them led to Margaret forming a new organisation called the Women Police Service (WPS). The first uniformed female police officer with full powers of arrest was recruited from the WPS in August 1915. Her name was Mrs. Edith Smith.

Margaret Damer Dawson acted as Commandant of the WPS until it was disbanded by the government after the war. They saw no need for a separate women’s police force once the war was over. Her second-in-command was her life partner Mary Allen (1878-1964). They designed the WPS uniforms themselves, and they continued to wear them long after the WPS was disbanded. They cut their hair short and, in their military-style uniforms, gave a very masculine appearance, as this photo of them both shows (Margaret Damer Dawson is on the left). In 1918 they were both honoured for their service to the police force by being awarded one of the recently created honours, the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire).

Margaret died in 1920. By this time the Metropolitan Police had created its own women’s police division. Mary Allen’s decision to wear her uniform for the rest of her life led to the Metropolitan Police to accuse her of masquerading as one of their officers. All accusations came to nothing. She travelled the world advising other nations on how to set up their own female police forces. Because of her uniform she was often mistaken for an official representative from the British police force.

Mary stood for parliament in 1922 as an Independent Liberal but wasn’t elected. In between the World Wars Mary’s political views were to dominate her life. She became an ardent far-right supporter, and this was to place her pioneering work in the women’s police force into shadow. Her membership of the British Union of Fascists and outspoken views eventually led to her being accused of spying for the Nazis and was she given restricted movement around her home in Cornwall. Mary Allen died at the age of 86 in 1961 in a nursing home.

The role of women in the police force has grown in recent decades. Their bravery and courage are recognised by the British public with pride. No more so than when and police officer loses his or her life on duty.

In September 2012 the UK was on a high after the spectacularly successful Olympics and Paralympics. We were jolted back down by the murder of two female police officers in Manchester. British police are not armed when on normal duty, so the murder of any of them is shocking. An extra unhappy aspect to this particular murder is that one of the police officers was planning to get married.

PC Fiona Bone was planning her Civil Partnership to her girlfriend Clare Curran later that year. She and fellow police constable Nicola Hughes were called to a house burglary. It was a trap. When they arrived at the house they were met with a hail of 32 bullets and a hand grenade attack. One died at the scene and the other died later in hospital. The murderer gave himself up. Apparently he was wanted for the similar-styled murder of a father and son in May 2012. Thankfully he was given a whole life prison sentence.

The funerals of both PC Bone and PC Hughes attracted huge crowds. Their lives and sacrifices were honoured in parliament. Next week marks the second anniversary of their funerals.

Before I finish todays there’s a male police officer I’d like to mention on this day of recognition for the world’s police.

 Sam Ciccone died in May this year at the age of 71. He was co-founder of the first lgbt police association in the USA. Sam became a police office in New Jersey in 1964 rising to become a Detective Sergeant. In 1979 he moved to New York after its mayor banned discrimination in the police force on the grounds of sexual orientation. With fellow NYPD officer Charles H. Cochrane jr. Sam co-founded the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) in 1982. GOAL now has over 2,000 members and many of them appear in uniform at various Pride parades across America.

I salute the work of all police officers.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Around the World in 80 Gays : Part 19 - A Battle

LAST TIME : 55) Paul Etheredge directed the first gay slasher film “Hellbent”, a title reminiscent of the gory “Hellraiser” films of splatterpunk writer 56) Clive Barker (b.1952). The slasher/splatter genre is an easy target for parody, which was the intention behind “The Slumber Party Massacre”, written by 57) Rita Mae Brown (b.1944) the year after she split up from 58) Martina Navratilova (b.1956).
58) Martina Navratilova was the biggest female tennis player of the 1980s and 90s. Czech by birth Martina defected to the USA in 1975 and gained American citizenship in 1981. Shortly afterwards she gave an interview with the New York Daily News in which she admitted to having had a relationship with 57) Rita Mae Brown (b.1944). By this time Martina was the number 1 ranked female singles player in world tennis. She was also rising in the ranks of doubles tennis. In 1984 she won the grand slam of titles with her doubles partner Pam Shriver. Consequently they were invited to take part in a Battle of the Sexes doubles match against Vitas Gerulaitis and Bobby Riggs.

The match took place on 23rd August 1985. Martina and Pam were a well-established doubles team and Giggs and Gerulaitis had never played doubles together before and they were very different players. Martina and Pam won easily, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Added to the fact that Bobby Riggs was 67 years old and well past his prime the result was no great surprise.

Martina was to play another Battle of the Sexes match, referred to as the Battle of the Champions, in a singles match against Jimmy Connor in 1992. Martina was no longer ranked number 1 (by then it was Monica Seles). The match took place in Caesar’s Palace, Nevada, and was a win for Connor, 7-6, 6-2.

The Battle of the Sexes tennis match “officially” refers to three specific singles matches, the third of which was the Navratilova/Connors match. The previous two featured Bobby Riggs, the doubles player who lost to Martina and Pam Shriver in 1985.

Bobby Riggs was a number 1 ranked tennis player of the 1940s. A very self-opinionated man and never one to shy away from self-publicity Riggs declared that male tennis players would always be superior players to female players. At the age of 55 he said he could beat any top ranked female player.

The first Battle of the Sexes match took place in 1972 between Riggs and number 1 ranked Margaret Court who, with 58) Martina Navratilova, is one of only three women to win a career grand slams in singles and doubles titles. Riggs won this first Battle 6-2, 6-1. But it is the second Battle of the Sexes match which has become the most famous.

The second Battle was held just four months after the first. Riggs’ opponent this time was the player who turned him down for the first match, 59) Billie Jean King (b.1943). The publicity for the match turned the event into something of a circus with Riggs playing on his opinions and courting controversy. Even their entry onto the court at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, was very theatrical, with both players entering being carried in Roman Imperial style. Riggs made sure that the match was broadcast live nationally, with a prize of $100,000 for the winner.

Billie Jean King won the Battle 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Riggs was reportedly devastated, but it didn’t stop him from mounting further Battle of the Sexes matches (a very lucrative venture as it turned out), including the 1985 doubles match.

Billie Jean King’s first singles win at Wimbledon was in 1966. At the time she had successfully coached a teenager to the US Junior Women’s Championship title. The girl was called 60) Tam O’Shaughnessy (b.1952).

Tam O’Shaughnessy was born into a tennis-loving family. Her mother ran a tennis tournament in Fullerton, California, in the 1960s. Billie Jean was a famous player who hadn’t yet won Wimbledon and was keen to encourage young players. So, when Tam’s mother invited Billie Jean to play in her tournament she jumped at the chance. A feature of the tournament was doubles matches with teams of different generations – parents and children competing against other parents and children. Billie Jean King agreed to partner the 13-year-old Tam in the doubles tournament. They won. Billie Jean then offered to coach Tam, and within a couple of years Tam was the national under-18 champion. Her highest world ranking was number 52, though she was number 3 in the US doubles rankings.

Tam O’Shaughnessy retired from tennis in the 1970s and turned to science. Her later career in science education was shared with someone she had known since her teenage tennis years, someone who became her life partner, and someone who would very literally reach higher than any American woman had done before. Tam’s partner was 61) Sally Ride (1951-2012), the first American woman in space.

Next time we see how going into space leads us under a volcano.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Lord Montagu - The Modest Pioneer

When I was young one of the highlights of UK television every autumn was coverage of the annual London to Brighton vintage car rally. The sight of those old cars chugging along the British roads beside modern cars was something which appealed to me. One of the characters who always appeared was Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. He was famous as the creator and owner of the National Motor Museum at his stately home. He appeared on lots of programmes throughout the years, sometimes popping up on chat shows and quiz shows as a celebrity guest. Lord Montagu died last month at the age of 88.

What I didn’t know as a child was that this famous “old car man” was famous for something else, and it was something which was successfully “ignored” by the scandal-seeking media of the 1970s. In 1953 Lord Montagu was one of the main protagonists in a landmark court case that paved the way for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in the UK (homosexuality itself was not illegal).

The trial was labelled The Montagu Case because Lord Montagu was the only high profile member of the three men who were accused of conspiring to “commit unnatural offences” against two RAF pilots who had been invited to join them on Lord Montagu’s estate. The trial was front page material.

Lord Montagu had opened his motor museum three years earlier and he was one of the bright young stars of the heritage industry (he was 27 when he was arrested, and many years later he was to become Chairman of English Heritage). His arrest sent many closeted gay men into their secret stores of love letters and diaries and many stories of the hidden history of lgbt Britain were destroyed in fear of a possible “witch hunt”.

In March 1954 the all-male jury found Lord Montagu and his two companions guilty and they were given prison sentences. All through the trial Lord Montagu protested his innocence, whether through fear or belief that homosexual acts were nothing to be criminalised isn’t clear.

What the trial highlighted to all levels of society that even those in the highest echelons were not immune to imprisonment. Mostly significant it gave liberal-thinking politicians the impetus to have the whole legal position of homosexual men discussed and addressed properly. Parliament created an inquiry into the possible reform of the law, not only for gay men but also sex-workers and prostitutes. Heading the inquiry was John Wolfenden, whose own son was gay, and even today the Wolfenden Report is one of the well-known reform commissions in the UK. It recommended the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and the age of consent. However, it took Parliament another ten years before there was any change in the law. For his contribution to the inquiry John Wolfenden was knighted and later he was created a life peer.

By 1967 when homosexual acts were decriminalised Lord Montagu was back on his stately home running his famous motor museum. He was beginning to become a media celebrity and his role in the landmark Montagu Case was never mentioned.

While the others convicted with him in 1954 became more prominent campaigners Lord Montagu chose not to become an activist. Not every lgbt person wants to become an activist, which other lgbt activists sometimes unjustifiably demand of them. Montagu wanted an ordinary life where his sexuality was not an issue. In that respect he was not unlike most of us today who wish for a society where our sexuality isn’t an issue and we are treated the same as everyone else.

For many years Lord Montagu refused to speak about his sexuality or even deny his bisexuality, which is why I’ve written this tribute to Lord Montagu today, Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

Many in the lgbt community accused him of bi-phobia for not admitting his sexuality publicly. He always came across on the television screen as a modest man, never one to shout about himself, and I can’t imagine he would ever have been comfortable discussing any sexuality. It wasn’t until he was persuaded to write his autobiography in 2000 that Lord Montagu spoke about his bisexuality. He acknowledged that the Montagu Case was instrumental in the reform of lgbt legislation in the UK.

On this Celebrate Bisexuality Day let’s raise a glass and drink a toast to the late Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, the modest pioneer.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Out Of Their Trees : Colombian Genes

Today I’m looking at the ancestry of a member of the lgbt community from the Hispanic world as part of my celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in the US which began last week. His name is Virgilio Barco Isakson (b.1965), pictured below.
Virgilio is the co-founder and board president of Colombia Diversa, an lgbt rights organisation. His immediate ancestry couldn’t be more illustrious. He father was Virgilio Barco Vargas (1921-1997) who was President of Colombia from 1986 to 1990, in between being Colombia to the USA and the UK. His mother is of mixed USA/Scandinavian blood.

At the time of writing Colombia has the most out lgbt politicians currently in office in South and Central America. They are 2 Ministers of State, a Senator and a member of Congress.

President Barco’s term of office was dominated by his battle against the drug lords, leading to much violence and murder. Controversially, he negotiated peace talks with leftist guerrillas. But, on the whole, his presidency is seen as one of the most liberal the country has seen, and he gave back land to indigenous communities.

Virgilio Barco Isakson is President Barco’s only son. Most of his ancestry is centred around the city of Cúcuta in north-eastern Colombia near the border with Venezuela. A large portion of the lands covered by Cúcuta was given to the municipal council by Virgilio’s great-great-grandfather in the 1850s. His name was Juan Manuel Atalaya y Pizano (1784-1860). In fact he was very generous to his adopted home town (he was Spanish by birth and emigrated to Colombia in 1815), that one of the barrios, the municipal districts of Cúcuta, is named after him. Juan’s wife, however, was of a long Colombian bloodline and she tragically died of injuries she sustained during the earthquake of 1875 which virtually destroyed Cúcuta.

Juan Atalaya y Pizano’s grand-daughter married the first Virgilio Barco (1858-1922), a general, our Virgilio Barco Isakson’s great-grandfather. General Barco was perhaps not the philanthropist that Juan Atalaya was, as he was a leading figure in the exploitation of the oil reserves and destruction of much of the rain forest. However, he was also a councillor in Cúcuta and established a medical foundation.

The ruling Hispanic dynasties of South America create a complex web of family relationships that means Virgilio Barco Isakson is related to most of the presidential families of the South American republics. Several of these dynasties feature prominently in Virgilio’s ancestry, mainly though his father’s mother who was born Julia Dúran Dúran (yes, it is a real name and not a 1980s pop group). Through both of her parents Julia is descended from the Rueda family several times.

The Rueda family arrived in Colombia around the year 1589. They were a Jewish family, and Cristóbal de Rueda González (1569-1610), a merchant, was the founder of the Colombian dynasty. The family settled in San Gil in the Santander province. As with most European invaders into the new World they established large plantations by taking land from local indigenous communities and making slaves of some of them.

One of Virgilio Barco Isakson’s ancestors through the Rueda family was the Conquistador Bartholomé Hernández Herreño (1502-1558). He and one of his sons met their deaths on the points of poisoned arrows shot by indigenous warriors in one of the many battles.

Herreño’s grandson was a Catholic priest. He had an illicit relationship with a woman called Beatriz who was half-Spanish, half-indigenous. Through this liaison Virgilio has native South American blood. It is very likely that he has more through other unresearched lines.

Another Conquistador ancestor was Pedro Gómez de Orozco (1517-1601), called “El Viejo”. He too attacked indigenous tribes and was struck by a poisoned arrow. Unlike Herreño he survived, though he was crippled for the rest of his life.

El Viejo’s great-grandson, also called Pedro Gómez de Orozco, married the aristocratic Doña Ana de Gorraiz Beaumont y Dega, a member of a noble Spanish family descended from Luis II de Beaumont, 2nd Count of Lerin (1430-1508) and his wife Doña Leona de Aragón. Leona was an illegitimate daughter of King Juan II of Aragon (1358-1479), while Luis’s mother was an illegitimate daughter of King Carlos III of Navarre (1361-1426). So, Virgilio Barco Isakson has royal Spanish blood in his veins as well as that of native South American tribes. Added to his North American, Scandinavian and Jewish blood this gives Virgilio Barco Isakson, as the name of his lgbt organisation suggests, a diverse heritage.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Saluting One of The Few

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. Those are the words of Winston Churchill following the Battle of Britain in 1941. This week the UK is commemorating the battle’s 75th anniversary.

For my own modest contribution I’ve put together this photo (sorry about the poor quality). It is a homage to one of the lgbt fighter pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain – Wing Commander Ian Gleed, DSO.
The photo shows the model kit of the plane he piloted during the Battle, the Hawker Hurricane Mark 1. Regular readers may remember I gave a couple of progress reports on my attempt to build the model. It was produced by Airfix to commemorate the 60th anniversary, and for this year’s 75th anniversary a Hawker Hurricane (not specifically Gleed’s as before) is featured in a 4-plane commemorative model set. My complete model of the Gleed's 60th anniversary plane is in the photo.

Also in the photo is a portrait of Gleed himself. To the picture frame is attached the 1939-45 War Medal to which he would have been entitled had he not been killed on active duty before the end of the war.

The book is the biography of Wing Cdr. Gleed, a first edition copy, published in 1978.