Spring 1939 heard the announcement of plans for the immediate
evacuation of two and a half million children should hostilities with
Germany begin. It also saw the launch of Britain’s largest aircraft
cerrier HMS ‘Illustrious’. There was a feeling that Britain’s
whole existence as a people once more might depend on sea power, and strenuous
demands for armed resistance to force were voiced. As if to give pictorial
encouragement to that resolve, the ILN, on April 1st 1939, issued its
‘Royal Navy Number’
(Appendix List No. 125).
The whole issue illustrates every type of ship from battleship and flotilla
leader to submarine and motor boat, as well as detailing the actual state
of the steel industry and the shipyards.
The coloured cover symbolically shows all aspects of defensive and offensive
naval warfare. A watchful lion lies in front of a plinth flanked by two
anchors on top of which is a Viking longship. Affixed to the plinth is
a memorial tablet with a bust of Nelson. To one side, on the open sea,
is a modern battleship and on the other side is a nineteenth century warship.
Along the title frame is a panorama of British fighting ships from the
earliest days of air and sail to the most modern battle cruiser.
This is issue number 521, vol. 194, pages 507-562, measuring 37 x 26 cm
and priced at one shilling.
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