As the centenary of Armistice Day approaches we remember Lieutenant Leonard Paul Pacey (1888-1978) whose fascinating archives Special Collections has recently acquired.  Pacey served in the 54th East Anglian Division Signal Company Royal Engineers in the First World War.

The Division was a part of the Territorial Force and postcards in the collection indicate that Pacey became a territorial soldier before the First World War broke out.  Images from 1911 show a Royal Artillery Practice Camp at Okehampton, Devon, in which Pacey took part.  In his postcards Pacey wrote to his mother saying how much he enjoyed exercises at the military camp, oblivious of the horrors of war which lay only a few years ahead.

Soldier in Gallipoli using periscope rifle. Image credit Leeds University Library.

Pacey was with the 54th East Anglian Division in July 1915 when it embarked for Gallipoli.  An interesting photograph in his archive depicts a soldier using a periscope rifle.  These were improvised devices commonly employed in the Gallipoli Campaign, where the trenches of opposing sides were often within 50 metres of one another.  The periscope sight allowed the soldier to fire at the enemy without exposing himself to counter fire.

Pacey later served in Gaza and the archives include his hand drawn maps showing topographical conditions for day marches in the area.  The maps contain notes about sources of water for men and animals.

Special Collections have recently purchased a first authorised edition of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Lover’s Tale (1879).   The poet originally wrote The Lover’s Tale in 1828.  It was intended to be one of his Poems published in 1833, but Tennyson abruptly changed his mind.  A few copies had already been printed and the bookseller and publisher Basil Montague Pickering (1835-78) bought one in 1870.

Pickering lent the book to Richard Herne Shepherd (1840-95) a bibliographer and editor of a volume of Tennysonia.  Excited by the find, Shepherd attempted to release a pirate copy of The Lover’s Tale, on two occasions.  Pickering recalled the first and Tennyson’s lawyers blocked the second imprint.

‘The Lover’s Tale’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson, showing annotations by Shepherd. Image credit Leeds University Library.

This first authorised edition, bought with the generosity of the Brotherton endowment, was Richard Herne Shepherd’s copy.  It is heavily annotated with ‘readings derived’ by Shepherd from Pickering’s 1870 edition.  At the beginning of the book Shepherd has inserted leaves on which he records his version of the publication story.

Shepherd refers to the Preface in which Tennyson says the poem has been ‘mercilessly pirated’.  Cheekily he quotes from The Times review of the authorised edition (27th May, 1879): ‘If pirates often conferred such benefits on the public, there would be the danger of their occupation becoming more popular than it has been since the days before Minos.’

book plate
‘The Lover’s Tale’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson, showing the bookplate of John Whipple Frothingham. Image credit Leeds University Library.