The Last Enemy Signed by Richard Hillary 1st / 1st 1942
First UK edition published by Macmillan in 1942. This is a very good copy. The wrapper, normally prone to wear, is in pretty nice shape. There is a small tear to the bottom edge of the front panel. The spine ends are rubbed and it is price clipped. Otherwise it is a complete and clean example. Better than what is usually found. The book has patches to the top and bottom edges of the boards, most likely watermarks. These are mild however and do not affect the pages. All of the pages are clean with no previous owners ink or bookplates. This copy is particularly scarce as it has the signature of the author on the front free end paper, without dedication.
Richard Hillary was a decorated spitfire pilot, and fought in the battle of britain. He was known for being a skilled fighter pilot and is credited with having shot down at least five enemy planes. His spitfire was ambushed and fired upon in 1940 and set alight. Hillary fell out of his plane and fell unconscious as he fell through the air. He woke to being in flames and managed to pull the cord. He was found just outside of margate. He would become one of the first 'guinea pigs' for the use of plastic surgery. He then went on to write this book 'The Last Enemy'. In 1943 he managed to convince the authorities that he could fly again and crashed his plane, this time not surviving the crash. His story has been covered by Sebastian Faulks in his collection of short stories 'The Fatal Englishman' and also Michael Burns book 'Mary and Richard'. It is incredibly rare to find a first edition of his book signed.