NAVAL INTELLIGENCE DIVISION. Belgium. [Cambridge Univeristy Press and Jarrold and Sons in Norwich for H.M. Stationery Office], February 1944.
8vo. Original red-brown cloth, spine and front cover lettered in gilt; pp.xiv, 679, highly illustrated with plates, fold-out maps and plans, large colour map in rear pocket; ; the lines This book is for official use of persons in H. M. Sevice only and must not be shown, or made available, to the Press or any member of the public; very light marking to cloth, otherwise near-fine; the British writer Alan Sillitoe's copy with his name on front fly-leaf.
First edition. B. R. 521 (Restricted) Geographical Handbook Series. - Probably one of the best-researched books of the time on the country, issued when the preparations for the liberation of Belgium were under way. The volume deals with the sociology, language questions, ethnography, industry totpgraphy, commerce, in short, all aspects of Belgium and life in Belgium, including the navigability of the coastal waters for submarines ans other Navy vessels. 'A series of intelligence handbooks produced during the First World War had proved valuable both during the conflict and as subsequent reference sources. Early in the Second World War the Director of Naval Intelligence ordered the preparation of a new and improved series to meet the requirements of the day. The Handbooks were designed to provide, in the words of the Preface, "for the use of Commanding Officers, information in a comprehensive and convenient form about countries which they may be called upon to visit, not only in war but in peace-time; secondly, to maintain the high standard of education in the Navy and, by supplying officers with material for lectures ... to ensure for all ranks that visits to a new country shall be both interesting and profitable"' (Cambridge Archive Editions, who reproduce a few titles on the series, online).