Monday, 29 April 2013

Raymond Sheppard and Lilliput - Subsmash, the Affray affair

Lilliput March 1956 p.16
Lowering the camera

In investigating the works of Frank Bellamy I discovered that a piece of original art a collector owned, when matched to the published piece, had a drawing that was not used. The same occurred on two occasions that I have found in the case of Raymond Sheppard.

Recently Christine Sheppard asked me to identify some art in her collection of her father's work and she sent me a photograph to work from of the original art board.

Subsmash by Marshall Pugh appeared in Lilliput 6 March 1956 (pp16 -23) and Bill Contento's excellent site Fictionmags Index has two stories listed by the author:

PUGH, MARSHALL (Morrison) (1925-1976) (chron.)
The British Library lists various books  - I guess these are the same author - but it is a guess:
  • Commander Crabb .London: MacMillan, 1956.
  • A Wilderness of Monkeys. [A novel.] London : Hutchinson, 1958.
  • The Chancer, London : World Distributors, 1961.
  • Stranger any Place, London : World Distributors, 1965.
  • A murmur of mutiny, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1974.
  • A dream of treason, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1978.

The full story of the disappearance of the submarine Affray is told in a book available called Subsmash: The Mysterious Disappearance of HM Submarine Affray I'm showing you the whole of the shorter article from Lilliput to demonstrate how small drawings were published. And I'm fortunate enough that Christine has let me use some of her dad's original art.

Lilliput March 1956 Cover

Lilliput March 1956 p.17 
Crabb is lowered into the water

Original art - the bright section is due to flash photography

Lilliput March 1956 p.18
Two ships sweep the Channel for the Affray (cliffs in background)
A motor torpedo boat sails west

Original art -
NOTE: The Art Editor has stated the reproduction size of 6 3/4 inches

Lilliput March 1956 p.19
Tables and chairs are spotted floating in the water

Lilliput March 1956 p.20
Destroyer rushes to the spot

Lilliput March 1956 p.21
Ships drop buoys as markers
Lilliput March 1956 p.22
The drum with underwater camera is lowered at night 
Crew all look over the side

Lilliput March 1956 p.23
Fish shoal beneath a ship

It took me a few minutes to realise that the mention of a forthcoming book in the article "The watch below" (see bottom right of the above page) became "Commander Crabb" as a search of the major bibliographic sites turned up nothing on first title. But the Canadian Naval Diver's Association [opens a PDF] has a review written about the book and the fact that due to Crabb's disappearance near publication, (quite a famous case apparently - Wikipedia gives us plenty to start with) the book was revised and issued under the alternate title - so there is no "The watch below" written by Pugh

Original art - ship steams east; shaol of fish; crew looking over side
Lastly we also have the original art for some of these smaller pieces. And that shows us something interesting. The police car and the utility van mentioned in the story are drawn but rejected for publication. Why? We don't know! We have evidence that Alfred J. Silverton was the Art Editor in 1957 so it could have been his action that marked 'R.I.P.' against the shoal of fish or the crew shot which implies one was due for the chop. Perhaps he thought he could use the fish scene in the short piece on Crabb as it's a diver's view and therefore cut another shot - the police car. This is all supposition on my part. But it's fun to speculate, especially as we see what was and what was not published.

Original art - showing 3 pieces, one of which was not published -
the police car and utility van

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