A rare original WW2 close combat handbook written by Captain W. E. Fairbairn, the celebrated co-creator of the Fairbairn-Sykes Commando knife. This is the 1st edition, published by Faber in July 1942. The book covers unarmed combat, as well as knife fighting with the F-S Knife, improvised weapons, and close combat rifle techniques. It is very well illustrated with excellent line drawings. It was specifically aimed at preparing special forces, commandos and agents for any combat situation they might face. The techniques described are ruthless, brutal and clinical. As the author states: 'When it is a matter of life and death, not only of the individual but indeed the nation, squeamish scruples are out of place. The sooner we realise that fact, the sooner we shall be fitted to face the grim and ruthless realities of total warfare.'
William Ewart Fairbairn (1885–1960) was a British soldier, police officer and exponent of hand-to-hand combat, firstly for the Shanghai Police and later with allied special forces in WW2. He developed his own fighting system known as 'Defendu', which included innovative pistol shooting techniques and the use of the legendary Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.
Fairbairn served with the Royal Marines and joined the Shanghai Municipal Police in 1907. During his service in Shanghai, Fairbairn experienced hundreds of street fights in the course of his twenty-year career. He created, organised and trained a special anti-riot squad, as well as developing firearms training courses and items of police equipment, including a bulletproof vest designed to stop high-velocity bullets.
During WW2, together with fellow close-combat instructor Eric Sykes, Fairbairn trained British and Canadian Commandos in close-combat, pistol-shooting and knife-fighting techniques. Fairbairn emphasised the necessity of forgetting any idea of gentlemanly conduct or fighting fair: 'There’s no fair play, no rules except one: kill or be killed'.
In very good condition. The boards are in very good condition with minor signs of wear and a slight lean to the spine. The original dust jacket is complete and in good condition, with some marks, wear at the edges, and some small archival tape repairs to the reverse. The binding and hinges are very good and secure. The text and illustrations are in very good condition.
Published: 1942 With numerous illustrations throughout Orange boards with red titling With original illustrated dust jacket Dimensions: 140mm x 205mm Pages: 132