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Saturday, December 19, 2009

David Masters

Up Periscope by David Masters (Digit Books, Aug 1957) Cover by F. N. Carcupino

Updated: The US Catalog of Copyright Entries reveals that David Masters was the pen-name of C. E. Brand. This, coupled with the known birth year of "David Masters", 1883, leads us to Charles Edwin Brand, born in Marylebone, London, on 20 January 1883, the son of William John Brand (a greengrocer) and his wife Ada (nee Upson), who had married in 1875. William John Brand died in 1889 at the age of 37, whilst Charles was still only eight, and his mother raised the family of three sons and one daughter, running a newsagent with the assistance of her sister, Emma Jane Upson. Ada Brand also died young, at the age of 39, in 1895. And the children were then raised by Aunt Emma. At the time of the 1901 census, Charles Brand was working as a grocer's assistant in Putney.

He is next spotted applying for a patent on what he described as combination gardening tools. Brand, a journalist then living at Clovelly, Hadley, Barnet, Hertfordshire, had created a tool consisting of a metal plate, one side of which was formed as a rake, a second as a Dutch hoe, the third an ordinary hoe and the fourth a drill-maker or clod-chopper; the plate had a central socket so that a handle could be attached. The patent was published on 6 June 1918.

One of his books noted that he was a salvage expert and hard hat diver who worked upon the sunken German fleet at Scapa Flow. Although I know nothing of his journalistic career, as David Masters he was a contributor to Wide-World Magazine, Conquest, Saturday Evening Post, Traveller's Pack and Pictorial Magazine.

Charles Edwin Brand was living at 10 Belsize Park, Hampstead, London N.W.3, where he died on 24 May 1965, aged 82.

Up Periscope gathers together the stories and exploits of a number of famous submarines —Spearfish, Sealion, Salmon, Ursula, Cachalot, Tigris, Thunderbolt, Rarqual. The original reviews of the book were rather less than enthusiastic: although the subject matter was described as enthralling, Masters's accounts were described as pedestrian and disjointed. C.R., writing in The Manchester Guardian (28 Oct 1942) thought the book would have had greater value had it contained something of the strategy of submarine warfare "...but Mr. David Masters, the author, limits himself to the deeds of individual submarines and their commanders, about which he writes in enthusiastic cliches. The tactics of torpedo attack are touched on only incidentally, and the through-the-looking-glass life of a submarine crew is dealt with only in a short preface."

Some descriptions of other books by Masters can be found here.

Non-fiction
The Romance of Excavation. A record of the amazing discoveries in Egypt, Assyria, Troy, Crete, etc. London, John Lane, 1923.
The Wonders of Salvage. London, John Lane, 1924.
The Conquest of Disease. London, John Lane, 1925.
New Cancer Facts, with a preface by Sir James Cantlie. London, John Lane, 1925.
How to Conquer Consumption, with an introduction by Sir Bruce Bruce-Porter. London, John Lane, 1926.
Perilous Days. London, John Lane, 1927.
The Glory of Britain. London, John Lane, 1930.
When Ships Go Down. More wonders of salvage. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1932.
S.O.S. A book of sea adventures. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1933.
On the Wing. The pioneers of the flying age. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1934.
"I.D." New tales of the submarine war. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1935.
Deep-Sea Diving, illus. L. R. Brightwell. London & New York, T. Nelson & Sons, 1935.
Crimes on the High Seas. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1936.
What Men Will Do For Money. A revelation of strange cases and amazing frauds. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1937.
Divers in Deep Seas. More romances of salvage. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1938.
"So Few" The immortal record of the Royal Air Force. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1941; revised [8th ed.], Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1946.
Up Periscope. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1942.
With Pennants Flying. The immortal deeds of the Royal Armoured Corps. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1943.
Miracle Drug. The inner history of penicillin. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1946.
Epics of Salvage. Wartime feats of the marine salvage men. London, Cassell, Mar 1953.
The Plimsoll Mark. London, Cassell & Co., 1955.
In Peril of the Sea. War exploits of Allied seamen. London, Cresset Press, 1960.

(* With thanks to Jamie Sturgeon.)

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