Illustrations of ships used in many conflicts

One of the Shipp fruit and veg shops at 10 and 12 Meadow Street, Landport, in 1986.

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On this day in 1906 successful author, journalist, illustrator and eccentric, Fred T Jane, stood as an independent Navy Before Party candidate for the Portsmouth seat in the general election. He came last.

In 1899 Jane was commissioned by Pictorial World to cover naval manoeuvres and an inspection of the combined fleets at Spithead by the German emperor Wilhelm II.

Jane was able to sketch nearly 100 ships. Nine years later he published Jane’s All the World’s Fighting Ships (shortened to Jane’s Fighting Ships in 1905), with details of all major surface warships. This was to be used as a ship recognition and intelligence aid by all sides in many future naval conflicts.

He also became a successful novelist with Blake of the Rattlesnake (1895), followed by several science fiction titles, including The Incubated Girl (1896), To Venus in Five Seconds (1897) and The Violet Flame (1899), which featured an armament with the characteristics of a nuclear weapon.

Fred T Jane died of a heart attack following a severe dose of flu at 26 Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, on March 8, 1916 – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.