London: The Liberal Publication Department, 1915. First edition, only printing. Pamphlet. This item is from the personal collection of Churchill's bibliographer, Ronald I. Cohen. Here is the original, first printing pamphlet publication of Churchill's February 15, 1915 speech in the House of Commons - his final time introducing the annual Navy Budget as First Lord of the Admiralty. His first Navy Estimates speech of 1912 occurred on the eve of World War I and laid out detailed policies for countering Germany in the growing naval arms race. That speech was well received and resulted in aggressive efforts under Churchill's Admiralty leadership to put Britain's Navy on a war footing.
This 1915 Navy Estimates presentation occurs in the midst of war. Churchill reports: "On the declaration of war we were able to count upon a Fleet of sufficient superiority for all our needs, with a good margin for safety in vital matters, fully mobilised, placed in its war stations, supplied and equipped with every requirement." It would arguably be the war on land more than the war at sea that would prove Churchill's undoing. Later in the year, after being blamed for Gallipoli and the disastrous Dardanelles campaign, Churchill would resign from the Cabinet and rejoin the army to serve on the front in the trenches of France.
The pamphlet offered here is 20 pages, bound in wire-stitched paper wraps, and measures 8.5 x 5.5 inches. Of note, this is not a disbound copy, but a full-size original pamphlet. Most surviving original Churchill speech pamphlets of this era were once bound in annual compilations by the Liberal Publication Department, or remain thus, per Cohen (p.195). Were this copy ever bound thus, it would lack the original binding staple, be trimmed to 8 x 5.25 inches, and bear the number "8" hand stamped on the upper right corner, all indicating that it was disbound from the collected "Pamphlets and Leaflets for 1915-1918”. This copy is intact in its original pamphlet form, measuring the full 8.5 x 5.5 inches untrimmed size, still bearing an original binding staple, and with no "8" stamped on the upper front cover.
Condition is very good given the age and inherent fragility. The paper covers remain attached, but barely so, with chipping and splits along the hinge. The covers are otherwise notably clean and complete, as are the contents. We note no spotting and no previous ownership marks. Age-toning is moderate and uniform throughout, as should be expected. Quite rare thus, being never bound and trimmed. The pamphlet is protected in a removable, archival quality mylar sleeve.
Reference: Cohen A45, Woods A24. Item #003172