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Dr. H. Percy Wilkins Remembered    | FOOTNOTES Page | Obituary Page |

Dr. H. Percy Wilkins

Dr. H. Percy Wilkins was a sort of proto-Patrick Moore. I became acquainted with his astronomical contributions in Armchair Science, back in 1935, and his name is inextricably linked in my mind with the by-line "author of the World's greatest Moon map". I've looked up several biographical sources, specialist scientist and astronomer listings as well as general, but found no mention of him. He's referred to as "Author of the world's greatest Moon Map & President, Carmarthen Astronomical & Scientific Society" in 1935 issues of the mag—by 1937, this is amended to "Author of the Worlds two greatest Moon maps. Member of the British Astronomical Society".

Dunno when he became a Doc, or of what, but he seems to have been an amateur, rather than professional, astronomer; have memories that he became Director of the BAA Lunar Branch for a period. Only slightest recollections of the lunar bridge story of the 50s—there were always reports of viewings of crater lights and changes in markings by lunar observers, usually attributed to chance viewings of meteor contacts, but the bridge report seems on a par with recent efforts to dress up the so-called "face on Mars" report.

No reference to it in any of the Patrick Moore literature on our shelves... but then there isn't any mention of Patrick's one-time scepticism about the likelihood of space-travel: some things are perhaps best forgot!

I chucked out all my file of Armchair Science, Gernsback's Science & Invention, and the like, in the '60s. I find now that they were all strategically rescued by Philip and preserved in his collection. Looks like the hoarding gene has been passed on. The Gernsback mags go back to 1931 and are crammed with Paul illos—it certainly brings back the memories browsing thru these pages after a long absence! ■

Letter to Steve Sneyd, 14 May 2001

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