When I first saw the book above, it struck me as a most unusual signed copy of “The Passing Show” and there are LOADS of signed copies of the W. E. Johns book “The Passing Show”


What I found unusual about this book is that it is normally signed by Johns in the top right hand corner like the examples below.


Notice how the signatures below differ slightly in position – but are in a position completely different from the one signed above.  I wondered if the one above was signed in person at the Chelsea Flower Show on the 25th May 1938 as dated, and so I started to look through issues of “MY GARDEN” to see if I could establish that.






Each issue of “MY GARDEN” was monthly and was published well in advance of the month which it was dated.  I did look at the May 1938 issue of “MY GARDEN”

to see if there was any advert for the CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW that year ……….. and I found this:-



Note the paragraph on the left that I have highlighted.  “Captain Johns ……….. has promised to attend at the stand from 4 to 5 (pm) on the Tuesday and from 12 to 1 (pm) and 4 to 5 (pm) on the Wednesday.  My signed copy of THE PASSING SHOW is dated 25th May 1938.  What day of the week was that …………?   Well, it turns out that it was a WEDNESDAY!


I then looked for further evidence that W. E. Johns was actually at the CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW that year.

And in his column “The Passing Show” published in July 1938 I found this ………  “Chelsea Chat”




Note the paragraph on the right above, that I have highlighted.  “It was very pleasant to meet, on MY GARDEN stand, many readers of this magazine”.

So Johns WAS there on Wednesday 25th May 1938 and signed this copy of the book for H. Hogan, presumably Helen, who put the date and location in the book.

 It would appear that Helen Hogan was George Hogan’s Aunt and some twenty years later, the book was given to George from “Aunt Helen”