Reporting the Russo-Japanese War 1904-5, by Peter Slattery, subtitled 'Lionel James's first wireless transmissions to The Times'
Published by Global Oriental in 2004, 144 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (N2161)
Brand New Book
This is the remarkable story, told for the first time, of 'Special Correspondent' Lionel James of The Times newspaper, who became the first journalist in history to report by wireless telegraphy from a war zone - the occasion being the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in East Asia in spring 1904.
The first transmission was made on 15 March from the specially chartered steamer, the Haimun, ploughing the waters of the war zone, the Yellow Sea. James's achievement required imagination, innovation and courage. Wireless sets had to be transported across the world, a timber wireless mast had to be constructed and raised on the treeless promontory of Weihaiwei on the China coast. However, the world powers were not ready to accept the Times' highly enterprising approach to reporting the war and eventually, after less than two months, the Japanese (who had earlier reached a special agreement with James) the British Admiralty and the Russians spoke out against the wireless reports, causing James to abandon the Haimun and continue his war-reporting on foot in Manchuria, which is also covered in this volume.
The plate section contains 25 images from various archives, many of which have not been published before. One of three appendixes includes the full terms of reference entered into by James and the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Fully researched from primary sources, Reporting the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-5 is a remarkable story of human endeavour in a war zone but also provides a valuable new insight into the media's role in war reporting and marks a turning point in media history.