PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for www.tikit.net

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for www.tikit.net

Ralph Holmes Vernon-Hunt 1

While sorting through some PAN related bits and pieces I came across the last will and testament of Ralph Holmes Vernon-Hunt (as you do) in which he leaves all to his wife or in the event of his wife predeceasing him, his children. Included with this was the letter to the right on PAN Books headed notepaper because at the time he was Sales Director who later became the Managing Director but he is more famous for another reason.
He was the model for the James Bond found on the covers of several titles from the early 1960’s. He even appears on one cover when he shouldn’t! Click here to find out which one has the mistake.

Ralph Holmes Vernon-Hunt May 23rd 1923 > Nov 10th 1987
Sales Director PAN Books 1947 > 1962 & 1969 > 1982
Nephew of Alan John Bott > Founder of PAN Books

Finally I was out walking a long distance footpath over the last couple of days some of which included the towpath of the Staffs and Worcs Canal. One of the moored narrow boats had a couple of boxes of paperbacks  by it. They were 10p each and in one was, at a quick look, a complete set of James Bond PANs from the 60’s. I was very tempted but as I was only 15 miles into the 41 I had to cover I regrettably decided not to this time which was probably a sensible decision.

Category: PAN Related
  • Gareth Powell says:

    Ah yes, I remember him well. I first met him in 1956 when I was working with Smith Trade News. He was a total charmer. He introduced me to Paul Hamlyn and treated me as if we were equals. We were nothing of the sort. I was then a trade journalist but it mattered not.
    I have always had a soft spot for Ralph Vernon Hunt and remember meeting him for the last time in, of all places Mumbai which was Bombay then.
    Gareth Powell
    Sorgai.com

    August 27, 2014 at 9:13 am
    • tikitnet says:

      Hi Gareth, I always love to get comments and I’m often surprised when I get them referring to something in a blog from many moons ago.
      From what I can see everyone seemed to, like you, like him. I can find out snippets about his life but am I right in presuming he is no longer with us although he would only be about 91 if he is? Did he retire out to India which is why news of him went quiet? I don’t suppose you have any pictures of him that I could add to the blog as I’m always trying to get new ‘old’ material. Thanks again for contacting and I hope to hear from you again soon. Regards, Tim K

      August 27, 2014 at 5:37 pm
      • Gareth Powell says:

        Sadly he is, as Alexander McCall Smith would write, late. He died, I think, but will check, around ten years ago. I last met him in Mumbai when sorting out book distribution problems in India. I was a great admirer of Ralph who was, indeed, a sort of James Bond character. That was when publishing was full of characters like Ralph. Where have the all gone? To the big remainder book market in the sky. Sadly, I have no pictures with Ralph in. I have some pictures and my scanner arrives today so I will be scanning and searching happily for the next few months.– Gareth

        September 4, 2014 at 12:01 am
        • tikitnet says:

          Hi Gareth, Thanks for taking the time to get back to me. I thought he had probably departed but with people living longer these days you never know. If you did manage to find anything PAN related I would be really grateful but I won’t hold you to it. Fingers crossed, Tim

          September 4, 2014 at 6:59 am
  • George Vernon-Hunt says:

    Hi Tim. Ralph was my Grandfather, but unfortunately I never got the chance to meet him, as he died in 1987; 5 years before I was born. I often hear about his works at Pan – especially him featuring on the cover of the James Bond books. It would be great to see any photos that you do manage to find of him. Regards, George.

    February 20, 2015 at 11:23 pm
    • tikitnet says:

      Hi George, Sorry to say I’ve not been inundated with photo’s but rest assured they will appear here if I ever do so keep visiting. All the best, Tim

      February 21, 2015 at 8:44 am
    • Sebastian Keep says:

      Hello George, I remember your Grandfather very well indeed. He and my father were best friends and as children we spent a lot of time in your house in the Vineyard in Twickenham. What happened to your father and Joffa and Victoria ? Please give them my regards. I live in Westminster close to Buckingham Palace so if they are ever in the area we could meet up for a cup of tea or perhaps something stronger. I hope this reaches you,
      Kind regards,
      Sebastian Keep.

      February 26, 2018 at 7:10 am
      • tikitnet says:

        Hi Sebastian, Always pleased to find the search does work as the comment from George was back in 2015. I’ve forwarded your email to him and included your email address so he’ll have the chance to reply if he wants to. I never presume everyone is happy to email everyone else after I did once as the writer said they had lost touch with a ‘friend’ and then proceeded to send them unpleasant emails! I’d love to hear how it PANS out. Cheers, Tim

        February 26, 2018 at 8:31 am
  • June Read says:

    Gentlemen, I joined Pan books around 1971 when the offices were on Tothill Street. I was hired as the secretary to Tony Bowen-Davis (art director) and when he left, then David Larkin.
    Ralph had a series of secretaries ( he was a tough guy to please) so when he invited me to become his executive Secretary I was frank in telling him that I loved the company and if we did not get along, I asked him to promise me he would find me another opportunity in the company. I never went back to the art department. Ralph was one of the best, funniest, most irreverent people I ever worked with. A tough guy exterior but with marshmallow feelings.
    When my husband and I moved back to Canada (3 years later) Ralph and the Pan crew held me a going away party and presented me with a jade ring, beautiful watch and an original caricature card (of Ralph) illustrated by one of the chaps in the art department.
    The people at Pan were wonderful and the experience of working with Ralph still rates as fun and memorable.

    August 16, 2015 at 4:17 pm
    • tikitnet says:

      Hi June, Did you get the email I sent to your address as I’d love to hear more? Regards, Tim

      August 31, 2015 at 1:38 pm
      • June Read says:

        Hi Tim, I apologize for not getting back to you but as I was sorting through a number of old photos, I came across my Pan memorabilia and so I can scan and send to you now if you still want them.

        Also, last weekend at a flea market here in Calgary, I acquired postcards of the Bond books that had our beloved Ralph on the cover… synchronicity at its best.

        July 20, 2017 at 2:38 pm
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