Congressional Trip III: Travels around Britain
On Nov 26th we had lunch on board Admiral Lord Nelson's old flagship, The HMS "Victory" in Portsmouth. It was beautifully restored and the silver was fabulous. I was impressed at how much shorter men must have been then because none of us could walk between the decks without crouching.
At Plymouth on Dec 1st we arrived by train at 6:00 AM and the famous Lady Nancy Astor was at the RR station to greet us and we went to her house for breakfast. Lord Astor was Lord Mayor of Plymouth.
We toured the areas destroyed by bombs, the harbor and other sights. I had arranged for Congressman Melvin J. Maas to ride in the same car as Lady Astor. At the first stop Congressman Maas almost ran to me and said, "Henry, please arrange for me to ride in a different car." It seems that he likes to talk all the time and so did Lady Astor and she won out.
We were due to lunch at the Astors' House but Joe said to her, "Nancy, we'll just stop at a pub before lunch as I know you won't give us a drink." She answered, "Damn you, Joe, all right you can have a drink at my house. She was a Christian Scientist and hated alcohol. On a lighter level I had been amused because at "Chequers"the butler, carrying in a tray of drink, glasses, etc., had missed a step and everything crashed on the floor.
It did amuse me because when King George and Queen Elizabeth visited the US, one of their stops was at Hyde Park, the Roosevelt family's house on the Hudson. Their English butler was so incensed that Pres and Mrs. Roosevelt planned to serve hot dogs to the King and Queen that he left. A White House butler had to be brought up to replace him. This new butler didn't know his way around and at one point he was carrying a large silver tray with drinks and he missed a step and crashed. So in a way, it equalled out the embarrassing scene at Hyde Park.
We had meetings with our Ambassador Gil Winant, toured civil defense units and military installations and met many officials and Ministers. The Congressmen wanted to visit an Army in Exile unit. So the Polish being the largest was selected.
Previous page: Congressional Trip II: London Next page: Congressional Trip IV: Scotland and back to London