Posts Tagged ‘Lord Beaverbrook’

From the outset the Allies found stymied by Stalin’s hot and cold approach even when he was pestering them for material help. Following the Atlantic Conference in 1941 Churchill sent Lord Beaverbrook while Avrell Harriman from Roosevelt was included. The delegation had service members to help them with assessing actual needs of Russia. Their discussions were frustrating and in Harriman’s words ‘ pretty hard sledding.’ There were also moments of surprise and warmth. General Hastings Ismay, Churchill’s personal representative on the Services committee found Russian soldiery,- from top to lower ranks, was very finicky about saluting. Ismay’s Marine orderly once reported his embarrassment of commanding salutes at every turn by Russian officers but his superior let him a free hand saying, ‘ acknowledge their compliments handsomely’. This Marine in his impressive blue uniform was one day being given a guided tour. The Intourist guide showed a building and said,’This is Eden Hotel, formerly Ribbentrop Hotel’. A little later, ‘We are on the Churchill street, formerly Hitler street. The guide pointing to the Railway station intoned,’The Beaverbrook railway station, formerly Goering railway station..’ Stopping short the guide offered a cigarette,’Will you have one, comrade?’
The Marine took it and thanked, ‘Thank you comrade, formerly bastard!’
When Ismay later reported this to Churchill he relished it so much it became a standard joke, one among his repertoire of after-dinner pleasantries.


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