OCTOBER 30, 1942
LONDON—On Tuesday the London County Council invited me to lunch. Sir Anthony Eden, the Foreign Minister, proposed my health in a charming speech after we had drunk the health of the King and the President. Miss Thompson and I both enjoyed the traditional little introduction given the chairman, and each speaker by the toast- master who rapped on the table and called the meeting to order.
The afternoon was spent visiting a Fighter Command, of the RAF where the WAAFS share in many important duties. Miss K.J. Trefusis-Forbes, who heads the organization, accompanied us, and Mrs. Hobby and Lieut. Bandel joined us on this trip.
In the evening we dined with the Prime Minister and had the pleasure of seeing Lady Denman, head of the women's land army whose work I hope to see; Dame Rachel Crowdy whom I have known ever since the last war; Lady Limerick of the British Red Cross, and a number of other people with important government responsibilities.
The days are full, but every day I am more deeply impressed by the work of the British women and the extraordinary training programs which have been set up for both men and women, and which makes their service so valuable in both military and civilian work.
Yesterday morning Lady Reading called for me at nine forty-five, and we went at once to the headquarters of the Women's Voluntary Services headquarters. They distribute much clothing which they receive from the United States. The greater part comes from the American Red Cross, though the Bundles for Britain and the British War Relief furnish a certain amount. Canada and Australia also send contributions and to my surprise, I heard that in spite of the needs of their own people which must be great, Canada has been able to increase her contributions in the last few months. The Lord Mayor's fund also contributes a large fund for clothing for blitzed areas. Mrs. Bingham who has come over to inspect for the "Bundles for Britain" and Mrs. Churchill met me at the WVS headquarters this morning. I was extremely interested in the whole system. The country is divided into several regions and on the docks as the cases arrive, they are distributed to these regions. London has the central office for this region and sends out from here to all of the smaller distribution centers in the area. Second-hand things may be given away without coupons and are frequently sent first to sewing parties where they are remade, cleaned and mended before being given out.
There is also a service which picks up the clothes of the American officers which need mending and returns them in complete order, so the wives, mothers and sweethearts at home, may know that the officers in London, at least, may make use of this service and I have seen something similar in other places where mending is done for the enlisted men.
We lunched with the lady members of Parliament and I enjoyed it very much and wished that our women members of Congress could have been with me.
In between the day was filled by a succession of visitors, all of them extremely interesting. At a quarter to six my cousin, Mrs. Cyril Martineau and her daughter, Jean, with two or three others accompanied us to the play: "Flare Path". It was beautifully cast and acted and I am glad it is to go to the United States because it is a true and moving picture of the RAF. It is written by a man who is a gunner in that organization and the girl, Adrianne Allen, who takes the principal part, has acted in a number of plays in the United States and I am sorry she is not to act it over there.