My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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LONDON, Sunday—I saw a good many of our troops. We arrived in time at the camp to go to the eleven o'clock Church Service. The church was filled.

Directly afterwards we visited the kitchens where the men's food was being prepared, saw their mess hall, visited some of their barracks. Each unit had a little fireplace at the end and in the evenings at least, they could have an open fire to crowd around so they could be warm before they turned in. In spite of the rain and the mud, they manage to keep everything extraordinarily clean which is a real achievement.

After lunch with the commanding general, who keeps to the nice custom of saying grace before meals, we went into the hospital. There were very few serious cases of illness. The accidents are mainly motor vehicle accidents or accidental gun shot wounds. Many had colds, more or less serious, but all of them seemed to be getting well!

I was amused by one boy, a quick tempered southerner, who was suffering from the results of a fight—he insisted that he "had to do it." Another one with a patch over his eye who said, "My friend threw a hot coal at me."

We went next to the American Red Cross canteen, run by Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. It was crowded, some Army talent was doing very well with a Sunday afternoon musical entertainment. They have a very good building which they opened without any equipment and they are only just beginning to get the things they need to run smoothly. There is no other place for the boys to go nearby, so the movies and dances and "eats" offered by the Red Cross are very much appreciated.

We reached our final destination by six-thirty, and Miss Thompson and I spent the night with Queen Mary in the country. It was a very pleasant visit and both the Queen and the Princess Royal were very kind and helpful in talking to me about the work of the women and the things which they thought it might be useful for me to study.

Monday morning we left at nine-thirty, visited our paratroops, saw a demonstration of their equipment, their marching and various training. They are a grand and adventurous group of boys.

We then drove to the training center for officer candidates and for special services. These candidates are chosen after they have received considerable training in the United States. The specialists are there to learn about the particular things which will be valuable in their branches of the Service. They are fortunate in having a very good lay-out with sufficient space for every type of training. The canteen for the men and for the officer candidates are both run by the British ATS.

I saw some colored troops at this camp, and among the non-commissioned officer candidates were a number of young colored trainees. We lunched with the Colonel in charge and then went to see another of our hospitals. Unfortunately I only had time to see the surgical wards which was a great disappointment to me.

During the day I saw my old friends, Sir Arthur and Lady Willert and their granddaughter who is my godchild.

E.R.
TMsd 3 November 1942, AERP, FDRL