My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

GLASGOW, Scotland—I found myself sitting at breakfast yesterday morning between a young member of the ATS and a young WREN as well. Having asked the heads of the women's organization to dine, the Captain Kirkman decided I should see some of the privates as well. The girl on my right gasped when two fried eggs appeared on the plate in front of her and every other girl around the table gazed with complete incredulity at the sight, for the one girl said: "It's two months rations all at once."

I had greatly benefitted from the fact that the Navy and Army get things from America! Having run out of Kleenex, which then you have a cold in your head, is almost a necessity, I laid in a new store at the hospital knowing that nowhere in Great Britain could I buy anything of the kind. We still have a few things in the US which we probably enjoy rather thoughtlessly, but a little while on this side of the ocean takes you not only conscious of them, but very grateful for them.

At nine-thirty we started out and visited some of the permanent Naval establishments in and around Londonderry, both British and American, including a visit to one British destroyer which has been one of the fifty we turned over early in the war, and a Canadian Corvette. These little ships do much of the convoying and are very workmanlike. They carry about seventy-two men and look as though they would be quite efficient with a submarine. We visited one of our own repair shops where the boys presented me with two ashtrays, one for the President and one for myself. I don't smoke but I wouldn't give mine up for anything as it has inscribed on it my code name which I imagine will be always my nickname in these parts, so all my friends may use this ashtray only in my sitting room.

At eleven o'clock we stood in Londonderry Square filled with people for the Armistice Day memorial ceremony. The bugle sounded, the bell tolled,the clock struck eleven and we read the inscription on the shaft "To the men who fought in 1914-1918 and their glorious dead. Captain Kirkman asked me to take his place in laying the wreath from the American Forces at the base of the monument. I like the custom which prevails of having all the wreaths made very largely of red poppies which are being sold everywhere and worn by practically every serviceman and every civilian one sees in the street.

After this ceremony at which His Honor the Mayor greeted me and I went to the City Building and signed the visitors' book, we went to the Naval Hospital which is some distance from the rest of the establishment. It cares for all the men of the Forces, both British and American and any Merchant Marine men who have been rescued from torpedoed ships. They told me they had had seven different nationalities at one time. I saw a fine looking Polish boy and an Australian in one of the wards. This entire hospital is set up in Nissen huts and is one of the most efficient and finely equipped hospitals I have seen. The food looked excellent and what was more, the wards were cheerful. The parting message from the doctor in charge was to Admiral McIntyre, and I think it should please him for you seldom find someone who is quite contented with his job! The head doctor also said that they had been very fortunate and had not lost a single man.

After lunch with Captain Thehaud, we were fortunate in having good weather and so had a perfect flight from Londonderry to Prestwick. There we were met by the Regional Commissioner, Lord Rosebery, and a number of Scottish officials. We had a pleasant drive into Glasgow and arrived at the American Red Cross club where we dined, after I had looked over the building. Later I went into the canteen to have coffee with the boys. There seemed to be quite a number on hand but they tell me their really strenuous time was in the days before our African expedition got off. We had an evening filled with activity but that I must tell you about tomorrow.

E.R.
TMsd 12 November 1942, AERP, FDRL