Letter re: Royal Aeronautical Society speech and dinner

31.5.40


My dearest Mother,

Thank you very much for your very nice letter. I am afraid that you were disappointed to find nothing about my lecture in ‘The Times’. The papers have very little room for anything but war news, which is only to be expected in a grave crisis like the present one. However ‘The Evening News’ had a half column last Monday and of course the aeronautical papers, ‘Flight’ and ‘the Aeroplane’ had pieces in the weeks issues before the lecture and will no doubt publish whole pieces from it next week.

I tried to get the lecture postponed but nearly everyone else wanted to hold it although the attendance was bound to suffer with everyone working at high pressure. As it turned out, there were about 160 people there. Col. Moore-Brabazon was in the Chair, the President, Mr Fedden, being abroad. Col. M-B. made a graceful introductory speech and then I read extracts from my paper for about one hour. The Sir Francis Shelmerdine proposed a vote of thanks and Lord Sempell seconded it.

The Council Dinner, a large function at which the lecturer is the guest of honour, had been postponed to better times, but Col M-B invited a few people, all well known to him & me, to dinner at the Hyde Park Hotel. There were M-B, Colonel Scanlon (the U.S. Military Air Attache) Sir F. Shelmerdine, Captain Pritchard (Secretary of the Society), Sir Henry Tizard, Lord Sempell, Mr Gorge, Mr Griffith Brewer (who flew with Wilbur Wright in 1908) and me. Sir H. Tizard proposed my health and I responded, I hope, appropriately. And so, after a good meal and conversation to match, home and to bed.

I am sorry to say that the boys’ new school, about which we were so pleased, is going to evacuate. We do not know yet where to. It is a great pity.

It also looks as if we shall be leaving London in a week or two for a few weeks in the North. I will tell you more later on.

Marjorie went to see the boys last Sunday. I was unable to get away. They were well and happy. Christopher is very popular with both boys and masters, so one of the headmasters told me on the ‘phone. Jem is quieter but is getting along very well.

We both send our love to you and to Edith. I am very glad you are in Weston & not in Birmingham.

Your own loving son

Harold


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