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Lockdown voters might be wondering about the fellow they put in office a little too enthusiastically perhaps, but a book from across the Pond shows that even the revered can have strong views changed with a little help from, well, from their friends.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Unsacked ... Manipulating our glorious leaders seems part of political life, even in war. Sir John is third from the right, directly behind Mr Churchill. US Naval Historical Center - thanks Wikipedia.
In WW2, which has its VE day on Friday, Britain had a tubby fellow in charge, too, who had also experienced top schools.

Our present fellow seems to be guided by a rather humourless shadow.

But it’s most likely that Churchill had a similar one breathing down his neck, too.

Strong views

A book, Soldier and Statesman, by Ed Cray, shows there are ways around a leader's ultra-strong views.

The book reveals that Churchill decided - perhaps was persuaded - to change his rep in the US, Sir John Dill. That certainly didn't please the vital allies across the Atlantic.

Sir John who, we might ask?

Wikipedia: 'From May 1940 to December 1941 he was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, and subsequently in Washington, as Chief of the British Joint Staff Mission ...

   He asked Harvard University to award their English friend an honorary doctorate, an award that would certainly impress Churchill, just as doubtlessly it would our present glorious leader.
However, Harvard wasn't bending the rules for Churchill nor anyone ...

'... and then Senior British Representative on the Combined Chiefs of Staff played a significant role during the WW2 in the formation of the Special Relationship between the United Kingdom and the US.'

Author Ed Cray says that managing Churchill during the war was seen as a constant challenge for President Roosevelt and his military leaders.

'Unsound and distracting'

‘They needed Churchill's support, but he was given to proposing unsound and distracting strategies,’ Ed Cray tells. ‘The US was helped, though, by the calming and reasonable presence of Sir John Dill.’

A good man to have in the US then, but seemingly Sir John lost the favour of Churchill, or the advisor, and was to be sacked.

The US administration feared a less obliging fellow could be the replacement. They devised a plan.

Nothing like university medals to win admirers, the US war chief, General Marshall, knew and set about getting a uni award for Sir John’s lapels.

He asked Harvard University to award their English friend an honorary doctorate, an award that would certainly impress Churchill, just as doubtlessly it would our present glorious leader.

However, Harvard wasn’t bending the rules for Churchill nor anyone, wartime or not.

The general put it to Yale, which suggested a new award for contributions to international relations.

A well-publicised parade

It was presented in a well-publicised full-dress parade, war or no war.

It won Churchill's attention. ‘That fellow must be doing quite a job.’ And the newly honoured Sir John Dill kept his post and the war continued, perhaps with a little less tension back at the American HQ.

The story is told in an excerpt from Ed Cray’s 'General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman' and is featured by that excellent regular inbox visitor, DelanceyPlace.com

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory and on Blogger,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.