British Pathé – Atlantic Crossings Make History (1942)

A pair of Atlantic crossing make history as Churchill visits the United States before the first contingent of American GIs arrive in Belfast, Co. Antrim.

Mr. Churchill’s journey to America, this time aboard the £8 million battleship Duke of York. They include scenes of family farewell as Lance Corporal Mary Churchill of the ATS spends those last precious minutes with her father before sailing time. Once again the Royal Navy was entrusted with the task of carrying safely across the Atlantic the men upon whom so much depends. Only a few days ago did we learn that this proud giant of the senior service was commissioned and already at sea.

While routine duties aboard were carried out with meticulous care, Mr. Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook, and, in fact, all the members of the mission were in constant conversation. A noisy practice just in case.

The big seven who accompanied Mr. Churchill were Sir Dudley Pound, General McCready, Lord Beaverbrook, Mr. Averell Harriman, Brigadier Hollis, Sir John Dill, and Sir Charles Portal. On arriving off the American coast, one adventure had ended and another begun. From that moment onwards, Mr. Churchill would have to engage himself in one of the biggest jobs of work here ever done. And what’s more, face his critics when he returns. He came back. He spoke. He conquered. For proof, see figures of the vote of confidence in parliament.

One of the first fruits of Mr. Churchill’s voyage was another Atlantic crossing, in fact, a lot of them. The great transports brought the vanguard of American troops to these shores. We’re happy to be able to show these further pictures. The Duke of Abercorn, Governor of Northern Ireland greeted Major General Hartle, commanding the force, which now comes under the command of Major General Chaney.

Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air offered a warm welcome to the men and assured them they were not among strangers but among grateful friends and among comrades of the British fighting services who would be proud to share with them the place of honour in battle. Special mention must be made of Private Milburn Henke, the first to set foot on British soil but they’re all grand fellows. Finer bearing and physique would be hard to find. Quite a few of them have an added interest in the destruction of Nazism for they are of Norwegian extraction.

An unusual silence prevails as they march away for the doughboys, that’s the American equivalent of Tommy Atkins, wear rubber soled boots. So welcome these, the first of the sons of the New World, come to make the Old World a place fit for human beings to live in

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