In December 1916 David Lloyd George became Prime Minister. This was an interesting development to our family, as Lloyd George knew my father. Not that my father liked him, by all accounts he was dismayed to see the man achieve the highest office in the land. Even years later, whenever he heard Lloyd George on the radio, he would scowl, knuckles whitening, and often find some excuse to shout at my mother or nip one of us children, hard. Usually me. Both my mother and father met him when he visited Yorkshire in the December of 1913. In fact my mother was given the honour of showing him around the Nonconformist Chapel where father was a lay preacher. Perhaps he had been irritated that he was left looking after Pearl whilst she performed the favour. Of course he didn’t let on at the time, as he was impressed by the fact that the man was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and had the power to grant organisations such as the chapel some favours in the forthcoming budget. It was only later that his dislike inexplicably grew. Lloyd George was possibly the filthiest prime minister that this country has ever known. In fact he would even make America’s President Clinton seem like a choirboy in comparison. But unlike Clinton, Lloyd George was not one for messing around with Cigars. Those who knew him referred to him as “the Goat” Because back in 1916 that was the preferred name for filthy so and sos who couldn’t keep their John Thomases under control. Lord Kitchener, the Field Marshal of “Your country needs You!” fame, claimed that he didn’t like to share military secrets with the cabinet because he was worried that they might tell their wives. He then said that he wouldn’t tell Lloyd George anything, because he would tell everyone else’s wives. Shortly after saying this, Kitchener was killed when the HMS Hampshire went down near the Orkney Islands. Lloyd George was unable to give an alibi, but it is thought that this is because he was secretly with Margot Asquith, wife of the ex-prime minister, inspecting a Nonconformist Chapel.
Doris’s Pop Pick of 1916: “Roses of Picardy” by Elsie Griffin. “And the roses will die with the summertime, and our roads may be far apart, But there’s one rose that dies not in Picardy! ‘Tis the rose that I keep in my heart!” All the chaps in the trenches used to sing it whilst thinking of their sweethearts back home. It was so well known that back in Blighty, the poor beggars who had lost the power of speech through shell shock were coaxed back into using their voices by being encouraged to sing it.