CHURCHILL, WINSTON SPENCER. 1874-1965.
Typed Letter Signed ("Winston S. Churchill") with postscript, 1 p, 4to, [London], October 10, 1939, to E.J. Robertson, managing director of the Daily Express, folds, staple marks at upper left corner.
A testy letter from Churchill written a month into World War II. In an article on October 9 entitled "The King visits the Fleet," the Express reported that on a visit to the northern base of the Navy the King "inspected representative ships ... and decorated heroes of the Fleet Air Arm who recently 'achieved a certain northern sea triumph.'" The Fleet Air Arm, the branch of the Navy responsible for aircraft, had on September 25 engaged German planes in the North Sea that were attempting to sink the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Germany then entered into a propaganda war, wrongly claiming that Ark Royal had been damaged; on the same day that the Express article appeared, Hitler decorated an Air Force Lance Corporal for purportedly bombing and sinking an aircraft carrier, said to have been Ark Royal.
Angry at the misinformation flying to and fro, Churchill writes, in full: "I have been looking into the complaints in your article this morning. The statement enclosed is the only one authorized by the Admiralty. The story about 'decorating heroes of the Fleet Air Arm' was a pure invention. When it was brought to the notice of the Admiralty, and as soon as they could make enquiry at the Palace, they denied it, and they continue to deny it until eventually their denial was made public. [In manuscript:] I do not see where they were at fault."