In August 1941 Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and President Roosevelt (1882-1945) met secretly on HMS Prince of Wales, moored just off the coast of Newfoundland. H. V. Morton and Howard Spring (author of Fame is the Spur) were invited to accompany the Prime Minister and his entourage, a trip, which was not without its hazards. Only a handful of people knew Churchill had left Britain and in America the press merely reported that Roosevelt was enjoying a few days' away from Washington, fishing. The Prince of Wales set off from Scrabster on 4th August 1941 and reached her destination at Newfoundland on 9th August 1941. A routine was quickly established on board and the crew soon became used to the Prime Minister's timetable and requirements, especially his regular film nights. Together with the Prime Minister's bodyguard, Thompson, a number of key personnel accompanied Churchill on this mission, including Lord Beaverbrook who joined the ship by flying to Newfoundland's Placentia Bay. The Atlantic Treaty, whilst not achieving all that Churchill had hoped for, was a key document in the development of the war and post-war strategy.Churchill had hoped that at the resolution of the meeting America would join the war during the summer of 1941 but this was not to be.
America did finally join the war in December 1941 following the Japanese attack on the US base at Pearl Harbour. H. V. Morton's account was not released for publication until 1943 and subsequently numerous documents have been made available at the National Archives. Atlantic Meeting is a unique account of the events leading up to Churchill's discussions with Roosevelt and a fascinating account of the practicalities - and occasionally humour - involved in such a perilous journey.
Witty, elegant and engaging, H. V. Morton (1892-1979) was one of the most popular travel writers of his time. After a brief period of military service he established a career as a journalist and became a reporter for Fleet Street's Daily Express and the Daily Herald. H. V. Morton's debut, In Search of England, became a best seller. His genial writing style endeared him to the countless readers of the books he wrote about his travels around the British Isles, Spain, Italy and the Middle East between 1927 and 1950. In 1941 H. V. Morton attended the Atlantic Treaty meeting between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill which established the Allied policy for post Second World War Europe and he was famously present at the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter and his team in 1922. After the Second World War, H. V. Morton emigrated to South Africa where he lived until his death.