Col. Gault (Military Assistant to General Eisenhower, 29 April 1945): “John Peck, is that you? The General told me to ask you if the war is over.”
Peck: “I beg your pardon?”
Gault: “Seriously, we’ve got a press message here which says quite clearly that it’s all over. If so, nobody has told the General and he thought you would be the most likely to know at your end.”
Peck: “Well, if it has ended, nobody has told the Prime Minister either.”
Gault: “Do you think we had better carry on?”
Peck: “Yes, I think so.” [John then went back to sleep, and the war went on.]
Sir Fitzroy Maclean was a swashbuckling adventurer, soldier, writer and politician. In World War II he was Churchill’s representative to Tito, who led Yugoslav Partisans against the Germans. One of my great privileges was knowing him and Lady Veronica, and hearing their captivating recollections.
Sir Fitzroy Maclean KT CBE, 1911-1996. (Daily Telegraph)
Proofing galleys for Winston S. Churchill: Document Volume 20, May-December 1944, the Hillsdale College Churchill Project comes across many gems. Not least of these was Maclean’s account of Churchill’s first meeting with Tito—and a minor adventure in Bay of Naples in August 1944.
Maclean on Tito:
I found him to be a tough, alert man of about fifty, at the head of a far more formidable resistance movement than anyone outside Yugoslavia could possibly have imagined….…