"That's Not Whiskey . . . !"
Having been invited to make a speech at Westminster College, a small liberal arts school in Fulton, Missouri, in the late winter of 1946 former British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill traveled to the United States. Early in March he was a guest of President Harry S Truman at the White House for several days. It was an amiable visit, and the two men got along well, though Truman apparently cleaned Churchill out at poker.
As the time for Churchill's speech approached, the two boarded a special train to take them to Fulton.
Shortly after boarding the train, the President asked if Churchill would like some whiskey. Never averse to a little booze – or a lot, for that matter – Churchill readily accepted the offer. But then Truman hauled out a bottle of his favorite potable, Wild Turkey.
Churchill recoiled in horror, “That’s not whiskey, that’s bourbon!”
Within minutes, a presidential aide was on the telephone, and soon afterwards a wholly unscheduled stop was made at a railroad station in western Maryland, where several cases of Johnny Walker Red were brought aboard.
Thus properly lubricated, on March 5th Churchill delivered what would come to be known as the "Iron Curtain" speech, coining a phrase as he noted the onset of what would become the Cold War.
". . . Take Care of My Flag."
Sir Thomas Pasley was one of the many notable sailors who rose to prominence during the great sea wars of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Born in 1734, he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman at the age of 16, in 1751, saw active service during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the War of the American Revolution (1775-1783), and in the opening phases of the Wars of the French Revolution (1793-1801).
The crowning moment of Pasley’s career took place during the Battle of the Atlantic, otherwise known as “The Glorious First of June” (June 1, 1794).
By then a rear admiral of the Blue, Pasley was commanding the van squadron of the Channel Fleet, with his flag in HMS Bellerophon, a 74 gun liner. Pasley and his squadron had already distinguished themselves in a number of smaller actions on May 28th and 29th, taking some damage as elements of the Channel Fleet clashed with the French Atlantic Fleet, which was escorting a very large convoy from America to France.
As the battle opened on June 1st, Pasley’s squadron, in the van, clashed with the French and a hot fight developed. Shortly before 11:00 a.m. Bellerophon found herself engaged by three or four French ships-of-the-line. Suddenly Pasley was struck by an 18-pounder ball, the round shattering his leg. Two sailors picked up the badly wounded admiral, one expressing regret at the loss of his leg, whereupon Pasley said “Thank you: but never mind my leg, take care of my flag.”
A radical amputation saved Pasley’s life, even as the battle was won. For his performance, Pasley was created a baronet, granted various decorations, awarded £1,500 in prize, and promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red. Although he never went to sea again, he remained on active duty until 1801, holding various administrative commands. Pasley retired as an Admiral of the White, the highest normal rank in the service. A friend to the much younger Horatio Nelson, Pasley outlived the latter by three years, dying in 1808.
Curiously, biographical accounts of Sir Thomas’ life don’t seem to mention which leg it was that he lost, a surprisingly common omission in accounts of casualties at the time