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    USS Memphis, #1 Motor Whale Boat Flag, FDR Casablanca Trip, 1943. In January of 1943, the USS Memphis was ordered to the British crown colony of Gambia in order to provide clean, healthful, and secure accommodations for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    This is a 41" X 66" printed cotton starfield flag, with sewn stripes, finished with a header and two white metal war-time grommets. The flag is marked on the upper obverse hoist. "Nr 1 Whale Boat USS Memphis" and "FDR on Board Jan 43." On the lower obverse hoist is faint size (4 X 6) and style marking.

    On January 13th, 1943 President Roosevelt flew across the Atlantic from Belem, Brazil to Bathurst, Gambia on a Boeing Clipper from Pan American Airways under charter to the Navy. His seaplane was met by the motor whale boat from the cruiser USS Memphis, the flagship of the South Atlantic Force.

    Capt. H. Y. McCown, skipper of the Memphis, was on hand to greet FDR. Once lifted out of the plane and into the motorized whaleboat, FDR chose to take part in a reconnaissance of the port of Bathurst in lieu of an automobile tour of the city. FDR and Capt. McCown were joined in the whaleboat by Harry L. Hopkins, closest advisor on foreign policy, and Capt. John L. McCrea, his naval aide.

    This would be Roosevelt's first visit to Africa and he intended to make the most of it. Bathurst was not pretty. An old city founded in 1816, it had been neglected during the depression and war. Roosevelt found it squalid, poor, and dismal. What he saw in Gambia fired him with a fervor that helped found the United Nations. Roosevelt said that such an organization would bring education, raise the standards of living, and improve the health conditions of all the backward, depressed colonial areas of the world.

    This flag would be a great enhancement to a WWII Naval War, cruiser, War in the Atlantic or early history of the United Nations collection.

    Condition: The flag is used, worn, soiled and faded. There is wear in the lower fly corner and numerous small holes in the canton, but this flag is otherwise intact with no serious losses.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 392

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