Advice to American troops in the UK – 1942

With D-Day in mind, am reading through this WWII guide to U.S. troops in England. Buried in the Embassy’s archives, it’s a wonderful record of our shared history. I’ve picked out some of the best quotes for you to read.

“You are going to Great Britain as part of an Allied offensive—to meet Hitler and beat him on his own ground.”

“There is no time today to fight old wars over again or bring up old grievances.”

“Don’t be a show-off”

“You will find many things in Britain physically different from similar things in America.  But there are also important similarities – our common speech, our common law and our ideals of religious freedom.”

“Don’t be misled by the British tendency to be soft-spoken and polite.  If they need to be, they can be plenty tough.”

“At first you will probably not like the almost continual rains and mists.”

“The British care little about size, not having the “biggest” of many things as we do.”

“Coventry (sometimes called “the Detroit of Britain)”

“Although you’ll read in the papers about “lords” and “sirs”, England is still one of the great democracies & the cradle of many American liberties.”

“They’re not given to back-slapping & they are shy about showing their affections. But once they like you they make the best friends.”

“Cricket will strike you as slow compared with American baseball, but it isn’t easy to play well.”

“The English do not handle the ball as cleanly as we do, but they are far more expert with their feet.”

“The British are beer drinkers—and can hold it.The beer is now below peacetime strength, but can still make a man’s tongue wag at both ends.”

“The Briton is just as outspoken and independent as we are.  But don’t get him wrong.  He is also the most law abiding citizen in the world.”

“The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea.  It’s an even swap.”

“Let this be your slogan: It is always impolite to criticize your hosts.  It is militarily stupid to insult your allies.”

“At first you may not understand what they are talking about and they may not understand what you say.”

“In England the “upper crust” speak pretty much alike.  You will have more difficulty with some of the local dialects.”