ELEANOR LEA, St. Margaret’s

Arrival of American Troops in Liverpool, 1918.

For the last two or three months American troops have been pouring through Liverpool two or three days a week.

When a convoy comes in, the Stars and Stripes are flown on the Town Hall as a signal to everybody to fly their flags. The streets through which the troops march are hung with flags, and the people who sell in the shops rush to the doors and windows and wave flags or hand­kerchiefs, and cheer. Crowds collect on either side of the street, but most people stand and stare and do not attempt to cheer ; only a few cheer now and again. It seems as though those standing in the streets are too shy to cheer, whereas those standing at windows and doorways, where they are not conspicuous, cheer like mad. At first when the Americans started arriving, there was not a cheer, not a flag, not a note of welcome anywhere. Crowds col­lected and stared as though some new form of animal were walking along, and the men were obviously disappointed at their reception. I consider that we raised about the first cheer from their throats, as on the second day of troops arriving, I thought I must buy an American flag, so, just before lunch, I went to a flag shop and bought a flag for 2s. That was not a fabulous price for the cheer it raised, for during lunch we heard tramp, tramp, tramp, and I took our flag on the end of a broomstick on to the balcony, and such a cheer went up from about a thousand throats that I thought we should be deafened. The men were pleased, many saluted, others raised their hats, and all were smiling. Who would have thought that such a small piece of material could have done so much!

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