20th August, 1923
In the name of the Government and people but particularly on behalf of the Ex-Service Men of Newfoundland, I tender an invitation to Your Lordship and Lady Haig to unveil the Newfoundland National War Memorial on July 1st, 1924. His Majesty’s Representative Sir William Lamond Allardyce has expressed to me the hope that it may be his privilege to be your host at Government House during your visit.
May I be permitted to point out to Your Lordship the great benefits which will accrue from your visit, particularly with regard to our Ex-Service Men. Our Membership to-day is at most two thousand out of the fourteen thousand that were enlisted. I am sure that I will be able to raise this figure to three times that amount as a result of your visit. Unfortunately, our Ex-service Organization has not been the success that it might have been, owing to a chain of circumstances over which we had no control, but it is our object to re-organize and put it on a new footing; give the men new ideals, new bonds to draw them together, new pride in their achievements and a new outlook on the future. Nothing will help me to do this as much as your presence among us on this, to my mind, the biggest event in our History since Sir Humphrey Gilbert planted the first flag overseas, nearly four hundred years ago.
I know Your Lordship is a very busy man but I hope to make the suggested visit more of a holiday from your many duties rather than a wearisome ceremony.
I should be very pleased to make all the traveling arrangements you desire. If you would prefer a Warship to a passenger boat, I would have the Government ask the Navy to place a ship at your disposal as it is our intention to invite the North Atlantic Squadron to St. John’s for the ceremony. The journey itself takes seven days from Liverpool and, through the courtesy of the Cable Companies, Lady Haig, if she so wishes, will be kept in daily communication with home.
I know, Sir, that you yourself will look lightly on the honour of such a visit but from our point of view I may assure you that no greater privilege could be granted to our Ex-Service Men and to the whole population than such a visit. I hope that you will be able to see your way clear to accept and give us the opportunity to show you the place you have won in the heart of “Britain’s Eldest Daughter”.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Lt. – Col
Source: The Rooms, Provincial Archives, St. John's, NL