few weeks ago, we carried an article
(see below) on President Eisenhower’s
connections to Carrick and invited readers to send in any photos
of his time here. One of the photos received shows a young Norma
Rodger talking to the President outside Kirkoswald Church. The
Minister is Mr Irvine, and the tall girl with the black hat is
his daughter. Does anyone know who else is in the photo? Also,
there is a photograph (shown at right) of Dwight Eisenhower with
former Provost of Maybole Mrs. Sarah Dunn. The young girl is
Jackie Dunabie (now Mrs Wilson) who contributed this photo to
In addition, more information and
photos have been provided by Norry Welch ( see article below)
who is an American, recently moved to England, who has just
received an MS degree in Sustainable Heritage from University
College, London. Norry is interested in Eisenhower's life in
Scotland and writing a series of articles to help get as much
oral history and photographs on Ike's time here. She is also
keen on finding photographs of his jeep and James Gault.
Norry is working closely with the
Eisenhower Library in the USA to get and give information to
them as we get it. She told us “Not only was Ayrshire in love
with Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he was in love with Ayrshire.”
One thing Maybole is keen to trace is the scroll conferring the
Freedom of the Burgh of Maybole on General Eisenhower in October
1946. The original or a copy once hung on an internal wall at
6 this year marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings by
Allied Forces during the World War II.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was President of the United States of
America from 1955-1961, was one of the most important generals
of World War II, and was responsible for the strategic planning
for the allied assault on the coast of Normandy, the run up to
D-Day. Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of
Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of
German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied
forces. The operation began on June 6, 1944 with the Normandy
landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day).
Eisenhower’s first trip to Great Britain was in 1942 when he was
appointed Commanding General, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA)
based in Mayfair, London. The location acquired the nickname
‘Eisenhowerplatz . Eisenhower's position was to direct
operations to invade and defend both land and sea areas north of
Italy and the Mediterranean coast.
When he arrived on June 24, 1942 he flew into Prestwick,
Scotland airport first, then on to Northolt airfield in West
London to resume his post. On January 15, 1944 Eisenhower
returned and again arrived into Prestwick Airport to be met by
his new military aide Lt. Col. James Gault, a member of the
Scots Guards. Gault arranged a private railway car to London.
Eisenhower faced a daunting task of assembling the largest task
force for an amphibious invasion. There was no room for error.
By the end of 1944 Eisenhower was in charge and in command of
three top Generals and their men, General Montgomery, General
Bradley and General Dever. After the war ended, Eisenhower, then
Allied Supreme Commander, returned to Scotland on October 3,
1946. He was gifted an apartment at Culzean Castle for life,
along with a Willy’s Jeep by the National Trust for Scotland as
a gesture of gratitude for his war efforts commanding Scottish
troops into battle in Europe.
Eisenhower had a love and affinity for Scotland and was deeply
honoured by such generosity. He always considered Culzean his
second home and later, when he was President, his second “White
House”. On October 5, 1946, the Freedom of the Burgh was
conferred on him by the townspeople. Eisenhower is quoted saying
he would always consider himself a true Minnieboler, if not by
birth, at least by adoption.
The jeep presented to Eisenhower was purchased specifically for
Eisenhower during his stays at the castle. A bronze plaque was
mounted and a special plate was made: ‘ESF 43’, Eisenhower’s
Special Forces’. His jeep has now been carefully taken apart,
piece-by-piece, and sympathetically restored and is an icon of
World War II. Willy’s Jeeps were manufactured from 1941-1945 for
World War II as a light cross-country reconnaissance vehicle
including the army’ specifications for four wheel drive,
fold-down windshield, handles to pull it out of the mud and many
more unique, well-thought out details. To Eisenhower the
presentation of the iconic jeep by the National Trust for
Scotland was an important tribute to him and the jeep itself.
The jeep is not only a symbol of the triumph, but an integral
part of the success of winning the war.
He once said, "The Jeep, the Dakota airplane, and the landing
craft were the three tools that won the war." Before becoming
President, as President and afterwards he would come to Culzean
Castle to entertain and holiday with his family and friends. He
would regularly get into his jeep and drive into Maybole.
On September18, 2005 Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of the
president, came to Culzean Castle to celebrate 60 years as an
NTS property and the 60th anniversary of the end of World War
II. She is pictured in her grandfather’s jeep. Many local people
can add to the stories known from Eisenhower’s days in Scotland
and his stays at Culzean Castle and jaunts to Maybole.
There are already a few on the Maybole web site www.maybole.org
but if you have any photographs of the great man at the castle
or with the jeep, the web masters would be interested to see
them, as well as hear the stories passed on through the
generations. We will be running another article in a few months’
time, incorporating your photographs and stories gathered from
friends and family. The web masters appreciate any efforts to
help commemorate D-day and add more colour to Maybole’s heritage
by conserving and honouring this time in history.
Please send you information and enquiries to our local
correspondent David Kiltie at
or contact him on 01655 882644.
Ike in Scotland, Maybole Heritage -
Norry Welch - Wartime Leader Eisenhower and his love affair with
Not only was Ayrshire in love with
Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he was in love with Ayrshire. In 1946, Ike
was quoted as saying he considered himself a “Minnieboler” after
being given the keys to his own jeep and apartment in Culzean Castle
for his use and being honoured with the Freedom of the Burgh of
Maybole for his part in helping bring the war to an end. Eisenhower,
nicknamed “Ike”, came to Scotland a few times during the war and
returned several times after he was honoured by the National Trust
for Scotland with his jeep and apartment in Culzean Castle.
In June 1942, Eisenhower was given his
first post in London, where he assumed command of all American
forces in Britain and soon became Supreme Commander of Allied
Forces. He would fly into Prestwick Airport and then on to London
for meetings, living in Claridges, London then onto the Dorchester,
both of which were extremely uncomfortable for him. Eisenhower was a
man of humble beginnings, uncomfortable with pretence.
Eisenhower was able to procure Telegraph Cottage, West of London,
where he would escape the city for a rare rest bite. There, he
acquired a Scottish Terrier, Telek, who returned to the states with
Eisenhower after the war. To be an American in England at this time
was far from popular. At first, he was not liked by many. Soon
however, his enigmatic personality won people over. Eisenhower was
an unknown Lieutenant Colonel until 1941. He soon became known for
his leadership, diplomacy and strategic skills, leaving in 1945 a
well known five starred General of the Army, comparable to the rank
of Field Marshal in the UK.
once again flew into Prestwick Airport in 15 January 1944 after a
short visit back to his family in America. His British military
aide, Lt. Col. James Gault, (photo at left) was there to escort him
to his private train off to London to get down to business at hand,
the planning of Operation Overlord. A few months later he and
Winston Churchill met at Knockinaam Lodge, Scotland for a secret
meeting to discuss the plans for Operation Overlord. On 13 March,
leading up to D-Day, Eisenhower visited Scotland, with his chief of
staff (Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith) to fly fish, a mini holiday,
and inspect troops in order to boost morale and double check the
staged, carefully orchestrated plans.
1-10 Oct 1946, Eisenhower’s most
celebrated visit, Ike flew into Prestwick Airport, was presented an
apartment at Culzean Castle, and his own Willy’s Jeep by the
National Trust for Scotland. On 5 October 1946 Maybole honoured Ike
with the Freedom of the Burgh in their small town. It was not until
21-27th October 1951, five years later, Ike was able to return to
Culzean Castle. We have yet to know much of this visit, nor do we
have any photos, but the trip is believed to be one for a bit of
rest and relaxation before the American presidential elections.
Relaxing for Ike would consist of driving around in his jeep,
playing golf, fly-fishing, a commensurate amount of bridge, and a
After Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected
president, he visited England in December 1953 and again in March
1957 for the Bermuda conference with Churchill and a meeting with
Prime Minister McMillan respectively. He was unable to take time out
to visit Maybole, his Scottish hometown. President Eisenhower’s
first visit as president was 4-7 September 1959 for a short holiday
with his family. There are photographs of his arrival as well as
pictures of him and his son at Culzean Castle. Of course there is
the mandatory golf shot with his aide de camp, Lt. Colonel James
Gault, with whom he formed a warm and intimate friendship.
Eisenhower also travelled to Balmoral Castle to visit Queen
Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh. Eisenhower had been a friend to
the Queen’s father, King George VI. Eisenhower served as president
of the United States from 1953-1961. Former president Dwight D.
Eisenhower’s last and final visit to his Scottish White House,
Culzean Castle, came three years after, 16-21 August 1962. He spent
a quiet visit with his family playing golf with his friends before
returning to the American White House.
Dwight D. Eisenhower came, one last
time, to London on 30th January 1965, for Operation Hopenot, Sir
Winston Churchill’s funeral. He gave a heart warming personal
tribute to a man he worked closely with both during and after the
war. Not much is known of many of these visits, nor of James F.
Gault who played a very important role for Eisenhower in the UK.
Many of you may remember, or have family stories known from
Eisenhower’s days in Scotland and his stays at Culzean Castle and
jaunts to Maybole.
We would be very interested to hear
your stories and share any photographs you have of Eisenhower and
his old war horse, the iconic World War II Jeep from Culzean Castle,
the Scottish ‘White House’, golfing or fly fishing shots, his friend
James Gault, what have you. Please help us help Maybole save its
heritage for future generations by recording it before it is lost
Watch for Part III on Ike and the
Memorial Men. We look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free
to send an email to me,