President Eisenhower in Carrick
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Photo Gen. Eisenhower, his wife Mamie, son John on their first post-war visit to Culzean. The 5th Marquess of Ailsa, who gave Culzean to the Trust , on the far left and the Earl of Wemyss & March, later NTS president, is 3rd on right. The Dowager Marchioness of Ailsa and the Marchioness of Ailsa on far right respectively. October 1946 by courtesy of "The Bulletin”

 The Eisenhowers at Prestwick 1962

St Andrews 1946 Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth
at Balmoral Castle 1959
Norma Rodger talking to the
President outside Kirkoswald Church
Visit by Eisenhower

A 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 Culzean Castle.

Former President Eisenhower began his Scottish golfing holiday in 1962 with a round at the championship course at Turnberry in Ayrshire

Ike and son at Culzean Castle 1959 Susan Eisenhower 2005 Eisenhower's Jeep restored

June 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 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 Ayrshire

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.

Eisenhower 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 possible shoot.

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.

President 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 forever.

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,, or  01655 882644