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To Field Marshal Sir John Dill
July 12, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Thank you very much for your two notes of appreciation for the arrangements at White Sulphur; one written before your departure and the other which came to me today.1 I am glad that you found Powder helpful and not an irritant. I can always be certain that he will start work with a determination to do his job to the full, but sometimes, particularly in your case, it might not be so good.
We tried to get Nancy yesterday for canoeing but got no answer on the telephone. Katherine is leaving for Leesburg today. It is very hot here, and dry—a real drought.
I hope that the doctors don’t bother you too much with further examinations. I asked them to lay off as much as possible on this sort of business and hope that the records from the Walter Reed as well as those from your personal physicians will suffice. However, if you will treat the X-Ray artist merely as you do the press photographer it won’t be so bad. I don’t know of a more peaceful spot for reestablishing yourself than the White during the summer months, and I am sure that when Nancy joins you you will find it a much more pleasant place. Incidentally, she should be able to get in some good riding and golf, and certainly walking, down there.
With my affectionate regards,2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. On July 8, immediately before departing Washington for White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Dill had written to tell Marshall “how immensely I appreciate your kindness in letting me go there.” Lady Dill would join him there at one of the cottages in a few days. On the tenth Dill wrote to express his appreciation that Marshall had sent Sergeant James W. Powder, Marshall’s orderly, to assist him when he arrived at the cottage. “It really was kindness itself to send Sergeant Powder here to look after my comfort,” stated Dill. “I need not tell you how well he has done his job—what a charming person he is!” Dill was being moved to the hospital that evening for a blood transfusion and X rays. “I shall count the hours until I can get back to this lovely cottage,” Dill wrote. (Dill to Marshall, July 8 and 10, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. On July 15 Colonel Clyde McK. Beck, commanding officer at Ashford General Hospital, informed Colonel Frank McCarthy that Dill had sustained a mild heart attack a few nights before. The medical officers were disturbed that Dill’s severe anemia, diagnosed the first of June, was persisting in spite of blood transfusions and other measures. Beck, however, wrote that Dill was “definitely improved in strength and general sense of well-being.” (Beck to McCarthy, July 15, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Dill’s cousin and physician, Dr. Foster Kennedy (a leading neurologist) and his colleagues had diagnosed the field marshal as having aplastic anemia and suspected that he would not recover; however, they did not reveal the full implications of this diagnosis until after Dill’s collapse on October 30. (Alex Danchev, Very Special Relationship: Field-Marshal Sir John Dill and the Anglo-American Alliance, 1941-44 [London: Brassey’s Defence Publishers, 1986], pp. 142-43.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 518-519.