On the late afternoon of 7 February 1910, four men in long robes, accompanied by two in western dress, were greeted at Weymouth station by Captain Herbert Richmond and an honour guard. They were taken by Admiral’s Barge to HMS Dreadnought, the flagship of the Home Fleet, and the symbol of British naval might. Here they were shown around the ship by the Commander in Chief of the Home Fleet, Admiral Sir William May.
This burst of activity had been initiated by a telegram received by May less than an hour earlier. It reported that Prince Makalen of Abyssinia – with his suite and an interpreter − was arriving at Weymouth by the 16.20 train and requested that they be shown around Dreadnought. It was signed ‘Harding Foreign Office’. In the confusion it was discovered that ‘the Bandmaster didn’t know the anthem of Abyssinia so we played “The Dover Castle March” which had a fairly regal sound’. (FO 800/110/91) Continue reading »