The Charlotte News

Sunday, May 5, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "Glory's Roll" finds Cash giving elegiac honor to heroes of the sea, especially those who fought to the death against the odds; he would so write again, and so movingly well as to earn a nomination for a Pulitzer for his editorial writing in 1940. (See, e. g., "Battle", July 8, 1940, "Sea Fight", November 14, 1940,--which the nomination specifically named, along with "other editorials"--, and "Twelve Men", May 15, 1941.)

A Team?

Ironpants Is Quoted by A Fellow Laborer

Last week in the Senate appeared a new team--potential, at least. One member was Robert Rice Reynolds, the distinguished statesman from North Carolina who is laboring these days to save the Republic from war with Nazi Germany. The other was our own columnist, General Old Ironpants Johnson, who is also out to save the Republic from the war with Nazi Germany--and perhaps incidentally to get in a few good pokes at the Roosevelt Administration.

To be sure, the General was not present in person but only by proxy in a column which Robert caused to be read and inserted in the Record in full. And to be sure, the team perhaps proved a little too much to begin with.

The column in question was one run in The News some time ago, in which General Ironpants voiced great alarm over the fact that the Russians were busily fortifying islands off Alaska with the aid of the Nazis, and called for the building of great Alaskan fortifications at once.

That seemed a little odd to us then, in view of the fact that the General had often demonstrated to his own satisfaction that it would be quite impossible for the Nazis ever to invade the North American Continent. It seemed even stranger to find Robert, who has many times voiced the opinion that the Nazis have absolutely no designs in this hemisphere, taking stock in the same argument.

Still, for a man who prophesied on the day before the Nazis invaded Norway that Norway would stay out of this war, it was perhaps not inexplicable.

However, this is mere carping. The thing that really matters is that Robert and Ironpants seem to see eye to eye, and so may well eventually get together permanently. If so, then the Republic will certainly be doubly safe--unless of course the Nazis should decide to come by Alaska.

Glory's Roll

Free Men Prove Again They Are Not Decadent

Two weeks of War in Norway have produced a sizeable crop of heroes.

At their head stands Captain Warburton Warburton-Lee, British commander who took his inferior destroyer squadron into the narrow, twisting Narvik Fjord under the deadly fire of the Nazi destroyer squadron. Wolfe, scaling the heights at Quebec was a man like that. Warburton-Lee lost his life and two of his ships but he opened the way for eventual British naval victory there and vengeance in the sinking of every Nazi ship in the fjord.

Warburton Warburton-Lee is a name out of a British book--one in the best Journey's End, Dandy Seventh,"Kiss Me, Hardy" British tradition. But the man who bore it offered no support to Adolf Hitler's theory that the British falsetto is proof of decadence.

Next on the list stands the British officer who, when crippled, crawled to the sinking Hardy's wheel and steered her by peering through a shellhole, and the unnamed gunner or gunners who kept her last remaining gun blazing until she piled up on the shore.

And beside these and all the crews of all the ships, the captain and the crew of the Olaf Trygvesson, minelayer named for an old Norse saga hero, who alone, and without orders, defended the honor of the Norwegian Navy against the German battle host in Oslo Fjord, sending two cruisers to the bottom before she was done in. A minelayer, if you don't know, is a mere glorified trawler--a David against the Goliath of each of the cruisers she took down. The ghost of Olaf Trygvesson, king in Norway and a man mighty with the spear, must have smiled at that.

And besides these, others. The unnamed British and French submarine commanders and crews who took their ships through the impossibly dangerous waters of the Kattegat to mine the Baltic. The three commandeered Norwegian bus drivers who, one after another, drove their vehicles, crowded with the exulting invaders, to destruction over a cliff. The two Norwegian airmen who stole a Nazi seaplane-bomber from two Nazi airmen as they caroused in honor of "victory." And so on.

Most of them, you see, are still unnamed in the annals and most of them will never be named there. Perhaps some of them are apocryphal. But altogether they serve to give the lie to the claim that free countries breed only weaklings and cowards.

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