chapter  3
26 Pages

Munitions, Compulsion, and the Fall of Serbia

IN 1915, Lloyd George’s daily life had not been much altered by the great war. To be sure, like many of his countrymen, he glanced nervously at the sky. In January, Berlin had first sent her rigid airship, the Zeppelin, against Britain, bombing Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast. In the months to come, these huge and menacing gas bags struck terror in the hearts of many civilians. When these sky raiders appeared, workers fled factories and railways were thrown into confusion. Lloyd George shared his countrymen’s concern about the Zeppelin, spending many nights away from 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the chancellor of the exchequer. He commuted to a modest house at Walton Heath, which had been given him by his friend and confidant, Lord Riddell. A frequent passenger in his car was his dog, Zulu. Once his pet had been stunned by a passing car; but much to Lloyd George’s relief and amusement, Zulu had first been revived and then befuddled by a dose of brandy. Lloyd George’s commuting was the occasion for one of his favorite stories. Returning to Walton Heath after dinner in London, his car broke down and his chauffeur got out to make repairs. Without the chauffeur’s knowledge, Lloyd George also left the car. To the Welshman’s dismay, the chauffeur made the necessary repairs and then drove away without noticing that his passenger was missing. Lloyd George-or so he alleged-then made his way in the dark to a great house which turned out to be an asylum. Attired in an evening cape and opera hat, he explained his predicament to a man who answered his knock at the door and then identified himself as the chancellor of the exchequer. The man’s response was: “Certainly. Do come in. The rest of the cabinet have been expecting you.”