Kay Summersby (1908–20 January 1975) was a member of the British Mechanised Transport Corps during World War II, who served as chauffeur to Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force Dwight D. Eisenhower, later as his secretary and, it is alleged, his mistress.Biography
Summersby was born Kathleen Helen MacCarthy-Morrogh in Ballydehob, County Cork, Ireland. She was the daughter of Andrew F. and Vera MacCarthy-Morrogh; her father was originally from County Kerry, and her mother was born in Wales. She described her father, a retired Lt. Colonel of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, as black Irish and her mother as English. As a young woman, she moved to London where she worked as a film studio extra, dabbled in photography, and eventually became a fashion model. She was married and divorced, retaining the name of her ex-husband.
When Britain entered the Second World War in 1939, Summersby joined the British Mechanised Transport Corps (MTC). She drove an ambulance throughout the London Blitz in 1940 and 1941. When the United States joined the Allies after the German declaration of war in December 1941, Summersby was one of many MTC drivers assigned as chauffeurs to high ranking American military officers. She was assigned to drive Major General Dwight Eisenhower when he arrived in London in May, 1942. Though there was a brief interruption of several weeks due to Eisenhower's short return to the US, Summersby drove the general and later became his secretary until November, 1945. During this time Eisenhower rose in rank to a five-star General of the Army and Commander of the European Theatre, and Kay, with his help, became a US citizen and a commissioned officer in the US Women's Army Corps (WACs), ultimately leaving the service as a captain in 1947. Captain Summersby's military awards included the Legion of Merit, Women's Army Corps Service Medal, European Campaign Medal, World War Two Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal with "Germany" clasp.
Summersby married the Wall Street stockbroker Reginald H. Morgan in 1952. She died at her home in Southampton, Long Island, of cancer, on 20 January 1975.Relationship with Eisenhower
Summersby is rumoured to have had a romance with Eisenhower during the 1942-1945 period. Eisenhower Was My Boss, her 1948 memoir of the war years, made no mention of an affair. Her 1975 autobiography, Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower, was explicit about the romance. This was written after Eisenhower had died in 1969 and was presented as a sort of deathbed statement from Summersby to set the record straight. Within, she stated the omission of the affair the 1948 book was due to her concern for Eisenhower's privacy. Past Forgetting was ghostwritten by Barbara Wyden while Summersby was dying of cancer. Those who dispute the claim of an affair maintain that the second book's description of the relationship (which by the book's account consisted, sexually, of two unsuccessful attempts to have intercourse) was simply fabricated, presumably by the ghostwriter. Historian Carlo D'Este notes that members of Eisenhower's staff denied that there was ever an affair between them, and dismisses Summersby's book as "fanciful".
Summersby began the war as a British subject and the equivalent of a private in the British forces and ended the war as a US citizen and a captain in the US Army WACs, which came about through the direct efforts of General Eisenhower. It is generally agreed that Kay and Ike were extremely close, were seen together in many press photographs during the war (as shown in the two books and other literature) and (as evidenced by letters between the two), Summersby was not well liked by Eisenhower's wife (who was alive when the second book was published). Summersby was married and divorced prior to meeting Ike and married Morgan some time after her discharge from the army. There was an engagement to marry US Army officer Lieutenant Colonel Richard "Dick" Arnold, that overlapped her initial period with Eisenhower; however, this was ended by the death of her fiancé during the North Africa campaign.
President Harry S. Truman reportedly told author Merle Miller that in 1945, Eisenhower asked permission from General George Marshall to divorce his wife to marry Summersby, but permission was refused. Truman also allegedly said he had the correspondence between Marshall and Eisenhower retrieved from the Army archives and destroyed. But this aspect of the Summersby controversy has been widely disputed. Some historians say Truman had a mistaken recollection, and emphasize that Eisenhower had asked permission to bring his wife to England. Others have speculated that Truman lied about Eisenhower because of animosity between the two men that intensified during the Eisenhower presidency (Truman stated that Eisenhower did not invite him back to the White House during his administration). Historian Robert H. Ferrell has alleged that Miller fabricated some of the quotes in his interviews with Truman, which were published after Truman's death.[1Trackback: 0 - Scrivi Commento - Commenti: 0Condividi e segnala - permalink - Segnala abuso