Something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done.
In 1937 Dum was fifty-eight years old, a Master Mariner and Hooghly Pilot turned publican with very little capital, no prospect of employment or a pension and the world about to be embroiled in another war. Not an auspicious moment for a career change, but needs must where the devil drives. He had played a minor part as a Special Constable in the downfall of Kaiser Wilhelm, father of his fabled benefactor and bestower of mythical Iron Crosses, and even been supplied with a weapon which now resides under my bed. In due course he was personally thanked by someone from Downing Street wielding a rubber stamp on behalf of Messrs. Stanley Baldwin and W. Joynson-Hicks. We desire on behalf of His Majesty's Government to thank you in common with all others who came forward so readily during the crisis and gave their services to the Country in the capacity of Special Constables. This is addressed to Arthur David Linklater, Metropolitan Special Constabulary Reserve. Not quite an Iron Cross, but better than nothing, and clearly merited careful preservation. Dum's part in WWII was less conspicuously glorious, but not for want of trying.
In 1937, as well as taking a tenancy on the New Inn, Maidenhead on October 28th, at some stage Dum also occupied himself getting his Journal into readable condition, possibly with a view to publication or somehow using it to raise money. He wrote the incomplete ‘Preface’ in 1937 the whole of which you can read here. As for the New Inn, I think the clue to his property dealings is contained here;
When I came here [to Windsor in 1929] I did not sell my business in Hampstead, and Dhunjibhoy did not like me having interests in two places, and frequently suggested that it would be better to get finished with the other business, but I pointed out it was running very well under management and giving me no trouble.
He seems to have bought property with a view either to improving it and selling it at a profit or running it as a business under management with ‘profits’ accruing to himself. Certainly the New Inn was not in his possession very long. Here is a summary of his property dealings as noted in his ‘Annual’.
|13 January||Started shifting things to New Inn|
|14 January||Took up residence at New Inn. Laid mattress on office floor this night and slept there|
|24 January||Opened New Inn|
|17 October||Left New Inn|
|1 December||Took possession of 26 Chepstow Villas and moved in.|
|13 December||Took possession of 73 Inverness Terrace|
|13 June||Sold 73 Inverness Terrace|
|Christmas||At 26 Chepstow Villas. Fog. Freezing and damp. Blackout 3.45 P.M. Nelson on duty at Chatham. Just W.P. and self together during day & evening. Financial position worse than ever. Letting rooms at 26 at 15/-|
A rather mysterious letter unsupported by other correspondence and simply from “ADMIRALTY S.W.1.” and dated 21 Oct 1938 reads: Sir, I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to express to you their thanks for your offer of service in the recent emergency. I am not sure what “emergency” this might have been, but 1938 was the year of Czechoslovakia, so maybe their Lordships were referring to a recruiting drive, in about September 1938 to ‘Bring the Navy Up to Strength’, as mentioned by Duff Cooper in his diaries. He was First Lord of the Admiralty at the time.