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Steve Greene '37 Describes Trip in War-Torn Britain


Just back from England after five months as a London correspondent for the Herald Tribune, Steve Greene '37 yesterday told of the vast shift in sentiment toward the United States. "West enders used to hiss every American that came on the screen back in September when the Blitz first began," he stated.

Now, however, every Britisher believes that America is fully behind the Empire war machine. One explanation for this, Greene said, was that the London papers always print only the most optimistic news from across the sea. Statements by Hull and Knex are given feature headlines, while the opinions of such isolationists as Wheeler and Lindbergh are not mentioned. Greene said that when he arrived here he was surprised at the true split in attitude.

America Not So Tough

America would not be able to stand up and take the terrific beating that the English are receiving from Nazi bombers, Greene thinks. He found a certain "moral strength" in wartime England that is never seen during peace.

Greene's room in the Savoy hotel made an excellent observation tower during the period of the daylight raids. Looking toward the Thames one day, he saw a number of black streaks shoot from the bellies of a flight of German bombers. They struck close together near the terminus of a bridge, and the whole region "lifted up into an enormous cone that showered debris for blocks around."

Several days later Greene was riding back to his hotel in one of the rare London hacks when a bomb landed about a mile ahead. A few seconds later another bomb exploded about half that distance away, which meant that the next one would strike just about where he was. The cabbie dashed panic-stricken into a nearby tavern and Greene threw himself on the floor of the back. The bomb lit only 100 yards away and its concussion knocked the correspondent against the side of the cab shaken but unhurt.

Studied Home Guard

Greene spent several days studying the Asterlee Park School, where many Home Guardsmen, England's guerilla warriors, are trained. It is run by Captain Tom Winthringham, who led the British Brigade in the Spanish war and was barely admitted back into England because of suspicions that he was a Red. Since then he has become a popular hero for his work with the Home Guard.

Guardsmen are trained in the theory of hand-to-hand defense, how to use smoke bombs and hand grenades, and how to sabotage behind the enemy's lines. One cute little trick to decapitate an enemy was learned by Greene while he was visiting Asterloo, Cheese cutters in England are sharp wires with handles at each end. The Guardsman holds both handles in his right hand, slips the wire loop over a German's head from behind, holds his left hand against the enemy's head, and pulls. The wire passes through a man's neck with the same fluid case as through cheese.

Although he saw plenty of it, Greene does not belive there has been as much damage to the tough little island as Americans believe. "If the British was machine has been slowed at all, it has been slowed very little." Correspondents are allowed to inspect almost everything, and Greene found little damage to industry in his various trips to "Coventrized" towns

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