ALEXANDER Field Marshal Harold - Autograph Note Signed to Dear Brother Knight
Field Marshal Harold ALEXANDER, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (1891-1969)Autograph Note Signed (“Alexander”) to “Dear Brother Knight” regarding a subscription.
1 page oblong small 4to, Hartfield, 30 January n.y. .
“Thank you so much for your letter of Jan 25th. I quite understand the reason you asked me for my subscription – I thought so at the time.”
The letter is stapled to a carbon copy of the letter which had prompted this response, from Greville J. Poke. In the letter, Poke apologizes to Alexander, saying that “Lunching with Brigadier Henry Smith the other day I learned from him that you are an Honorary Knight. I am afraid that when I wrote and asked you for your subscription I was not aware of this. It is a most unfortunate misunderstanding, and I do sincerely apologise for asking you for your cheque and Bankers order. If I may say so, it was more than a Knightly gesture of you to send me a cheque and not mention the fact of your being an Honorary Knight. I have today written to our Bank asking them to re-fund the sum of £7.7.0. to your Bank. . . “
A most unusual letter. The Knighthood in question turns out to be the Society of the Knights of the Round Table, founded in 1720 with the aim of perpetuating the ideals of King Arthur and his knights. It members were largely drawn from the literary, artistic and theatrical world, but, on the evidence of this letter, military figures were also welcome. Early members of the Society included David Garrick and Charles Dickens. Liked and respected by the men who served under him, it is easy to imagine Alexander as a member of this society.
Greville Poke, who had requested Alexander’s subscription, was prominent in the theatrical world, serving as Secretary and later Chairman of the English Stage Company; he was instrumental in the company’s move to the Royal Court in the 1950s. He was involved in the most tumultuous theatrical disputes of the day, at a time when the Lord Chamberlain could still exercise censorship over plays.
The letter is slightly crumpled and there are rusty paperclip marks at each of the top corners of the letter.
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