As early as 1930, it was Winston Churchill who was sounding the alarm over the potential danger posed by Adolf Hitler. Hitler would not take power until January 1933, but it was the future prime minister who warned of the potential for war. Few listened.
In December 1931, Churchill was in New York on a speaking tour when an accident befell him. He came to sunny, restorative Nassau in the Bahamas to convalesce.
It was Sunday, December 13, 1931. Mario Contasino, a truck driver and mechanic, was driving up New York’s Fifth Avenue when he struck and almost killed a man. It wasn’t entirely his fault, the man had stepped out in front his car. It was none other than Winston Churchill himself.
The Wall Street Crash had crippled the finances of millions upon millions of people, including Winston Churchill. At age fifty-seven Churchill had agreed to a brutal speaking schedule of a forty lecture tour of North America. He anticipated earning at least £10,000. He had also been offered £8000 by Esmond Harmsworth, proprietor of London’s Daily Mail, for a series of articles on “America’s situation, prospects and mood.”
He had only delivered his first lecture on Saturday December 12th, in Worcester, outside Boston when he returned to New York for dinner with a friend. On Sunday the 13th on Park Avenue at the Waldorf-Astoria, as he was attempting to cross the street while looking the venue for the dinner, when he failed to look right. He was struck by Contasino’s truck.
It was the accident that brought Churchill to the Bahamas.
Contasino Meets Churchill, 1931: “A World Aglare”
Prohibition wouldn’t end in the United States until 1933, but the now famous prescription for necessitous amounts of alcohol needed for Mr. Churchill, following the accident, remains an enduring piece of history.
The following is the article appearing in the Bahamas news on the historic visit of the Hon. Winston Churchill
Nassau, Bahamas The Daily Tribune, Wednesday January 6, 1932
OUR DISTINGUISHED ENGLISH GUEST
Last night members of the Legislature and the great privilege of entertaining at a banquet one of the world’s greatest men and certainly one of Englan’s greatest men, The Rt. Hon Winston Churchill, and it was also their greatest privilege to hear him speak.
Mr. Churchill’s visit is timely for he has come at a time when an effort is being made to arouse the public to a sense of their peacetime responsibilities to the Empire, especially at this time when British industry needs support. His precession here, his remarkable ability as a speaker, his strong personality must inevitably have a great influence in making this successful movement a still greater success. Over four hundred people are going to the Buy British meeting which will be held in the Carib Club tomorrow evening in the hope of seem him, of hearing him speak.
Mr. Churchill is an ill man. He has come to Nassau to recover his health and strength—a great compliment to Nassau which will greatly enhance its reputation as a tourist resort. Already he is feeling the benefit of our cure-all sunshine. It is for all of us to help him get well again. He should be kept quiet, should not exert himself. Be he made an effort to the at the banquet last night, made a spirited, inspiring speech, and if only it were possible for him to make just one more effort to get out while he is here it would be a great help to a movement which is Imperial in its scope.
Few people, if anyone, in the Bahamas knew that it was Mr. Churchill who secured the first appointment in the public service for His Excellency the Administrator, and that they have been close friends for years. The Bahamas have reason to be grateful to Mr. Churchill, therefore, for having stated on his career a man who was eventually designed to have a great influence on the life, especially the industrial life, of the Bahamas, fr as one of the speakers said last night, it is remarkable how he finds time to promote the industrial as well as the social welfare of the Colony in addition to discharging the onerous duties of his office.
The Daily Tribune, Wednesday January 6, 1932