Crowd at Le Bourget airport greeting arrival of American aviator Charles Lindbergh after his touchdown to historic solo transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 21st, 1927. (Time/Life)
Crowd atop building at Le Bourget airport awaiting arrival of American aviator Charles Lindbergh for the touchdown of his solo transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 21st, 1927. (Time/Life)
(Left to right) American aviator Charles Lindbergh, British aviator Sir Alan Cobham and American Ambassador Myron T. Herrick, at window of the French Aero Club where Lindbergh received its gold medal for his transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 1927. (Time/Life)
Frenchmen standing guard beside American aviator Charles Lindbergh's plane "Spirit of St. Louis" to protect it from souvenir hunters in wake of historic solo transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 22nd, 1927. (Time/Life)
American aviator Charles Lindbergh's plane "Spirit of St. Louis" in a hanger at La Bourget airport to protect it from souvenir hunters in wake of historic solo transatlantic flight. (Note: Holes along side of plane were made by souvenir hunters.) Paris, France. May 22nd, 1927. (Time/Life)
RELATED: An amusing anecdote regarding the American ambassador’s hero-worship, and the rather more down-to-earth King George V, from Leonard Mosley’s Lindbergh: A Biography.
His most perfervid admirer was Ambassador [Myron] Herrick, for whom Charles Lindbergh had become almost a winged god brought temporarily to earth.
“I am not a religious man,” he said, shortly after Lindbergh’s arrival, “but I believe there are certain things that happen in life that can only be described as interpretation of a Divine Act… Lindbergh brought you the spirit of America in a manner in which it could never be brought in a diplomatic sack.”
Not quite so extravagant was King George V of England, but he told his courtiers that Lindbergh was “quite a feller.” When the flier had been rescued from the hysterical crowds which greeted him at Croydon Airport on his arrival in Britain, he was taken to the American embassy and told that the King wanted to receive him in audience. The American envoy, Ambassador Alanson Houghton, happened to be on vacation and his place was taken by the chargé d’affaires who was, Lindbergh recalled later, “a boiled shirt who was rather in a state because I was in an ordinary business suit and had no frock coat” in which to be received by the King.
In the car on the way to Buckingham Palace, the chargé kept nervously instructing Lindbergh in court protocol, how and when he was to bow, and above all else when he was to walk backward.
“He got me kind o’ scared by the time we arrived,” Lindbergh said later. “And there at the door was a lord who said that the King wanted to see me alone. So I was taken into his room and I remembered to bow and we sat down.”
The young flier and the aging King-Emperor sat facing each other for an awkward moment, and then the monarch leaned forward.
“Now tell me, Captain Lindbergh,” he said. “There is one thing I long to know. How did you pee?”
It was a question which, Lindbergh said later, “sort of put me at my ease.”
“Well, you see, sir,” he said, “I had a sort of aluminum container. I dropped the thing when I was over France. I was not going to be caught with the thing on me at Le Bourget.”
— Mosley, Leonard. Lindbergh: A Biography. New York: Doubleday, 1976.