Friday, June 25, 2010

Travels with FDR & Becoming President

FDR and Fala were rarely seen apart and they often traveled together. One of Fala’s first notable trips with the president was in 1941 aboard the Prince of Wales when Roosevelt and England’s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, which brought the country closer to being involved in World War II. Shortly after his trip, Fala was named president of the Barkers for Britain, a sub-group of the Bundles for Britain organization.

Bundles for Britain collected clothing, blankets, money, and other donations to aid the British people after the aerial bombing by Nazi Germany and the U-boat attacks on shipping ports, which caused a large shortage of supplies.
Barkers was a way for dog owners to support the aid mission and sold memberships. Dog members were given an official Bundles for Britain dog tag which they could proudly wear on their collar.
Local Barkers chapters were created all over the country and more than 30,000 memberships were issued in about seven months at 50 cents a piece. Nearly 1,000 dogs in Australia also became
members. Fala was issued tag number one and signed membership certificates with his paw print. The president of Bundles for Britain, Mrs. Wales Latham wrote Fala thanking him for the efforts. “The first dog of the United States and a great leader of all loyal American canines, his voice in loud barks for the courageous people of Great Britian,” she wrote.

Fala also accompanied the president on many defense plant inspection trips and in 1943 he visited Mexico’s President Avila Camacho. The next year, Fala traveled to the first Quebec Conference in August of 1944. While he was at the conference, he wasn’t able to ride with the president but rode with the Secret Service in an open car following Roosevelt, Churchill, and Canada’s Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. The next year, Roosevelt and Fala went to the second Quebec Conference where Roosevelt and Churchill discussed the impending failure of Germany, and later traveled to Honolulu.

More information on Fala and the Barkers for Britain can be found on the National Archives website.

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