The World War II Photo of the Week
for 4 November 2002
|Ike's Driver ...|
Kay Summersby, Gen. Dwight ("Ike") D. Eisenhower's personal secretary and driver, poses beside his car, complete with four-star flag, four-star vehicle plate, and license number USAA 1. This 1944 U.S. Army photo is captioned "Kay Summersby, an Irish girl from County Cork, is mighty proud of the company she keeps, for there is always one important Allied leader behind her when she takes the wheel. Attached to the American Forces as General Dwight Eisenhower's personal driver when he first came to England, she has been driving him ever since over roads in North Africa, Tunisia, Italy, and now England." During 1943-44, while stationed in England as Supreme Allied Commander, Ike lived alone, separate from his wife Mamie, who stayed in Washington, DC. It was during these war years that rumors circulated about his affair with Kay. Although Ike always denied the rumors in his numerous letters to Mamie, there is considerable evidence to support the likelihood of an affair. Truman wrote in his book, Plain Speaking (1973), that Ike had requested permission to divorce Mamie in 1943 in order to marry Kay. Mamie was so enraged with the book that she published the 339 war letters to her from Ike. Kay Summersby's tell-all memoirs (Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower), appeared soon after Truman's book and told of a love affair filled with kisses and warm intimacy. Mere observers of history, we will probably never know the truth of the matter.