When this historically important flybox came up for sale recently, I just could not resist buying it.
The box takes us back to September 1938, when everyone’s eyes were on the German city of Münich. There, the host nation’s Führer, Italy’s leader Benito Mussolini, French prime Minister Edouard Daladier og British prime minister (Arthur) Neville Chamberlain met, in order to avoid another great war. After days of what have must been intense negotiations, they finally reached an agreement – today known as the Münich Agreement.
“Today, London celebrates peace. War is forgotten. People were smiling with relief, as the reports from Münich came with breakfast this morning”, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten wrote, as Chamberlain himself returned triumphantly to Britain and promised “peace for our time”. But, as we all know, Hitler played his own game and a year later, the world was thrown into yet another devastating war.
On his return to Britain in 1938, however, Chamberlain was applauded and celebrated. He was presented with gifts for his diplomatic success, among these was a fly rod and reel from Hardy. Chamberlain was also given this wonderful Neroda fly box. It has a gold plaque engraved “A.N.C. from G.P. & J.G.D. in deep gratitude Sept. 14th – 30th 1938”, and when I bought it, it contained a nice selection of salmon flies.
Included in the lot were also two superb and unused Blue Charms in a folded slip with the prime ministerial arms. I wonder, as Chamberlain in the early 1930s fished together with A.H.E. Wood at Cairnton on the Scottish River Dee, if these Blue Charms originated from Wood himself? Also included, were 17 gilt brass hook brackets and one brass picture hook, used by the Prime Minister to hang his fishing rods in the hall of 10 Downing Street.
Another question which I hope someone can help me answer, is who the two gents “G.P.” and “J.G.D” were? Members of his Government? Conservative politicians? Fishing companions? I will certainly try to find out, and if anyone has any clues, they are most welcome!