THIS PAGE WAS WRITTEN A LONG TIME AGO AS A MEDIA PIECE, AS MUCH AS ANYTHING, EXTOLLING THE VIRTUES AND PRO-BRITISH ATTITUDE OF LILLY. SINCE THAT TIME, I HAVE RECEIVED THE FIRST REACTION TO THE PAGE FROM A FRIEND - David MORRIS ex RN Warrant Officer - and because of his kind contact and contribution, I have decided to revisit the page to amend it to "navalise" it. That re-vamp can be found below after you have read the original story.

Many of you reading this page will remember the British Lion stamped onto each and every egg laid by our millions of hens, providing that the egg passed the light see-through test, declaring the egg healthy and fit to eat at the point of sale.  Eggs so marked were controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fish and were therefore sold in shops - no super markets in those days.  In a perverse way, eggs without that "safe to consume" stamp were in fact usually of better quality, because they had come direct from the farm or poultry-keeper and were therefore fresh. In those far off days, hens enjoyed open spaces and factory-farming was not even considered or attempted:  all eggs, lionised or not, were what today we call "free range eggs".  Eggs that were not sold on the market were made in egg powder before they went-off, and every housewife had a tin of the stuff handy in the larder.

At this point, you may be wondering as to why, on a naval website, I am waffling on about eggs?  Whilst Britain had a severe shortage of food [and everything else for that matter] during WW2 including eggs, some nations had an abundance of food [and everything else for that matter] and could afford to throw eggs at buildings.  This was the case in the USA, when eggs were thrown by some Americans to show their disapproval of the British per se, but also of Royal Navy sailors who found themselves on American soil.

During world war 2 [{that is our war of course viz 1939 to 1945 not forgetting the latter part of 1938 and most of 1939 which was called the 'phoney war'} and not the American WW2 which was post Pearl Harbour (December 1941) to 1945] many British warships were repaired in east coast American dockyards/ports.  When large ships, the carrier Illustrious for example, were being repaired the numbers of Royal sailors to be accommodated ashore grew into the thousands, and at one stage in New Jersey [ships being repaired there and across the way in Brooklyn New York] a hotel called the Asbury Park was taken over as a virtual barracks.  This hotel become known  in the R.N., as the stone-wall frigate HMS Asbury

At that time, America had established a "British War Relief Society" where a generous nation [Government and people] sent life-saving materials including food to the UK, a gesture of friendship which to my thinking at least, was then and still is today what other European countries envy and what we should treasure as incomparable.  Anyway, the Princeton Branch of the British War Relief Society just down the coast from New Jersey, was set-up and thereafter managed by a young and beautiful lady called Lily Lambert Fleming [but is referred to and best remembered under her second married surname of McCarthy}, who guess what [?] just happened to be a millionairess -- I never met one myself, but I have heard of thousands of other ordinary sailors who have "pulled" similar ladies !  Lily, a married lady [1934] set-up her office at the very outbreak of war in 1939 and in 1940, just as things were getting busy, she was divorced. She dedicated herself to the 'Society' throughout the full war years [1939-1945] and in 1944 she re-married John McCarthy.   On the windows of her Princeton office she proudly stuck the British lion, and this provoked the throwing of eggs and the receipt of poisonous pen letters from a tiny minority of otherwise  pro-British Americans. 

Lily, despite her status as the daughter of a billionaire, her education and social persona, set about being the Admiral, the Captain, 1st Lt, and the Buffer of HMS Asbury [and its extensions] organising the RN sailors into cleaning and maintenance parties in-situ; getting them work on the local farms; getting local organisations to supply Christmas presents for the sailors, and generally being a 'mother hen' to a phalanx of sailors, few of whom I would imagine, were not too displeased about being on American soil far from the German enemy and close to 'nice' things. She was much respected by fellow Americans as well as by all rank and file Britons but especially by jack, the humble Royal sailor, who, I hear tell, never found a better 1st Lieutenant.

Lily was also famously known for her collections and through the artefact she obtained, became a renown world authority on the life and times of Lord Nelson, her hero.  Her collection was enormous and the envy of the world, but of the British Nelson devotees in particular.  It is quite plain that Lily's love of Nelson and his heroic ways spread to a liking of the Royal Navy of her day, and she enjoyed the company of RN'ers.  John McCarthy became the US Ambassador to the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] in Paris, and there in her Paris house, she displayed many pieces of her collection of Nelson.  Evidently, her French dinner guests were well behaved and extremely diplomatic when viewing her mini-collection. 

Lily was appointed an honorary CBE for her war service to Britain, the award being made in the Admiralty Board Room, a place her hero Nelson was familiar with.  Later, she gave most of her collection which had remained in the USA [she had others in Britain] to the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth dockyard.  It was so vast that MOD[Navy] decided to send the aircraft carrier Ark Royal to the States to collect it, but Lily stated that Nelson would not have known what a carrier was, so instead, an 'empty' HMS Lowestoft, a frigate, sailed into New York harbour and came back loaded to the gunnels. Lowestoft had been the name of the frigate in which Nelson had served as a young Lieutenant and was diverted from Hong Kong especially to do the pick-up:  such was the respect given to Lily by the British. She also gave the rest of her collection in the USA to the Mariners Museum at Newport News, Virginia, and a wonderful collection of one thousand books to the Portsmouth Central Library [which I myself have seen during my researches].

Lily Lambert McCarthy was a much loved, admired, and respected lady whose generosity of time, of care, of money was manifest.  She had great beauty and charm and was said to have had "a hint of Katharine Hepburn at her most languidly imperious".  Lily died in April 2006 aged 91.  She even found time to be a mother, and left behind three sons and two daughters.

RE-VAMP Time Line 4th May 2015

Hello again. I felt the story above too good, too endearing to just read and then file, so I published it, little knowing that many years later I would be back to update it. Sometime after writing this page above, I published this page [see link] on which there is a mention of HMS Asbury: I didn't link them together. Look at the text alongside 1943 ADM156/231

In late April 2015, David MORRIS ex WOCY and a long time friend, quite out of the blue, sent me this

A WW2 post card sent from HMS Asbury to his aunt in the UK courtesy of USN courier-bag which passed U.S., censorship on the 11th August 1943. At that time, David had seen my Lilly page but had not seen the WW2 naval Courts Martial page. I alerted him to it, thanked him for his card, and went back to new projects. David meanwhile had looked up the details of the WW2 ship HMS Asbury, and having not found it, opened a whole new re-think on the Lilly story.

In my original story, I had taken it as read that the British sailors in the States, standing-by their damaged ships being repaired in East Coast U.S., navy yards, had taken it upon themselves to call their shore accommodation HMS Asbury, little knowing that it was all official, and that the Admiralty had commissioned a building [a stone wall frigate] by that name for the duration of the war. David's detective work led to a re-think and this re-vamp.

Asbury, is a city in the State of New Jersey south of New York and about 1 hour from it on public transport. In WW2, New Jersey had several shipyards on their sea border with the New York/New Jersey Bight. Asbury is a seaside community  which was developed in 1871 as a residential resort by a New York businessman. It is named after Francis Asbury the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


Where stood the Asbury Park Hotel aka HMS Asbury, built in approximately 1900, now stands the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, which tells of its over 100 years in the city on this site. Regrettably, it doesn't mention its past use or glories! For anybody stationed there at HMS Asbury in 1943, this is what your "barracks" looks like today.

Using the Courts Martial file mentioned above, I then consulted the Navy List in an endeavour to trace his career in the period 1943-1945, conscious of this file  <>  second entry, trawled up by David. In his comments on this UBoat file, he wonders whether Temporary Lieutenant Thomas John  Paull was in Bermuda, perhaps on naval loan service or just enjoying some R&R . I should imagine that the ongoing stress of the long war warranted an excess of alcohol every now and again, and personally I am rather pleased that the charges were not proven, meaning a discharge without punishment. However.........?

What follows are four files copied from the navy list, loosely cropped to reveal his entries amongst a few others. The first three come from the RNR List of Active Officers and the last one from the RIN [Royal Indian Navy] entry. In the issue for June 1943 it shows Paull serving in HMS LST 404, which in 1944 was sunk by torpedo  whilst bringing wounded soldiers and German POW's back from Normandy to the UK [Paull wasn't on the vessel art this time]  PAULL in LST 404.pdf  . The next issue October 1943 has him down in HMS Asbury although not appointed to a vessel PAULL in Asbury.pdf - the Navy List under HMS ASBURY contains scores upon score of names either appointed to Asbury as complement officers, or appointed to Asbury for duties in their many associated small crafts which includes BYMS, LST, RESCUE TUGS, LCI[L], HDML, A/S VESSELS, BDE, BAM 100 CLASS, and many miscellaneous names.  A warning note to researchers - beware for there is a Warrant Officer Master at Arms called T J Paul [one l] listed..  There is no naval evidence that I can find which supports Paull being the CO of BYMS 2252, but that is not to say that he wasn't.  The third for October 1944 [the year in which he was court martialled] has him being banished to the Royal Indian Navy [RIN] based on Jufair which in my time was in the Persian Gulf.  PAULL in Jufair R.I.N..pdf, and the last comes from the Navy List from the RIN Section navylistjun1944v2grea_0433.pdf . After his court martial, although the unofficer-like behaviour was not proven, it is clear that he was sent to the Dominions out of harms way, almost an embarrassment to the Royal Navy. He finished the war in the R.I.N.

In the two year period 1963/64 I was stationed in Halifax Nova Scotia in the 6th Submarine Squadron. New York was a mere jaunt from base - 590 miles at a leisurely pace took just short of two days and we called in to Brooklyn Navy Base quite often.  That 590  miles is just a bit more than a trip from Pompey to Rosyth!  We also frequented our southern boundary at Ireland Island, Berm-a-do as Royal sailors call Bermuda, just another day more from base at a range of 778 miles than was New York. Been back several times since and I am naturally envious of all who rested their heads in HMS Asbury. Good story and thanks David for giving me the impetus.