MAYFLOWER MAIL LAUNCH EDITION (1956)
The honor of christening the ship was given to Reis Leming, an American airman who gained the love of England and was awarded Britain’s George Medal for bravery when he risked his life to save twenty-seven people from drowning in violent waters caused by massive flooding in Eastern England in 1953. Leming could not swim but leapt into the water anyway because it was the right thing to do.
Warwick noted that “Reis and his wife] represented the missing descent American young people. They were almost too good to be true; modest, charming and possessed of a quiet dignity. The people of Plymouth (Massachusetts) wanted me to invite one of them or perhaps the state Governor to do the job and the patrons (in England) thought we should invite an admiral or a member of the cabinet but I thought ‘what would the pilgrims have wanted if they had been making the choice?’ They would have been proud of Mr. and Mrs. Reis Leming.”
Image courtesy of the Warwick Charlton Family Archives, Charlton Foundation and Three Sisters Publishing Limited.