Back in my dim and distant college days, there used to be an interminable song sung by drunken rugby players to the tune of "Onward, Christian Soldiers!" the only lyric to which was: "Lloyd George knew my father, father knew Lloyd George ..." repeated endlessly, or at least until the drunkards concerned fell over.
But who was this mysterious Lloyd George that father was supposed to have known?
I think it will come as a surprise to most people that David Lloyd George was technically a Mancunian - that's somebody born in Manchester, by the way – but in all other respects he was famously Welsh. He was a lawyer, and then a Liberal politician, and by 1906 at the age of 43, he had risen to become a member of the Cabinet. He was to become Chancellor of the Exchequer (the man who held the government's purse strings) by the time the Great War broke out, and by the time it ended he had been Prime Minister for two years.
What was certainly not so well known at the time was Lloyd George's sexual incontinence. He was known as "the Goat" in recognition of his many affaires. General Kitchener once said that Cabinet members should not be told military secrets because they all told their wives - except for Lloyd George who told other people's wives.
In 1913, after Lloyd George refused to see a deputation of Suffragettes to discuss votes for women, they made him their especial target. Lloyd George liked women, but he also liked golf. He had a house built near the course at Walton Heath, so he could play a round and then play around, so to speak. When militant Suffragettes found out about this still unfinished love-nest, they planted two time-bombs there.
One bomb, containing five pounds of gunpowder, actually went off. Neither Lloyd George nor his lady-love were hurt, but there's still a crack in the wall of Pinfold Manor to remind us that the female franchise was a matter of hot debate in those charming days before the Great War changed everything.
The Deadly Playground, 1914 is out now. Why not click on this link and get yourself a copy? http://smarturl.it/DPAmazon