The Stars And Stripes were to be flown from Newcastle town hall on 4th July, to be known nationally as ”Liberty Day”. The Lord Mayor writes to the American Consul regarding the arrangements.
The American Consul, Mr Hamm, responded: “I trust that the present closer sympathy between England and the United States, when the two countries are fighting together for the preservation of civilization, is the beginning of a new and better era in relations between America and Britain.”
The battleship USS New York visited the Tyne in February 1918 and the City of Newcastle Council put together a programme of hospitality. The Lord Mayor was only informed of the battleship’s visit at very short notice, but it was felt desirable to offer hospitality, “in the interests of the Allies”. Two detachments of sailors were brought from the ship to the city and received “appropriate” hospitality with the aid of the Naval & Military Hostel Committee and YMCA. After their welcome to the city, the management of the Empire Theatre and Hippodrome provided them with entertainment, and the Lord Mayor’s hospitality at the Mansion House. The mayor was sure it was enjoyed and appreciated. Alderman Fitzgerald commented: “The visit ofthe American battleship was a most important occasion.”
The Newcastle Trades Council wrote to the Lord Mayor to inform him that the American Labour Delegation in Britain would visit the city on 15th May 1918. The Trades Council asked him to arrange a town meeting. The Lord Mayor agrees to consult with the parties concerned and the US Consul and Assistant Consuls in the city.
Newcastle Council decided to celebrate Liberty Day 1918 with a parade and invites the US servicemen from the Aero Squadron as guests of the city.
Following the event, on 13th July 1918, Major Harcourt writes “on behalf of the American Detachment at this station” to thank the council for their “royal welcome”. Another letter is received by the Lord Mayor from Robert E. Lee, 1st Lieutenant, Signals, R.C.A.S., commanding 47th Aero Squadron, Aviation Training Station: “I feel it a privilege, even more, my duty as representative of the US Government and People, to convey the thanks of each and every member of the detachment to your Honourable Self, the Committee on Arrangements, the artistes who were instrumental in making the day a success, and to the people of Newcastle for the loyal reception.”…”with one accord, we claim it the biggest and best Fourth of July in our memories and one never to be forgotten.”
The US dreadnoughts were formed into the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet under Admiral Rodman. Operating from Scapa Flow they undertook training cruises with the Royal Navy until fully operational.
The US Army began to arrive as troops became available in sufficient quantity. Although the majority went directly to France, some did come to Britain. Amongst these were airmen undertaking training on British combat aircraft…
With US entry into war, Lord Mayor of Newcastle wrote to Walter Hamm, US Consul to the city: “Your country and ours are alike fighting to preserve their ideals of liberty and freedom, not so much for themselves as for the other peoples of the world.”