de Rothschild’s coat

Published in Issue 4 (July/August 2014), Volume 22

On 24 January 1915 Cuffe transferred to the Royal Munster Fusiliers, was promoted major and was provided with a car and a driver. His special mission continued. His reports were detailed. On one occasion, unusually, there was an extra man in the car. Cuffe sent him and the driver in different directions to reconnoitre, and he himself went in a third direction. It was agreed that they should all meet up at a certain location at a certain time, without fail. Cuffe arrived, and the driver was there at the appointed time, but there was no sign of the third man. Having waited as long as it was safe to do so, Cuffe and the driver returned to base. There was a coat on the back seat of the car, which Cuffe removed and placed on a chair in his office. The next morning, Cuffe was informed that ‘the Baron Jimmy de Rothschild has called to collect his coat’! (Niall Ferguson’s The world’s banker [Weidenfield & Nicholson, 1998] confirms that Baron James de Rothschild was serving with the Third Army at that time.)


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