Our speaker on the 18th January was John Whitfield who gave a very full and fascinating talk about the Kennedy Clan.

The Kennedys were a very powerful force in America from 1930 to the 1980s headed by father, Patrick Joseph Kennedy, known as Joe whose Clan consisted of 9 children. His Grandfather came from Ireland in 1846 after the potato famine and was keen to make good. Patrick Joseph settled in Boston, became rich and aimed for the Presidency of the USA. He had 9 children: Joe Jnr, John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, Jean and Edward (Teddy). Joe was ambitious to rise in Politics. He was appointed as Ambassador to Britain at the start of World War II but blotted his copybook by denigrating Britain, praising the Germans as strong and saying that Britain would fall. He was withdrawn from Britain in 1941 and his political prospects were doomed. He then put all his energies into promoting his sons before dying in 1958.

Joe Junior had been groomed at the best schools and University and was expected when America joined the war to join the forces. He went into the Navy Air Corps and was sent to the UK to hunt for submarines. He volunteered for a crazy scheme to fly bombers full of explosives, to Germany where the pilots would bale out half way over whilst other planes guided the (explosive) planes to targets in Germany. On his first flight his plane exploded prematurely over Suffolk and he was killed.

John F Kennedy became the youngest President of the USA at the age of 43. He became a Senator for Massachusetts and in 1960 beat Richard Nixon by a narrow margin to become President. He was popular, positive, a good speaker. In the Russian-Cuban conflict the world was the nearest it has been to destruction since the WWII but Kennedy kept his cool and averted the problem. He had 3 children, one boy died after birth, his second son a pilot was lost at sea in 1999 with his wife on board. On November 27 1963 John was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Of Joe senior’s daughters, Rosemarie was severely mentally handicapped, she became a cabbage after an operation and spent 60 years in an institution. Kathleen came to London aged 18 and married Billy the Marquis of Hartington, the son of the Duke of Devonshire. He died in 1948 shot through the heart whilst in the Army. She married again and was flying to the south of France when the plane crashed and she died. Eunice worked for mentally handicapped people and set up a special Olympics for the handicapped. Patricia went to Hollywood and married Peter Lawford but later divorced. Jean also did a lot of work for the Mentally Handicapped, she went into Politics and became Ambassador to Ireland in Clinton’s Presidency.

Bobby Kennedy was clever and went into law and supported Jack Kennedy behind the scenes. In the 1960s he was President of the Civil Rights Organisation and worked for recognition of black and Hispanic people. He became popular and was going to stand for President in 1970 but was assassinated in 1968 by a fanatical Palestinian.

Lastly Edward (Teddy) 1932 – 2009. Very controversial, a good speaker, persuasive and the longest serving Senator in the USA (1964-2009) He was involved in an incident driving to Chappaquidick Island which caused the death of Mary Jo Kopechnie, something which hindered his chances of becoming president.

There was much more to John’s fascinating talk than can be described here but if you like to chat over coffee and listen to an interesting talk come and join us. More details on 07804942589.

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