In an effort to trace the ‘Baby Imperial’ and the ‘Lord John Malcolm’ as mentioned in Alec’s diary, I got in touch with the Wembury Local History Society via their Facebook page and asked if any of their members could help.
Within hours, back came an extraordinarily comprehensive response from information provided by one of their members, Chris Robinson, which I have their permission to quote in full:
The Baby Imperial was located at 47 Cobourg Street while the Lord John Malcolm was 27 Russell Street.
Western Morning News, July 1st 1944
ANZIO MEETING : Mr. Carroll Levis And Plymouth Friend
Mr. Carroll Levis, who has just arrived back in London from an ENSA tour, which lasted six months although it was originally booked for three, had a great thrill when he met old Plymouth friend at the Anzio beachhead. This was Maj. Ted Taylor, the proprietor of the Lord John Malcolm Cafe, Russell-street, Plymouth. Many a time after giving a show at the Palace Mr. Levis would slip across to Maj. Taylor’s cafe in peacetime, and the two have been friends for many years. It was a tremendous surprise to him to meet Maj. Taylor at Anzio just nine days before the Fifth and Eighth Armies linked up. The two had dinner together at ‘Ted’s Tavern,’ which is Maj. Taylor’s mess, and which has a sign outside reading, ‘Ted’s Tavern Fully Licensed.’ Mr. Levis had given nine shows that day the troops. Maj. Taylor presented him with a souvenir the occasion – an ashtray made out of shell.
This is wonderful stuff, and it’s the sort of thing that makes family history so fascinating. Alec’s diary for 1944 ends long before Anzio, I’m afraid, or it would have been fun to imagine him eating at the Lord John Malcolm Cafe at exactly the moment when Ted Taylor and Carroll Levis renewed their acquaintance.
My grateful thanks to the Wembury Local History Society and to Chris Robinson for their help.