“Don’t let anyone drink my whisky. I shall be back in a few minutes”
Firebrand orator Albert Victor Grayson was born in Liverpool, England on 5 September 1881 and was elected MP for Colne Valley in July 1907 by 153 votes. Despite standing for the Independent Labour Party, he was not welcomed by the party hierarchy. In the House he attacked the Liberal Government and said, “I look forward to the day when the government bench will be occupied by socialists sent there by an indignant people.” He supported the Irish nationalists. In 1908 he easily won a poll to find the most popular Yorkshire MP. In November that year, the Serjeant-at-Arms threw him out of the House of Commons for refusing to obey the Speaker.
In 1910 Grayson lost his seat and took to the bottle. On 7 November 1912 he married actress Ruth Nightingale. In 1913 he suffered a nervous breakdown. Unlike most left-wingers, Grayson spoke out in favour of the First World War. He was declared bankrupt on 26 August 1914 with debts of £496 3s. He later enlisted in the New Zealand Army and was wounded on 12 October 1917. His wife died in childbirth on 4 December 1918. The next year Grayson launched a bitter attack on Lloyd George and the selling of political honours. He also threatened to publicly name the middleman Maundy Gregory search the related article) whom he knew was spying on him.
In September 1920 Grayson was attacked on The Strand, London and left with stitches in his head and a broken arm. At the end of the month Grayson was drinking with friends at the Georgian Restaurant in Chandos Place, London when he received a message from the receptionist that his luggage had been sent to the Queen’s Hotel in Leicester Square by mistake. Grayson said, “Don’t let anyone drink my whisky. I shall be back in a few minutes.” He was never seen again.
Georgian Restaurant, Chandos Place, London, England
6pm Tuesday 28 September 1920
It was not until 1927 that the public was aware that Grayson disappeared. His family made an appeal via the BBC in 1934 but received no response. His sister Annie made another appeal in September 1942, again with no response. Rumours abounded that Grayson had been murdered on the orders of Maundy Gregory but nothing has been proved.