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Churchill Fans to Gather in Charleston Print E-mail

By Robert Behre
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THE POST AND COURIER, Monday, March 21, 2011 - They won't all be smoking cigars and wearing top hats -- in fact, maybe none of them will -- but some of the nation's greatest Winston Churchill devotees will gather here this week to talk about his life and legacy.

Kenneth Childs, a Columbia lawyer who is co-chairing the conference, said the meeting is being held here not simply because Charleston is an attractive city with several good places to eat.


One of Churchill's best American friends was the Wall Street financier and statesman Bernard Baruch, who resided part time at Hobcaw Barony, a plantation property outside Georgetown.


Churchill visited Baruch's coastal home once, and Churchill also visited Camp Jackson -- now known as Fort Jackson -- outside Columbia at the beginning of World War II, Childs said.


There he witnessed a large-scale paratrooper exercise. "I had never seen 1,000 men leap into the air at once," Churchill later recalled.


Childs, a self-described history buff, said he admired Churchill's influential roles in leading Britain not simply in World War II but also World War I. Churchill was Prime Minister of Britain from 1940-1945, and is credited with rallying his nation early in the war while his nation stood alone against the Nazis. He also served again as Prime Minister from 1951-55.


"The most important thing to emphasize is this is just not an organization focused on one individual who has been dead for 45 years," Childs said. "It's an organization that's interested in international affairs, politics and statesmanship. Churchill was a remarkable statesman."


The conference is entitled "Churchill in the News," partly because it will feature rarely seen Movietone footage of Churchill's life and times -- footage that is part of the University of South Carolina's collection.

Judy Kambestad of California is coordinating the 27th International Churchill conference and expects 200 to 250 to attend, including MSNBC anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews.


Like Childs, Kambestad said she got involved with the Churchill Centre, a nonprofit organizing the conference, because of her admiration for Churchill.


"He was the one who basically defeated Hitler. I think most people realize that, but they don't know much else about him," she said.


Churchill was more than a politician but also an accomplished journalist and painter. He also was among the 20th centuries most quotable leaders.


"When 9/11 happened, we have a hotline and we were flooded with requests for Churchill quotes," Kambestad said. "Even the president called and wanted some Churchill quotes."


While Churchill lost power shortly after World War II, he gave a highly influential speech in which he warned an "iron curtain" had descended across Europe -- an early description of the tension that would become known as the Cold War. When he died in 1965, the Queen of England granted him a state funeral.


Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.


Read the entire article here at The Post and Courier




Churchill Painting for Sale Print E-mail

"Happy are the painters for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour.....will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day." -Winston Churchill, 1921 December. ("Painting as a Pastime", Strand Magazine; Thoughts, 220-21.)

The Churchill Centre has recently become aware of a large painting by Sir Winston Churchill, offered for sale for the first time in a number of years.  Churchill’s paintings, especially in this size, infrequently come to market and the current owner has asked our assistance in finding a suitable buyer.  

The seller has generously agreed to make a donation to The Churchill Centre if a member or friend purchases the painting, so we are reaching out to you for your assistance.  The seller’s donation will be used to support The Churchill Centre’s important work in educating the world about the thoughts, words and deeds of Sir Winston Churchill and their relevance for today.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in acquiring this painting, please contact TCC’s Executive Director, Lee Pollock, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (312) 658-6027 for more details.

For a full account of Churchill’s paintings, which are found in the Royal Academy, the Tate Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, read "Churchill the Artist" in Finest Hour 100.

New Executive Directors for Churchill Centre U.S. and U.K. Print E-mail

In order to support its expanding worldwide activities, The Churchill Centre and Museum (TCC) has appointed new Executive Directors for the United States and the United Kingdom. Lee Pollock has undertaken responsibility for the U.S. and Allen Packwood for the U.K., both effective January 1, 2011.

Lee is a longstanding Churchillian based in Chicago and has been a member of The Churchill Centre Board of Trustees since 2009. "I'm extremely excited about the challenges that lie ahead. Churchill has so much to offer, even in the 21st century, and we're in the ideal position to bring him to a new generation of Churchillians," Pollock said. In conjunction with Mary Paxson, TCC's Director of Administration, Dan Myers, Chief Financial Officer, and John David Olsen, Director of Communications, Lee will focus on expanding the Centre's activities in the U.S., including membership development, education and programming.

Allen Packwood, who continues in his primary position as Director of the Churchill Archives Centre (CAC) at Churchill College, Cambridge, will support the Trustees and Executive Committee of TCC - U.K. in increasing the Centre's awareness and profile in the United Kingdom. Packwood, who has worked at the CAC for 15 years now, the most recent ten as Director, says, "I'm delighted to take on this new role with TCC. Churchill College is extremely supportive and feels this move will help expand awareness of Sir Winston and the Archives Centre, while also bringing the Churchill world closer together. I look forward to meeting new and old friends on both sides of the Atlantic".

Phil Reed, previously TCC's Executive Vice President, stepped down at year-end 2010 to focus on his primary responsibilities as Director of the Churchill Museum and War Rooms and more recently of HMS Belfast, docked on the Thames in London. Phil will continue to lend his knowledge and experience to actively support TCC's trans-Atlantic mission. Laurence Geller, Chairman of the Board to TCC remarked, "It's taken us two men and a team of horses to replace Phil Reed and we're really going to miss his day-to-day involvement. But naturally we wish him the best in his expanded role at the Imperial War Museum."
My Life as Churchill’s Bodyguard Print E-mail

THE ST HELENS REPORTER, 19 January 2011 -  He protected one of the most revered leaders in world history but barely spoke at word about for decades.


As a young Royal Marine at the very end of the war, Neville Bullock was detailed as part of Sir Winston Churchill's official bodyguard.


The role gave him a unique eye and ear on modern history.


He travelled with him to the famous Potsdam Conference in occupied Germany where Churchill, Russian leader Stalin and the American President Harry S. Truman to effectively carve up post-war Europe and Asia after the end of hostilities and decide what punishment to administer to their foe just nine weeks after victory.


Now, more than 65 years after his historic duties finished, pensioner Mr Bullock has received a surprise, but much treasured, honour.


Neville, a former Garswood parish and district councillor, has received the Churchill Centre and Cabinet War Rooms Museum's 2010 Somervell Award.


His essay, ‘Eyewitness to Potsdam' came to the attention of Awards Scheme chairman Lawrence S. Geller who was delighted to successfully nominate him.


This week Neville opened a package addressed to his home in Thornhill Road to find the surprise plaque prize.


The ever-modest octogenarian said he was "delighted and humbled" to have been singled out for recognition.


Mr Bullock, now a grandfather of two who finished his council duties for Billinge and Seneley Green ward in 2006 after eight years service, said: "The American members of the Churchill Society have presented me with this and I am very grateful.

Obituary: Yvonne Spencer Churchill 1924-2010 Print E-mail

By Celia Lee

Mrs. Peregrine Spencer-Churchill (Yvonne) as she preferred to be known, died peacefully and with dignity just before half past midnight on 14th December 2010, in a private room at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, off the Fulham Road, London. Members of the Churchill family, including her beloved Mrs. Minnie S. Churchill and Mr. Simon Bird, the Honourable Celia Sandys, her niece Sally, the Lady Ashburton, Mrs. Jennie (Churchill) Repard and her children, her full-time carer, Sally Jones, her nephew Mr. Guillaume Jehanin, her late brother's son, who came over from France, her devoted lawyer of many years, Mr. Robert Sykes, Celia and John Lee, and her circle of dedicated friends who visited her at home on a regular basis, kept up a vigil by her bedside.

Her closest friend and confidant from the "Fairdown days" was the Honourable Iris Dawney, former Lady-in-waiting to the Princess Margaret, who was a regular visitor to Yvonne's home for many years.
My connection with Yvonne and her late husband Peregrine was one of strangers being introduced on a glorious, sunny day, in July 2001, by Basia Hamilton the portrait painter and artist.

I had just published JEAN, LADY HAMILTON (1861-1941) - A SOLDIER'S WIFE, the biography of the wife of General Sir Ian Hamilton who was Basia's husband's Ian's great uncle. The Spectator had given my book a rave review spread over two pages and nominated it book of the week. Yvonne and Peregrine had seen the article and asked Basia about me and we lunched with Peregrine and Yvonne at their country home "Fairdown" in Hampshire.

For some time Peregrine had wanted to write a book about the Churchills which gave his father, Major John Strange Spencer-Churchill (Jack), his rightful place in the family history. Yvonne asked me to write the book but I turned it down at that time. Peregrine was at this time in his late 80s and began writing the book with John and I helping him. He died suddenly the following year, and at Yvonne's request I took over, but his writings were lost when his computer hard disc was cleaned down to be sold without his manuscript having been printed out.

Yvonne gave me full access to the letters and papers of Lord and Lady Randolph Spencer-Churchill, Jack and Goonie, and Peregrine's papers. I began from scratch and spent five years researching the papers. Yvonne moved to London later that year into a flat just round the corner from Lennox Gardens and we saw each other on a regular basis.

Peregrine's death was an enormous loss to her but the thought of the book gave her something to live for. For nearly nine years we practically lived out of each other's pockets. Hardly a week went by without contact and we even telephoned each other when I was on holiday.

Yvonne Jehanin's own story is one of a young girl, aged only 15 years, when the Second World War broke out in 1939. Yvonne was French, the daughter of a lawyer, living in Paris, when the Nazi marched in and took over. She worked as a teacher teaching French including to English people living in Paris.

It is not entirely clear how or why, but Yvonne took a job, working for Peregrine Churchill and his new wife, Patricia neé Somerville-Marsh, who he married in 1954. They had a house in Dorset and a flat in London in Lennox Gardens, in the exclusive "Sloane Ranger" area where Diana Spencer had a bachelor flat in the 1980s, before she married Prince Charles. Yvonne told me laughingly: "I was their (Peregrine's and Patricia's) au pair girl." She said she taught them French and took care of their horses and they could all ride.

This happy trio was soon broken up when Patricia, who had been married before and was aged about 40, was diagnosed terminally ill with cancer. Yvonne took on the role of nurse, and nursed her through her illness until she died. Yvonne then returned to Paris and resumed teaching.

One day Peregrine, who owned his own engineering company, set out to a business meeting in Paris. Having been delayed travelling, he arrived in the City late at night. He had not booked himself into a hotel and could not get in any place for the night. The only address he knew in the whole of Paris was Yvonne's. He turned up at her flat in a taxi around midnight and asked her if he could sleep on the sofa. When Yvonne got up the next morning Peregrine had already gone to his meeting.

He arrived back that evening and by way of thanking her for her kindness invited her out to dinner. Yvonne got dressed up and she was a fine looking woman in her day, standing about 5 feet 8 inches in her stockings, with a perfect figure. She was very much an intellectual with an active interest in everything of value.

They dined together and love blossomed, despite the eleven year disparity in their ages, Peregrine having been born in 1913, and Yvonne in 1924.

He invited Yvonne to England and the courtship continued, and they were married in the Brompton Oratory near Lennox Gardens on 22nd December 1957.

When Peregrine died suddenly in 2002 of a heart attack, Yvonne was insistent that the book must be written as a tribute to his memory so I obliged with my husband John Lee as co-author coming in towards the end to analyse the army careers of Winston and Jack Churchill. Yvonne lived every day for that piece of history to be written and she was most helpful to me. Peregrine adored her, they had the happiest of marriages, and she was devoted to his memory. There was a large drawing of him ever on the wall by the artist John Merton. Yvonne would look up at it and say: "Peregrine was unique".

Yvonne never met her parents-in-law Jack and Goonie, Goonie having died of lung cancer in 1941, and Jack of a tumour at his heart in 1947. But she knew Winston quite well and she could tell a story or two about him. She said that when he became famous as Prime Minister following the Second World War and recognised as a world leader, he used to sit in his study and ring the bell for his butler to come and prepare his cigar. When Jack was alive he used to say to him: "Get up and get it yourself", which story Peregrine had told her. Yvonne was very fond of Winston's wife Clementine, affectionately referred to as "Aunt Clemmie". After Winston's death in 1965, Peregrine and Yvonne spent their Christmases with Aunt Clemmie and Minnie and young Winston and their children.

For Christmas 2007, we published a high quality version of our study of the Churchill family titled: WINSTON & JACK THE CHURCHILL BROTHERS, especially for Yvonne and the Churchill family. There was a packed, private book launch of about 300 people, and we were sponsored by Pol Roger, courtesy of Danielle and Christian Pol Roger and Mr.Bill Gunn at their company in England. His Grace the 11th Duke of Marlborough travelled from Blenheim Palace as guest of honour. Mary, The Lady Soames LG DBE, gave the main address. Dr. John H. Mather, who is an expert on Lord Randolph's health jetted in especially from the US as one of the speakers. For Yvonne it was a night to remember, and Peregrine's spirit could now rest in peace.

Yvonne's ashes are to be interred in the grave with Jack's and Peregrine's in the historic churchyard of St.Martin's, Bladon, Oxfordshire in January 2011. She was 86 years old past in May. They are buried next to Lord and Lady Randolph and Winston and Clemmie.

If I were asked to write Yvonne's epitaph in a single line, for this woman with a mind of her own, it would be as the title of the famous ballad by Frank Sinatra: "I did it my way".

Donations to Médecins Sans Frontières and Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital c/o J.H. Kenyon, 49 Marloes Road, W8 6LA.

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