The butterfly house where Sir Winston would indulge his passion for breeding rare insects has been rebuilt
By Jonathan Brown
THE INDEPENDENT, Thursday 19 August 2010 - It was 1939 and the Nazi menace threatened Europe. But while Britain clamoured for the leadership of Winston Churchill, the thoughts of the great warrior himself were focused on an altogether more pacific subject: butterflies.
Like many Victorian children, the young Churchill had been an avid lepidopterist, collecting and pinning specimens from the then-teeming fields around his prep school in the 1880s. It was a hobby he had returned to periodically throughout his adventurous life, his interest stimulated by travels through South Africa, India and Cuba.
Yet it was on the eve of war as he sat at home at Chartwell awaiting the nation's call to arms that he was to return to this childhood passion with an unexpected fervour.
Der Spiegel's "The Man Who Saved Europe," a nine-part web-post by Klaus Wiegrefe, oddly reminds me of "The Complete Wrks of Wilm Shkspr (Abridged)," in which three actors present the audience with all of Shakespeare's works in a couple of hours.
There's nothing particularly novel or new in this series. Aside from the familiar attempts to cast Churchill as occasionally demoniac, it agrees that he "Saved Europe." But one would do better reading about World War II on Wikipedia-or, if you have time, one of the good specialty studies, like Geoffrey Best's Churchill and War-or, if you really want to know what Churchill thought, his abridged war memoirs.
The early parts dwell on the duel between Churchill and Hitler, from 1932 through 1941. Wiegrefe then skips ahead to the bombing of Germany (which he says killed mostly civilians, and on which Churchill was strangely ambivalent), and the division of Europe after the war. Much is oversimplified and fails to consider the contemporary reality of fighting for survival-which, after all, is what both sides were doing.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 08:27
A full-size replica of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 has been parked outside the Churchill War Rooms, where it will remain until the end of the month.
The replica is part of the museum's drive to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill's famous radio address (best known for its refrain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"). At 3.42pm on Friday, August 20th, there will be a reading of the speech outside the War Rooms, and a Spitfire and Hurricane will fly over Whitehall at 4.05pm.
Churchill spent much of his time during the war in Whitehall, but in the event of an attack directly on the seat of government, the Prime Minister had a secret bunker built in Neasden to accommodate what remained of his Cabinet. We had a nose around last year, and you can visit it during this year's Open House.
CABINET WAR ROOMS, LONDON, AUGUST 20TH- Seven decades to the day after Winston Churchill's inspiring salute to the Royal Air Force as the Battle of Britain was reaching its height, Churchill Centre Honorary Member Robert Hardy, the greatest actor ever to portray Churchill, delivered portions of the Prime Minister's House of Commons speech containing the famous tribute:
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
The original speech was a long overview of the war situation covering many events beside "the great air battle" raging in the skies over Britain. In deference to the occasion, Robert Hardy deftly provided Churchill's tribute to the airmen, which are in bold face on the accompanying text of the full speech.
Actor Robert Hardy reads Winston Churchill's 1940 "Few" speech to mark 70 years since he delivered the inspiring words during the Battle of Britain.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 August 2010 09:52
How Would WWII Look on Facebook, You Ask?
Have a look at the website collegehumor.com to see how W.W. II might look on Facebook. Good satirical humor combining history with popular laughs; we like it, even though they got the quote wrong. What he really said (1944) was, "The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 17:54
The Churchill Centre Responds to "WSC and UFO's"
London, August 5th- According to the Daily Telegraph, "Winston Churchill was accused of ordering a cover-up of a Second World War encounter between a UFO and an RAF bomber because he feared public ‘panic' and loss of faith in religion, newly released files disclose....The allegations involving Churchill were made by the grandson of one of his personal bodyguards, an RAF officer who overhead the discussion...."
The news must be very slow if we have to regurgitate tall tales that never amounted to anything originally:
Finest Hour 115, Summer 2002 Datelines: London, October 21st- "What does all this stuff abut flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth? Let me have a report at your convenience." This WSC to his advisers, who produced a six-page UFO report, hitherto denied by the Ministry of Defence but unearthed by UFO historians Andy Roberts and David Clarke. The "working party on flying saucers" was the idea of Sir Henry Tizard, WC's trusted scientific adviser during the war. The report played down the phenomenon and insisted there was no threat to Britain. But a few months later an order went out expressly banning all RAF personnel from discussing sightings with anyone not from the military. -The Observer
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 08:29
Churchill's D-Day Bunker Set to Lose its Final Battle
By Ian Proctor
Harrow Observer, 4 August 2010 - A FORTIFIED bunker at the former RAF Bentley Priory, from which Winston Churchill oversaw the D-Day landings, could be dismantled.
Landowner VSM Estates bought the land from the Ministry of Defence after the base in Stanmore, once the headquarters for Fighter Command, was decommissioned.
It is seeking permission to demolish the vacant two-storey underground complex, along with one of six above-ground entrances, because the owner can find no alternative use for it.
The man-made cavern was built in the 1940s and covers 0.27 hectares. It included offices, a map room with viewing gallery, concrete walls thick enough to withstand bomb blasts, air supply and an electricity generator.
The operations rooms were used by King George VI, Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower to monitor the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. It was also used as a nuclear bunker during the Cold War.
Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowships - British Citizens
Applications for Travelling Fellowships for British citizens from the Winston Churchhill Memorial Trust for 2011 in London
Each year the trust awards some 100 Travelling Fellowships to UK Citizens to travel overseas to undertake study projects related to their profession, trade or particular interest.
To travel in 2011, click on one of the 10 categories and apply now with a relevant overseas project.
1. Before applying to one of our categories please check our criteria below to ensure that you are eligible to apply for a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust grant. 2. All applicants must be British citizens (British Nationality Act 1981), and resident in the UK. 3. Anyone aged 18 and above at interview, and in any occupation can apply. 4. No qualifications are required as every application is judged on the individual themselves and the merit of the project. 5. Applications are only considered for individual projects although expedition leaders may also apply under the Adventure, Exploration & Leaders of Expeditions category.
Churchill Archive Trust agrees deal to allow public to view more than 1m items, from school reports to speeches
By Mark Brown
THE GUARDIAN, Thursday 29 July 2010 - Winston Churchill's vast archive - everything from school reports and wagers about his prodigious drinking to a personal copy of the "finest hour" speech - will be digitised and offered online, it will be announced today.
The Churchill Archive Trust has agreed a deal with publisher Bloomsbury to make available more than 1m items. These include about 2,500 archive boxes of letters, telegrams, documents and photographs that are stored in Cambridge and currently viewable only by appointment.
Churchill's papers were, controversially at the time, bought for the nation from his heirs in 1995 using £12m of lottery money. They are currently stored at the Churchill Archives Centre (CAC). After years of cataloguing and transferring them to microfilm, the next logical step was making the archives available to everyone - although not for free, said CAC's director Allen Packwood.
"It's tremendously exciting for us, as it is fulfilling what the trust was established to do in the first place," he said. "It will take the whole Churchill collection to a worldwide audience."
Packwood said people would have the opportunity to see an enormous array of historical material without the layers of interpretation that had been added over the years. "It is an opportunity for people to make their own judgments," he said. "You'll be able to see what was on Churchill's desk on a day-to-day basis and how he responded to it. You'll be able to compare easily what he was saying in public at the same time as what he was saying privately."
AFP, Jun 18, 2010 - The leaders of France and Britain hailed their nations' battle-forged ties Friday, as they marked 70 years since Charles de Gaulle's stirring radio appeal for the French to resist Nazi occupation.
In a ceremony in London attended by World War II veterans, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron also paid tribute to their soldiers who fought together in the last century and now, in Afghanistan.
Accompanied by his wife, ex-model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the president had earlier met with Prince Charles and visited the BBC studio where the exiled de Gaulle issued the rousing appeal to his compatriots back home on June 18, 1940.
"Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not and will not be extinguished," de Gaulle said, urging those who had escaped to Britain to join him in London and for those still in France to hold firm.
Although very few French actually heard it, the speech is seen as a founding act of the resistance to the Nazis, coming four days after the fall of Paris and as the French government prepared to sign an armistice with Germany.
Sarkozy said the decision to let de Gaulle make the appeal from London -- initially opposed by the British cabinet but championed by premier Winston Churchill -- "made possible the very existence of the French resistance."
"The appeal of June 18 could have been made nowhere else than from among the sole free people on earth which continued to resist the forces of Nazism with all its might," he said in a speech at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, an institute for veterans in London.
Sarkozy made three British and three French veterans knights of the Legion of Honour, a top French award, and he and Cameron were treated to a display of troops from both nations in full ceremonial splendour.
Why all of Europe Should Thank Churchill and the BBC
By Denis MacShane
THE YORKSHIRE POST, 17 June 2010 - Late on a sultry London night, 70 years ago, a tall, rather badly-dressed Frenchman with a receding chin, a narrow moustache and slicked-down black hair, went quietly into Broadcasting House, in London.
He made a short broadcast in French lasting barely two minutes. No-one can remember hearing it live. In 1940, the BBC broadcast only five minutes in French a day, so the habit of tuning in to the BBC's recently launched broadcast in foreign languages had not really taken hold.
The appeal to France to continue resisting the German invader and occupier has entered French legend with the same impact that the English revere Magna Carta or the Americans worship the Declaration of Independence.
It was an act by a lonely individual who only a few months previously had been a mere colonel in the French army. It was part of the tumultuous tractations between France and Britain as the most Francophile Prime Minister in British history, Winston Churchill, gazed with horror on the country he loved and admired nearly as much as his own England or his mother's America.
Gallantry Medal of Soldier Who Saved Winston Churchill to be Sold at Auction
The gallantry medal awarded to a soldier who saved the life of Winston Churchill is to go on sale at auction along with a previously unpublished letter from the wartime Prime Minister thanking him for his actions. From "Churchill's South Africa, July 26th-August 8th, 1999" by Douglas S. Russell, Finest Hour 105, Winter 1999-2000:
In Durban, we visited the Old City Hall on Farewell Square where Churchill, who had just escaped from the Boers, delivered a speech from the front steps to tremendous cheers on 23 December 1899. A plaque marks the spot on this massive colonnaded building, now the Durban post office. In Durban, we enjoyed a luncheon at the Royal Hotel attended by special guest Vera Gallony, granddaughter of Sergeant Major A. Brockie of the Imperial Light Horse, who was a prisoner of war with Churchill; Alexander Stewart, grandson of the fireman and on the armored train ambushed with Churchill on board; and Doris Maud, daughter of Trooper Clement Roberts of de Montmorency's Scouts, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for rescuing Churchill under fire near Dewetsdorp in the Orange Free State during the Boer War.
By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
Telegraph.co.uk, 13 Jun 2010 - His spur-of-the moment bravery changed the course of world history.
When Trooper Clement Roberts rode into the thick of battle to rescue a young war reporter who had been thrown from his horse, little did he know that he was saving the life of Britain's future wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
Now the gallantry medal that Roberts was awarded for his courage during the Boer War is to be auctioned - along with a previously unpublished letter from Churchill thanking the soldier for his actions more than a century ago.
Listen in to the BBC Archives: Air Battle Over Dover 14 July 1940
BBC Archives, 14 July 1940 - This report on an encounter between RAF Hurricanes and Luftwaffe Junkers caused controversy among listeners when it was broadcast the next day. The correspondent's tone was thought to be unsuitable as he appeared to get carried away with excitement at being in the right place at the right time with recording equipment to hand.
This programme was produced by the BBC World Service to commemorate the centenary of Churchill's birth. Interviews from a variety of sources reveal Churchill's complex and fascinating nature. Contributors include Anthony Eden, Lord Boothby, Lady Astor and the painter Paul Maze, Churchill's friend, who describes him as a 'true artist'.