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Finest Hour 114

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Churchill’s Tribute to King George VI. Martin Gilbert on Churchill’s Women. Bletchley Park. HM The Queen Mother. Churchill on Daylight Savings Time. Queen Mary Fellows Program. Myths: “He Let Coventry Burn.” Cover: Oil painting of Churchill by Martin Driscoll commissioned by TCC for the Queen Mary.

Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 18


In Remembrance or His Late Majesty and to Commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In this year of the Golden Jubilee, when acts of commemoration for King George VI have occurred across the Commonwealth, we publish, at the suggestion of Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, Churchill's moving and eloquent tribute from fifty years ago. "Churchill's eulogy," Rafal writes, "is one of the finest ever made. His passage: 'The King walked with death...' is most moving and his closing homage to the new Queen is inspiring." Most moving of all were Churchill's words on his floral tribute to Britain's wartime King, taken from those on the Victoria Cross: "For Valour."

When the death of the King was announced to us yesterday morning there struck a deep and solemn note in our lives which, as it resounded far and wide, stilled the clatter and traffic of twentieth-century life in many lands, and made countless millions of human beings pause and look around them. A new sense of values took, for the time being, possession of human minds, and mortal existence presented itself to so many at the same moment in its serenity and in its sorrow, in its splendour and in its pain, in its fortitude and in its suffering.

The King was greatly loved by all his peoples. He was respected as a man and as a prince far beyond the many realms over which he reigned. The simple dignity of his life, his manly virtues, his sense of duty - alike as a ruler and a servant of the vast spheres and communities for which he bore responsibility - his gay charm and happy nature, his example as a husband and a father in his own family circle, his courage in peace or war - all these were aspects of his character which won the glint of admiration, now here, now there, from the innumerable eyes whose gaze falls upon the Throne.

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 23


A Tribute to the Perseverance and Dedication of Rita and Jack Darrah

In "History Lives at Ditchley and Bletchley" (FH 85) we outlined the Second World War role of the top secret code-breaking establishment at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, and its inestimable value to Winston Churchill in securing victory. "Bletchley Park Blooms with Churchilliana'' (FH 91) described the superb Darrah-Harwood collection of Winston Churchill memorabilia which had been installed in two rooms of the Bletchley Park Mansion in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

In the years since, thousands of visitors have stopped at Bletchley (it is now open every weekend and by special arrangement during the week) to view the ever-growing assemblage of exhibitions, displays and reenactments illustrating the rich and diverse history of the site and its involvement in military intelligence, electronics and computing, cryptography and code breaking, telecommunications, radar and air traffic control. The vast majority of those visitors have been enthralled by Jack and Rita Darrah's magnificent exhibition of Churchill memorabilia, and the sad recent loss of Rita (FH 113:8) reminds us that an update is in order.

The various attractions at Bletchley Park are largely run by an enthusiastic band of volunteers, but to secure the long-term

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 14


We shouldn't be upset about the shrill cries of the muckrakers.
They give us such great material!

Perhaps in self-defense, The Atlantic website has now posted links to other articles about Churchill from its archives. See: http:llwww. theatlantic. comlunboundlflashbkslchurchill. htm

The cover story on the April issue of The Atlantic Monthly - "Churchill Takes A Fall: The Revisionist Verdict: Incompetent, Boorish, Drunk, and Mostly Wrong," by Christopher Hitchens - was not so bad as the title suggests.

Hitchens, a paid iconoclast who regularly skewers phonies of the left and right, takes proper aim at the politicians who've wrapped themselves in Churchillian rhetoric since September 11th. The pols are still at it, and unless they begin seriously to mobilize the citizenry it's going to take another attack to make us realize what we're up against. Instead of frisking dowagers at airports and showing us colored disks to define the current threat level, they should have declared a state of war with "the nation of terrorism," financed it with War Bonds, plugged porous borders, invaded Iraq, and started discriminating against Middle Easterners boarding airplanes. Call it racism - or call it survival. Take your pick.

Unfortunately, Hitchens larded his 10,347 word critique with every accusation against Winston Churchill except the one about how he caused the stock market crash in 1929. As Churchill once remarked, "I have never heard the opposite of the truth stated with greater precision."

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 05

In an age when retired leaders strive vulgarly to create "legacies" it is sobering to reflect that the most genuinely loved woman in England secured her place with a casual remark over six decades ago. Asked if she would remove her two young daughters from London during the Blitz, Queen Elizabeth replied: "The girls will not leave unless I do. I will not leave unless the King does. And the King will not leave under any circumstances whatsoever."

Her closeness to the people was unprecedented in a monarchy renowned as aloof and hidebound. The Royal Family in the late 1930s was divided between those who supported Hitler and those who supported Chamberlain; the King and Queen threw a gala reception for the latter when he returned from Munich waving his bit of paper. All that was washed away by her courage during the Blitz. Historian David Cannadine, no great admirer of tradition, said: "She brought a particular kind of charm and public appeal the like of which no authentic member of the royal family ever quite seems to have had."

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 28

By John G. Plumpton

The Queen Mary Fellows Program, November 2nd & 3rd, 2001

How can a man born into the 19th century British aristocracy, most famous for his achievements in the middle of the 20th century, be relevant to students in the 21st century? That was our challenge to the Queen Mary Fellows and other college students at our seminar aboard The Queen Mary (formerly RMS Queen Mary) in Long Beach, California on November 2nd through 4th, 2001.

Fortunately many of the lessons from the life and achievements of Sir Winston Churchill are timeless, as revealed by Professor James Muller, chairman of The Churchill Center Academic Advisers, and his corps of teachers: Sir Martin Gilbert, Steven Hayward, Vice Admiral James Stockdale (Ret.), Max Arthur, and Larry Kryske.

On Friday evening, November 4th, Jim Muller addressed the Fellows on "The Education of Winston Churchill," while Steven Hayward spoke on "Churchill on Leadership," the title of his well-received book.

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

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By Michael McMenamin

125 Years Ago:

Spring 1877-Age 2

"Dressed...Like a Girl"

A letter from his mother described life in Dublin with her young son: "Winston is flourishing tho rather X the last 2 days more teeth I think. Everest has been bothering me about some clothes for him saying that it was quite a disgrace how few things he had &c how shabby at that." Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys, offers this portrait: "Winston had arrived in Dublin a month after his second birthday dressed, as was the fashion, like a girl. At that time children were dressed alike, making boys and girls indistinguishable one from the other, for the first few years of their lives."

It was early days in Ireland for Churchill's 28-year-old father. In his biography of Lord Randolph, Churchill writes of the routine into which his father soon settled: "Five minutes' walk from the Viceregal Lodge, on the road to the Phoenix Park, there stands, amid clustering trees, a little, long, low, white house with a green verandah and a tiny lawn and garden.

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 46

A compendium of facts eventually to appear as a reader's guide.

Compiled by the Editor

Undersecretary of State for the Colonies

9DecO5-24AprO8. Chief assistant to the Colonial Secretary with responsibility for directing all colonial affairs worldwide. Since the Colonial Secretary at this time was Lord Elgin, Churchill was the nominal spokesman (much to Elgin's angst) on colonial matters in the Commons.

President of the Board of Trade

24Apr08-25Octl 1. Equivalent to U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Appointment date is the official one, but per the rule of the day, Churchill had to refight his Manchester seat to confirm this Cabinet office. He lost on 23 April, but was elected MP for Dundee on 9 May.

Secretary of State for the Home Department

Feb10-25Octl 1. Responsible for police, prisons and the state of criminal law (and some odd archaic roles such as looking after wild birds in Scotland and determining if English and Welsh towns are cities), but once much larger. Roy Jenkins calls it "a plank of wood out of which all other domestic departments have been carved," including today's Agriculture, Environment, and Employment ministries.

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 13

"Shave his head, pack a hundred or so extra pounds on him, pop a cigar in his mouth, trick him out in a waistcoat with a watch fob stretched across his substantial tummy and— voila!—you've turned George W. Bush into Winston Churchill." (Thanks to David Stejkowski for passing us this cut from the March 28th Chicago Tribune) Belated recognition by the French occurred in the June 2000 issue of France's Historia magazine, which spent thirty pages naming Churchill Statesman of the Century. The first article was by Francois Kersaudy, author of Churchill and de Gaulle (1981), entitled "A Monument of Contradictions." Mike Campbell reports that it's "a somewhat frustrating piece: one long list of Kersaudy's ideas on how Churchill was full of contradictions. It's also weirdly written: one long string of thoughts separated by semicolons. Ultimately positive, Kersaudy does use the 'I-word' (Iroquois) and I think there are at least a few questionable points raised." Kersaudy concludes: "Under this mass of apparent contradictions, there exist numerous keys to Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. If they do not open all the doors, it's because each man guards his part of the mystery. But, following step by step, since very young, the peripheries of this fabulous existence, is something that

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 43

By Georgina Landemare, the Churchill family cook, 1940s-1950s, updated and annotated for the modern kitchen by Barbara Langworth (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Only a very short letter this. Here I am in camp at this arid place—bare as a plate & hot as an oven. All the skin is burnt off my face and my complexion has assumed a deep mulberry... "

—WSC to his mother Rajankunte Camp, Madras, India, 21 January 1897 (Winston S. Churchill, Companion Volume I, Part 2, edited by Randolph S. Churchill, London: Heinemann, 1967, p. 726; also available from Churchill Archives, http://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/Churchill_papers/


4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
6 small tomatoes, skinned, seeded & sliced
4 oz. chopped cooked ham
2 small shallots, finely chopped

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Finest Hour 114, Spring 2002

Page 30

By Richard M. Langworth

The Great Courses: Churchill, by Prof. J. Rufus Fears. Audio and videotapes with guidebooks. The Teaching Company, 4151 Lafayette Center Drive, Suite 100, Chantilly VA 20151-1231, telephone (800) 832-2412. Three videocasettes $149.95; six audiocassettes $89.95.

One is always grateful to members of the academy for paying positive attention to Churchill, but I couldn't get through these tapes. Prof. Fears is a kind of right-wing Cornell West, pontifical, self-satisfied, and convinced that he is right. Churchill never puts a foot wrong and is described as almost God-like. This is exactly the type of worshipper who sets Churchill up for ambushers like Christopher Hitchens (see pages 14-15).

We begin with Churchill in 1940 at "the House of Parliament," changing his country's mind about fighting Germany. Fears says that the French and Belgians had surrendered, "not because the soldiers wouldn't fight but because of a collapse at the top." (Wasn't it both?) If Churchill had taken a poll in May 1940, he would have found that 80% of Britons thought Britain should negotiate with Hitler. (Where is the evidence of that?)

 A shining moment is Fears's comparison of Churchill with Pericles and Lincoln, who together, he says, comprise history's "three outstanding statesmen." A statesman has "bedrock principles, a moral compass, and a supreme vision"; a politician has none of the above. Unfortunately this is accompanied by veiled references to Bill Clinton, which date the performance.

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