Finest Hour 133

Churchilliana – Chartwell Menu Holders

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 48

By Paul H. Courtenay


QUEBEC TAILPIECE: ANOTHER SET OF ROUSSILLON PLUMES

As an addendum to die notes on the Quebec conference (FH 130:23), we outlined details of the badge of The Royal Sussex Regiment and its 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion; botJi included the plume seized from the French Royal Roussillon Regiment by the 1st Battalion at Quebec in 1759. As Honorary Colonel of the 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion— 4th/5th after a 1943 amalgamation—Winston Churchill often wore its badge in 1944 and 1945: notably in Italy, on his second visit to Moscow, at the crossing of the Rhine, at Yalta, in Berlin and at Potsdam. The last of die Big Three conferences at the latter place was the final occasion on which he wore this uniform.

On 2 September 1955, not long after Sir Winston’s final retirement as Prime Minister, a small party of officers from the Royal Sussex was invited to Chartwell, where they presented him with a pair of silver menu holders. In die illustration, die one on die left is the badge of the regiment itself; the Garter star was introduced during the colonelcy of a Knight of the Order of die Garter soon after 1803.
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Editors Essay – Some Issues Over “Issues”

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 46

By Richard M. Langworth

“I confess myself to be a great admirer of tradition…. The wider the span, the longer the continuity, the greater is the sense of duty in individual men and women, each contributing their brief life’s work to the preservation and progress of the land in which they live, the society of which they are members, and the world of which they are the servants.”
—Winston Churchill, Royal College of Physicians, 1944

“To conquer a nation, destroy the values of its people.”
—Bill O’Reilly, Culture Warrior, 2006*


The Cardinals’ bus from their Manhattan hotel was delayed by more than an hour as it made its way to Shea Stadium. A combination of bad weather, typical New York traffic and the plane crash all led to major issues for the bus.”

Major issues for the bust

It is subtle, and it creeps into our discourse innocently. But the campaign to eradicate the traditional values and mores of Western Civilization is ceaseless.
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Eminent Churchillians – James Lancaster

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 44

‘”STUDY HISTORY, STUDY HISTORY,’ CHURCHILL IMPLORED. American kids are not the only ones who do not, English kids are no better, and the French are even worse. A few weeks ago I tried to talk to an educated Parisian couple about Georges Clemenceau. The only connection they could think of was the Clemenceau subway station in Paris!” —JL


Jim and Lydia Lancaster live in the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France, close to Utah Beach, where the 7th U.S. Corps Airborne and Infantry Divisions landed on 6 June 1944. Jim was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, so favoured by Winston Churchill and his nanny Mrs. Everest, not far from Chartwell, on 21 December 1942—the day Churchill and Roosevelt made plans to meet in Casablanca. Many years later he went to Marlborough, and then to Balliol College, Oxford, followed by a peripatetic career in business and consulting.

When Jim moved to the United States in 1975 he took his first serious steps towards becoming a graduate Churchillian. He started to build a library—reading copies and first editions. He did this the old-fashioned way, by exploring secondhand bookshops in New York, San Francisco, London and a great many other towns. It was a lot of fun, and it still is.
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Bibliography – “COHEN CORNER”

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 41

By Christopher Bell

TOTAL IMMERSION in the Cohen Bibliography of Churchill’s works suggests it may rank with the Complete Speeches and Collected Essays in its service to Churchiif scholarship.

Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill, by Ronald I. Cohen. London: Continuum, 3 vols., 2184 pages, advance price $990, member price $800. About 100 copies are left at this writing.


When Ronald Cohen announced in Finest Hour 51, Spring 1986, that he was preparing an entirely new Churchill bibliography, he had already been researching the subject for nearly five years. If he had known then that his Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill would not be published for another twenty years, he might have had second thoughts about the wisdom of undertaking this task. Now that the work is published, in three volumes totaling 2183 pages, the reasons for the delay are clear: Cohen was determined to give Sir Winston Churchill the bibliography he deserved.

Sir Martin Gilbert describes the book in his foreword as “a high point —and surely a peak—of Churchill bibliographic research…in every way the Mount Everest of the subject.”
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Book Reviews – History Live

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 40

By John Ramsden

Churchill Remembered. Two-CD set, narrated by Tim PigottSmith. BBC Audio, available from Amazon.co.uk for £6-12. Also downloadable for £9 at http://xrl.us/syii.


Few radio archives have deeper resources than the BBC, with many of its recordings going back to the earliest broadcasting days in the 1920s. The Corporation recently realised the immense value of its recordings by launching a successful series of musical and then spoken-word publications. One of Britain’s finest classical actors, Tim Pigott-Smith (Brendan Bracken in BBC’s The Wilderness Years TV series) narrates the latter, linking voices from the time on events that they witnessed. The 1940s volume of that series is in itself of great interest to FH readers.

As a spin-off from that successful oral history, and again with Pigott-Smith as narrator, the BBC has produced an oral life of Churchill told at considerable length, mainly through the reminiscences of people who knew him. Written and researched by Mark Jones, it provides a sensible, informed and detached view of Churchill’s life through 1955; I noted only a couple of trivial factual errors (such as the date of the election in 1906—a very common student error, since unusually the government changed a month before the election, rather than afterwards as more usual). But these are slips which don’t seriously detract from the piece as a whole. The CDs’ real strength is, on the other hand, a quite fascinating array of personal reminiscences, ranging from the army sergeant who tells how as a young cavalryman Winston looked after his horse in India in 1897 (recorded 1955), to staff members like John Colville, Ian Jacob and Anthony Montague Browne describing WSC’s working methods during and after his finest hour.
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Book Reviews – The Right Words

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 39

By Mike Cook

Rules, Britannia, by Toni Summers Hargis. New York: St. Martin’s/Dunne, 208 pages, hardbound, $23.95. Member price $19.15. Preview at: www.rulesbritannia.com.


There even are places where English completely disappears. In America they haven’t used it for years.” —Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady.

Most of us who cherish things British are aware that there are major differences in the way the English and Americans speak the language. For car people there are substitutes like “spanner” for “wrench” and “wing” for “fender.” However, there are many more serious differences. Using a word or phrase incorrectly in Britain could cause you to be laughed at or might get you a punch in the nose!

Toni Hargis, a native of England who moved to the States in 1990, evidently spent quite a while being either mystified or embarrassed by what her new acquaintances were saying. At the same time, she was baffled when some of her statements were greeted with annoyance or howls of laughter. On trips home she began listening to what Americans found confusing in the UK and what Yank tourists said and did that the British couldn’t comprehend.
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Book Reviews – Death at Blenheim Palace

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 39

By Richard M. Langworth

Death at Blenheim Palace, by Robin Paige. New York: Berkley Crime Books, 312 pages hardbound, $23.95, $6.99 from Amazon.com.


Robin Paige is a pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team who produce a series of cookie-cutter whodunnits: Death in Hyde Park…Glamis Castle… Dartmoor… Whitechapel, etc. As the titles suggest, their novels occur in Britain, and they have a fair if exaggerated and somewhat shopworn view of British life in the early 20th century. They also know very little about Winston Churchill.

The possibly eponymous protagonists are Charles and Kate Sheridan, invited by the Marlboroughs to Blenheim because Kate is working on a book about an old scandal. The ancient palace of Marlborough Hall, said to have stood here in 1154, was the scene of a tryst between the King Henry II and his teen-age flame Rosamund, carried out under the very nose of Henry’s Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The story is loosely based on folklore: “Fair Rosamund” was the legendary mistress of Henry, who hid in a mysterious hunting lodge the King built for her, accessible only by a labyrinth (“Rosamund’s Bower”). Alas, goes the story, Henry’s scheme was defeated: he found his lover poisoned.
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Book Reviews – Boston Baked Churchill

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 38

Boston Baked Churchill, by Mike Ryan. Mansfield, Mass.: Charles River Press, 264 pages softbound. Available from www.charlesriverpress.com, $4.49.


This sprightly historical novel uniquely involves the two Winston Churchills (see “That Other Winston Churchill,” FH 106) during their Boston meeting in 1901, who enjoy an adventure of derring-do against Irish Fenian terrorists intent on murdering English Winston and blowing up the USS Constitution.

The hero, Irish probation officer “Cootch” Connolly, learns of the plot and enlists the help of a Jewish girl, Rebekah Hurwitz, with whom he falls madly in love, engendering dubious reactions from her family and his: “Jews weren’t always viewed favorably by the Irish….All these thoughts invaded my brain. I hadn’t been haunted by such a woman in my entire life….”
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Book Reviews – Take No Hostages: Not Even Winston

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 38

By Robert A. Courts

Hostages to Fortune: Winston Churchill and the loss of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, by Arthur Nicholson. Sutton Publishing, 234 pages, illustrated, $34.95. Available from Amazon.com at $26.56.


It seems almost de rigueur that new books dealing with important aspects of the Second World War have to be subtitled Winston Churchill and… .As Prime Minister, Churchill could hardly complain, but this book’s subtitle really ought to be (for the sake of accuracy if not for publishing purposes) Churchill Pound, Phillips and the Loss of the Prince of Wales and Repulse.

The book takes a contained and structured approach to the story: dealing with the course of the tragedy first chronologically, dealing with each important event in self-contained blocks, before concluding that “in the end, it is Winston Churchill who should shoulder most of the blame.” Yet if there is one thing that this book’s methodical approach shows, it is that the reasons for the loss of the two ships were so manifold that such a conclusion is misleading.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – A New Niche in Churchill Studies

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 37

By Manfred Weidhorn

Winston Churchill’s Imagination, by Paul K. Alkon. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press, 268 pages, $55, member price $44.


In the initial stage of a scholarly project, one reads laboriously all available sources and highlights the key passages. When the subject is the ambidextrous Churchill, a division of labor takes place: Historians single out sentences that shed light on events and motives, and literary scholars focus on sentences that reflect the manner of expression. Material that is not highlighted by either type of researcher tends to be dismissed as trivial.

It is Professor Alkon’s fine idea to apply to Churchill the idea that, when dealing with outstanding personages, nothing is trivial. The result is a book that, while usually steering away from standard Churchillian topics, manages to be interesting nonetheless by taking the reader into the byways and crannies of Churchill’s capacious mind.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard Walter Thompson

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 36

By James Lancaster

Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard Walter Thompson, Tom Hickman, editor. London: Apollo, 144 pages, hardbound, $25.95. Member price $20.75.


Considerable confusion has attended the simultaneous appearance of Walter Thompson’s “authorized biography” (reviewed above) and this compilation of Thompson’s own memoirs, allegedly inspired from the selfsame cache of private papers discovered by Thompson’s great-niece, Linda Stoker, in an old suitcase.

Unfortunately, while the “Authorised Biography” described opposite is a new work, Beside the Bulldog is what I would call a “bandwagon book”: it is nothing more than a reprint of Thompson’s small 1953 book Sixty Minutes with Winston Churchill, with a few photographs, issued to take advantage of Hickman’s biography and the attendant publicity.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – The Thompson Saga: Regurgitated and Revisited

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 36

By Paul H. Courtenay

Churchill’s Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thompson, by Tom Hickman. London: Headline, 312 pages hardbound, $45. Member price $36.


There is much of interest in this book, and also much to deplore. It is the “authorized” biography of Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, the familiar figure at Churchill’s side for so many years, and is based on his own writings. Thompson’s own words tell a compelling story, some of it already familiar, though much is new. It is the author Tom Hickman, despite some skilful merging of the personal narrative with his own commentary, who casts doubt on the accuracy of some of this background panorama by poorly verified detail.

Thompson was Churchill’s protection officer from 1921 till 1930, briefly in 1931-32, and from 1939 until 1945. He himself published four books about his experiences: Guard from the Yard (1938), / Was Churchill’s Shadow (1951), Sixty Minutes with Winston Churchill (1953), and Assignment Churchill (1956). This new book contains plenty that was published there, but much new material, found by Thompson’s great-niece in an old suitcase many years later.
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Spencer Churchill (p) at Harrow School 1888-1892

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 30

By Geoffrey J. Fletcher • Part I

A FRESH LOOK at Winston Spencer Churchill’s career at Harrow, and the Headmaster, Masters and Harrow boys who influenced and inspired him.


Before going to public (private) school, a boy of Churchill’s class in the 1880s was sent to a suitable prep school. Young Churchill at the age of seven was sent in November 1882 to St. George’s at Ascot: expensive, modern with electric light, and a marked preference for Eton College, where men of the Marlborough family, including Winston’s father, had been educated since the 18th century.

The Head Master was the Reverend Herbert William Sneyd-Kinnersley (1848-1886), a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, who had founded St. George’s in 1877. Aged 34 when Winston entered, he was an unpleasant snob with two coats of arms, one each for his double-barreled name—and a cruel pervert. He flogged the boys with religious fervour, until blood was drawn, sometimes up to twenty strokes. An alumnus described him as “an unconscious sodomite.”
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Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas – What Did WSC Say about Stalin?

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 29


Q: Stalin’s foreign minister Moiotov maintains in his memoirs (Conversations avec Moiotov, Paris: Albin Michel 1995, 75), that Sir Winston Churchill in 1959 spoke in laudatory terms about Stalin: (“Staline a ete un homme d’une energie exceptionelle”). Is this true?
—Andrea Graziosi, Professor of History, Universita di Napoli “Federico II”

A: Although Churchill made no • speech about Stalin in 1959 (indeed no speeches at all in the Commons after his retirement in 1955), the words “Staline a ete un homme d’une energie exceptionelle” rang a bell. I found something similar in Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons on 8 September 1942. From Churchill, The End of the Beginning (War Speeches 1942), London: Cassell, 1943, 216-17:
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23RD INTERNATIONAL CHURCHILL CONFERENCE – “Churchill in the Land of Lincoln”: A Certain Dash of of Eloquence

Finest Hour 133, Winter 2006-07

Page 24

By Philip and Susan Larson

Churchill was well received by the city of Chicago on all three of his visits, and fondly noted in local newspapers of the day. Churchill for his part avowed “there is a splendor in Chicago and a life thrust that is all its own”


Several weeks before the opening of the Chicago conference, Churchillians were invited to the City Council and office of Mayor Richard M. Daley for the presentation of a Churchill Proclamation, recognizing the conference’s historical significance and officially welcoming The Churchill Centre and its members, as matters of public record.

Nearly two hundred Churchillians gathered along the shore of Lake Michigan to learn more of Churchill’s relationship with the city through his three visits in 1901, 1929 and 1932. His travels to Chicago, and America at large, are a snapshot of his maturation as a statesman and world leader. The conference theme, “Churchill in the Land of Lincoln,” embodied the conference focus.
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