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Yvonne Spencer Churchill 1924-2010 Print E-mail

We were informed of the sad news that Yvonne Henriette Marie Spencer Churchill passed away in her sleep on Monday, 13 December. Yvonne was the second wife of Henry Winston Peregrine Spencer Churchill and daughter-in-law to Major Jack Spencer Churchill, who was the brother of Winston Spencer Churchill. They had been married since 22 December 1957.

Yvonne has taken ill suddenly on Friday just before bedtime. Yvonne's caregiver called her private doctor just before 10:00 pm. He arrived promptly and diagnosed that she had the symptoms of a brain hemorrhage. An ambulance was immediately called and she was taken to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, but she had fallen into unconsciousness and she was no longer responding. And so it was to the end.

The Churchill family and Yvonne's friends, including Celia and John Lee, who had looked after her since Peregrine died suddenly in 2002, took it in turns to sit by her bedside. She died quietly and peacefully in her sleep, in a private room, just before 12:30 pm on Monday without having regained consciousness.

Celia Lee said that she and her husband John were over with Yvonne the Sunday before last, and "Yvonne was in good form and good health, all dressed up as usual and looked quite well. She looked as though she would live to be 100".

A pre-Christmas tea party had been organised to take place at Yvonne's flat this Sunday past. John Lee had the food ready, the presents were wrapped and the cards written. Alas never to happen.

Yvonne's lawyer Robert Sykes advised by e-mail on Tuesday that the funeral will take place in January.

Read the obituary written by Celia Lee here.


Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy Releases Their Annual Blue Book Print E-mail

The Toronto, Ontario based Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy has just released thier annual Blue Book. The Book contains all of the speeches from their 26th annual dinner, which was held last November. This is the first time that they have released the Book in electronic format.

This year's Blue Book contains an address by historian Lynn Olson entitled, "Troublesome Young Men" after her book of the same title. This past year's Excellence in the Cause of Parliamentary Democracy Award was presented to The Rt. Honourable Herb Gray by Chairman Robert A. O'Brien.

President of Chile Savours a Touch of Churchill Magic Print E-mail

Sebastian Piñera visits Cabinet War Rooms ahead of appointments today with David Cameron and the Queen

By Martin Hickman


THE INDEPENDENT, Monday, 18 October 2010 - Basking in the glory of the miners' rescue, Chile's President, Sebastian Piñera, started a state visit to Britain yesterday with a tour of Sir Winston Churchill's underground, Second World War headquarters.


In the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall, London, where the prime minister orchestrated the war effort and rallied the public during the Blitz, Mr Piñera refrained from uttering the words "blood, toil, tears and sweat" from his boyhood hero's 1940 speech, which he had kept at his side during the miners' ordeal.


Instead, he sat in Churchill's wooden chair and pulled from a suit pocket a small hessian sack containing a lump of rock taken from the San Jose mine, from which 33 miners were freed last week after 69 days below ground. He also offered as a gift to the War Rooms' director, Phil Reed, a facsimile of the first, red-lettered note from Los 33 saying "Estamos Bien en el refugio, los 33" ("We are doing well in our refuge, the 33.")

Overseen by Mr Piñera in a 22-hour operation, at the end of which he hugged every miner as they emerged from the emergency chute bored 622 metres under the Atacama desert, the extraordinary rescue has lifted his poll ratings and Chile's international standing, providing the ideal springboard for his long-planned tour of Europe

A billionaire businessman, the Harvard-educated economist is hoping that his visit will underline Chile's transition from an insular dictatorship to a democratic economic power - and attract inward investment. He is also hoping to banish any lingering memories of Augusto Pinochet, the last Chilean head of state to make headlines in the UK during his arrest 12 years ago for murdering civilians during the 1970s.


Read the entire article here at The Independent



27th International Churchill Conference Chairs Hold Newsreel Meeting at USC Print E-mail

Columbia, South Carolina, Monday, September 20, 2010

USC/MIRC Movietone Newsreel

Craig Horn, North Carolina Churchillians, Ken Childs, Bernard Baruch Chapter (South Carolina), co-chairmen of the 27th International Churchill Conference, March 24-26, 2011, in Charleston, SC, and Judy Kambestad, Churchillians of Southern California, and Conference Manager, met with Greg Wilsbacher, Curator, Newsfilm Collections, Moving Image Research Collection (MIRC), and staff at the University of South Carolina to preview the first pass at editing newsreels. Judy Kambestad had edited nine hours of film, most of it ‘historic' or unedited and unseen outtakes, down to two hours. Footage includes Churchill speaking on India in 1931. 1942 includes a speech to workers with Clementine and Mary Churchill in Yorkshire; arriving home by plane from Russia and the Far East; later trip in Moscow; and in Dover with General Smuts. 1943 includes Casablanca; partial speech to U.S. Congress; North Africa; Canada; Mary Churchill (The Lady Soames, LG, DBE) at Ft Oglethorpe, Georgia, USA visiting WACs base; Honorary Degree at Harvard; Tehran; watching paratroopers; and Mary Churchill, Second Subaltern, British Auxiliary Territorial Service, christening a US bomber with Coca Cola. In 1944 Churchill, Clementine and Mary watch a ‘buzz' bomb demonstration. Portions of the one-hour silent outtakes of unseen D-Day Normandy landings by the Canadian and British armed forces will be used at the end of the DVD.


It was decided at this meeting to edit the film to 45 minutes for the gift DVD for conference registrants, and a 30-minute DVD for classroom use. Select footage of all the newsreels will be shown during the conference, including both silent and Movietone Newsreels as shown in theaters made from the silent footage. This historic footage is drawn from USC's Fox Movietone News Collection, which includes rarely or never before seen materials from newsreel and armed forces cameramen. The gift DVD, done in Ken Burns' style with narration, subtitles, and music, will never be sold. There will be a conference edition only for registrants. USC/MIRC maintains the copyrights and is partnering with the Churchill Centre to produce this DVD.


Conference registration will be on the website November 1, 2010. See the Calendar of Events for details.


©Photo Courtesy of USC/MIRC Movietone Newsreel

World Focus - When to Talk to Terrorists Print E-mail

By Frank Shatz


Mitchell Reiss, the former director of the Reves Center for International Studies and dean for international affairs at the College of William & Mary, was inaugurated on Oct. 2nd, as the 27th president of Washington College, the first college chartered in the new nation. It was under the patronage of George Washington.


This event by itself has generated considerable public interest. In addition, however, Reiss' new book "Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists," a path-breaking analysis of controversial negotiations, has just hit the nation's bookstores.


"Negotiating with Evil," was first published as an original E-book by Open Road Integrated Media. According to a press release, Reiss said that he chose to publish with Open Road, because "Digital publishing is the way of the future....The book gets out very quickly, it's far less expensive than a traditional book, and it's a great way to reach a global audience."


The book is seen as a primer for decision makers in Washington. Presenting them with a historical record of how and why various governments around the world negotiated with "evil."


"Because it has largely occurred in the shadows, few protocols and little analysis of prior practice exist to help guide thought or action. Thus, each administration has to perform the policy equivalent of reinventing the wheel," Reiss said in an interview with the Gazette.


He is quoted saying, "Over the past three years, I've traveled around the world interviewing prime ministers, generals, intelligence officers and former terrorists. My goal has been to explore why governments have decided to talk to terrorist groups, understand the mistakes they've made and reveal the victories they've achieved."

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