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.
“They sent it by mail from Chicago and I had no idea at all what it was until I opened the parcel but it was a wonderful surprise.
“I was restricted by the Official Secrets Act from talking about it for many years after the war and that became a habit and 35 years went by with me saying nothing at all about it.
“Churchill’s grand daughter asked the question that anybody who had recollections of her grandfather Sir Winston and working with him, could they please get in touch and I was successfully nominated.
“I have only told family and friends about it to date but I am certainly very proud.”
Potsdam was held just two months after World War II had ended, a war in which Churchill had played a hugely influential role in bringing about an Allied victory over the Nazis.
Neville remembers being honoured to be given the assignment, although any delight at such a prestigious “job” was tempered by the immense sadness at such a huge Allied loss of life.
He said: “My marine comrades were sent on interesting and sometimes dangerous assignments.
“What I was doing was nothing compared to others, but I was very honoured. Churchill was a mighty figure during the war and commanded a great deal of respect.”
While serving as a councillor he met the former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani for advice on crime fighting and the pair formed a friendship over their shared interest in Churchill. He and his wife Margaret have two daughters, Jane and Kate.