Churchill in the News

Orwell and Churchill

It’s the 50th anniversary of George Orwell’s prescient masterpiece 1984, to which end The Sunday Times published a review by Robert Harris on May 31st.1984first1

But in praising 1984, Harris finds the need to take a whack at Churchill-which he does with singular inaccuracy: “Given that only five years previously Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin had divided up the world into ‘zones of influence’ at the Teheran conference, [Orwell’s] vision did not seem entirely fantastic.”

What is fantastic is where people get such notions. “Zones of influence” came up not at Teheran but at the Moscow (“Tolstoy”) conference between Churchill and Stalin a year later, with the Red Army now far advanced in eastern Europe. Its only effect was to allow Churchill to save Greece from a communist revolution (temporarily; Stalin had another go a few years later). And the only reason we even know about the Moscow agreement was because Churchill freely described it in his war memoirs.
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Bulldog Not

LONDON, JANUARY 12TH (REUTERS)- The classic British bulldog, a symbol of defiance and pugnacity, may now disappear. A shake-up of breeding standards by the Kennel Club has signalled the end of the dog’s Churchillian jowl. Instead, the dog will have a shrunken face, a sunken nose, longer legs and a leaner body. THE British Bulldog Breed Council is threatening legal action against the Kennel Club. Chairman Robin Searle said: “What you’ll get is a completely different dog, not a British bulldog.”

Finest Hour referred this one to longtime colleague, prominent motoring writer and bulldog partisan Graham Robson, who wrote: “As a long-time bulldog owner (your editor has met various of my much-loved mutts) I am at once delighted and appalled by what is being proposed. Loud-mouthed critics of ‘traditional’ bulldogs talk about breathing difficulties (usually untrue), too-fat bodies (only some breeders encourage this-mine never), heads too large and legs too short (arguable-none of mine were ever grotesque), and difficulties in delivering puppies without a vet’s help (unfortunately true).
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Churchill Centre Honors Lady Soames

The Churchill Centre honored its Patron, The Lady Soames LG DBE, Sir Winston’s daughter, with a unique dinner at The Pierre Hotel in New York City on Thursday, May 28th. Chairman Laurence Geller and Mr. and Mrs. Winston Churchill hosted the event, held in support of the Centre’s work. Also attending were Sir Winston’s granddaughter, the Hon. Celia Sandys. Most attendees were from the New York City area but others, including Marcus and Molly Frost, traveled across the country to be part of this wonderful evening.

Lady Soames became the Centre’s second Patron in 1983, following Lord Mountbatten of Burma, who was killed by terrorists in 1979. Her first event was a London dinner during the first of seventeen Churchill Tours sponsored by the organization, and numerous events since have been honored by her presence. Centre events since. Patron is a role we don’t try to define too narrowly, but it certainly includes acting a guide and sounding board to every initiative, even to the material in our publications.
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Black Swans Return

“All the black swans are mating, not only the father and mother, but both brothers and both sisters have paired off. The Ptolemys always did this and Cleopatra was the result. At any rate I have not thought it my duty to interfere.”

-WSC to his wife, Chartwell, 21 January 1935

WESTERHAM, KENT, MAY 26TH- Seventy-five years ago Lady Diana Cooper surveyed Chartwell’s birds: “five foolish geese, five furious black swans, two ruddy sheldrakes, two white swans-Mr. Juno and Mrs. Jupiter, so called because they got the sexes wrong to begin with, two Canadian geese (‘Lord and Lady Beaverbrook’) and some miscellaneous ducks.”Photo courtesy of the National Trust

Chartwell’s black swans have been looked after as zealously as the apes on Gibraltar (Finest Hour 125:6), but over the years marauding foxes and mink reduced the population, which reached zero last year. Happily last winter, Chartwell head gardener Giles Palmer installed a new floating “swan island” to provide natural protection, and two new black swans (Cygnus atratus) are now cruising the ponds designed by Sir Winston himself.
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Sir Martin Wins the Bradley

WASHINGTON, JUNE 3RD- One of four 2009 Bradley Prizes, each carrying a stipend of $250,000, was presented to CC Honorary Member and Trustee Sir Martin Gilbert, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“The Bradley Foundation selected Sir Martin Gilbert for his compelling work in historical research and his commitment to freedom,” said Foundation President and CEO Michael W. Grebe. “Sir Martin’s seminalwork in history has been widely acclaimed, and his work is considered the standard in its field.”
Sir Martin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1995 for “services to British history and international relations,” and earlier was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He is an Honorary Fellow at Merton College, Oxford, a Distinguished Fellow at Hillsdale College, and the author of seventy books, specializing in the two World Wars, the Holocaust and scholarly atlases in addition to his Churchill work.

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Rare WWII Photographs Discovered

Fixed in a black-paged book, covered in a tan-coloured material, the album contains 41 photos.

While many of the images show buildings and scenery from The North African Campaign between 1940 and 1943, others give a rare personal insight into the conflict.

One picture shows soldiers enjoying a cigarette by a Nazi plane after Brit forces had conquered an African airfield in late 1942. Read more…


Jack French Kemp 1935-2009

Correrai ancor piu veloce per le vie del cielo

©Richard Langworth

Editor, Finest Hour

21 May 2009

On Eleuthera, where we live from December to April, there was vast fascination, as one might expect, in the recent U.S. Presidential election. One of the virtues of this Bahamas island far out in the Atlantic is that racism, in the sense we all know it in the so-called First World, doesn’t really exist. On our easy-going tropical strand, amid the smiles of welcoming locals and old friends who have known each other for years, it just doesn’t seem to matter whether the face in front of you is black or white.

So it was perfectly natural for the wife of our local grocer to ask me in all innocence and without rancor: “Is it possible for a non-white to be elected President?”…

…And for me to reply without even a thought: “Sure. In fact it was possible twelve years ago, if the ticket had been Colin Powell and Jack Kemp.”

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Churchill’s Ship Finds New Home

By Rob Virtue on May 14, 2009, 4:07 PM

The boat that carried the body of Sir Winston Churchill on its final journey to a burial in Bladen has itself found a safe haven in the Docklands.

In 1965, after the funeral at St Paul’s, the Havengore took Churchill’s coffin from Tower Pier to Festival Pier where it left by train to Oxfordshire for burial.

The death of the great statesman left a mark on Chris Ryland, 61, and ultimately led to the Gloucestershire businessman securing its future.

He said: “I hitchhiked at 15 on the Thursday before the funeral and queued up for hours to see the coffin. I had this feeling for history and had this opportunity to restore a very historic boat.

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A Churchill is Back

LONDON, MARCH 20TH- A Churchill will once again hold dominion over Westminster. Duncan Sandys, Sir Winston’s affable 35-year-old great grandson who sits as a Conservative councillor on the city council, is a shoo-in as the next Lord Mayor of Westminster, after he was put forward as the official Tory candidate for the election in May. Sandys, who serves on the Churchill Memorial Trust Council and is a grandson of Lord Duncan-Sandys, the former cabinet minister, will be the youngest person to occupy the role.

-Tim Walker, Daily Telegraph

WSC – “Badass of the Week”


FEBRUARY 15TH- We were amused by a Churchill-derived comment describing the new digital activity known as “blogging” (personal web logs) and Internet chatrooms: “Never have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.” However, some bloggers have interesting angles.

Take for example “Amazing Ben” ( a 28-year-old college administrator, whose style is, well, different.

Churchill, Ben says, was known “for his unyielding tenaciousness and his awesome ability to train killer attack hounds to run up and bite Fascists in the jugular when they weren’t looking…one of the most badass world leaders of the modern era. This dude was a totally righteous asskicker who enjoyed puffing on Cuban cigars, shooting guns, drinking copious amounts of booze, and kicking Nazis in the ___ ___ with a size 10 steel-toed boot, and he didn’t give a crap about anything that didn’t further his goal of accomplishing one of those four tasks. He fought hard, partied hard, wore a lot of totally awesome suits, and pretty much always looked like he’d just stepped out of a badass 1930s pulp fiction detective story.”
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Winston is Back (In Eight Volumes)

Finest Hour 142, Spring 2009

LONDON, JANUARY 23RD- The BBC announced that President Obama has sent George W. Bush’s Jacob Epstein bust of Winston Churchill packing from the Oval Office (while retaining a bust of Abraham Lincoln). This touched off a buzz of media speculation over the implied symbolism of his action.

The bust is one of four or five copies sculpted by Jacob Epstein, and regarded as the most valuable of its kind ever commissioned. This example is from the British government collection at Cockburn Street, London; another is at Windsor and others are in private hands.

In 2001, President Bush explained: “My friend the Prime Minister of Great Britain heard me say that I greatly admired Winston Churchill and so he saw to it that the government loaned me this and I am most honored to have this Jacob Epstein bust of Winston Churchill.” In the years since, some demanded its return, claiming that Bush was undeserving or was using it to proclaim himself another Churchill. In fact, he was simply an admirer of WSC, like most of us.

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The Bengali Famine

The editors of Finest Hour wish to bestow their 2008 Utter Excess Award on MWC (“Media With Conscience”) News in Vancouver for its November 18th editorial by Gideon Polya, charmingly entitled, “Media Lying Over Churchill’s Crimes”

“Churchill is our hero because of his leadership in World War 2,” Polya writes, “but his immense crimes, notably the WW2 Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-1945 Bengal Famine in which Churchill murdered 6-7 million Indians, have been deleted from history by extraordinary Anglo-American and Zionist Holocaust Denial.”

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A Fresh Case of “Generational Chauvinism”

For immediate release
From: The Churchill Centre
Tel. (888)WSC-1874 • Email:

LONDON, APRIL 18TH: From today’s Times: “Anybody repeating the bonkers mantra that Beijing 2008 will re-run the 1936 Nazi Olympics might reconsider some other racial views of that era, such as Winston Churchill’s considered opinion that ‘Chinks’ and ‘dirty baboos’ in the East needed a good thrashing with ‘the sjambok.'”

This intriguing remark sent us scurrying to our scans of 50 million words by and about Winston Churchill including all of the latter’s books, articles, speeches and published papers.

“Chinks” comes up 21 times, mostly in relation to chinks in walls or armour, only once in relation to the Chinese. “Baboos” has nine appearances, mostly in the words of Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph. The only WSC quotation with both epithets is from Andrew Roberts, Eminent Churchillians (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994):

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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.