January 1, 1970

Of the ‘big three’ Allied leaders (the others were Stalin and Roosevelt), it was Churchill who did the most travelling during the Second World War, to keep up the necessary discussions, strategy meetings and negotiations. Although the battleships on which he travelled were Britain’s newest, and could cross the seas more speedily and adjust course more readily (to avoid German U-boats), these journeys were still not without considerable risk. (The ‘HMS Prince of Wales’, on which Churchill sailed to the US and the Atlantic Meeting in August 1941, was sunk only a few months later, off the coast of Malaya.)

In June 1942, General Sir Alan Brooke (he became Viscount Alanbrooke in 1946) – Churchill’s foremost military adviser – accompanied Churchill on one of his trips. They were heading off to meet American commanders in the US via the Boeing Clipper, a huge flying boat, at a time when flying across the Atlantic was still rare and relatively dangerous. Churchill, in his ubiquitous siren suit, was – according to Alanbrooke’s diaries – full of excitement and anticipation at the lengthy and dangerous trip over the Atlantic. ‘PM in tremendous form and enjoying himself like a schoolboy!’ (War Diaries, 1939–1945).

To learn more about Lord Alanbrooke, Churchill’s foremost political adviser, read the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry here.

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