Bulletin #29 – Nov 2010
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By Suzanne Sigman
After a thirty-seven-year career as a history teacher in public schools, Mark Ellwood retired—and promptly accepted a similar position in a private Christian school. They charged him with developing new AP programs in history and were immediately receptive when he proposed a yearlong history elective on Churchill, which began in September. After appropriate revision and refinement, Mark will give us the curriculum to put on the Teachers section of our web site. The Churchill Centre provided class quantities of My Early Life, Thoughts and Adventures and The Gathering Storm. The course is full with 25 students and will also be offered in future years.
Students need to have taken Western Civilization in order to qualify for the course, which is by application only. Because fifty-five students wanted to take the course, the administration is working to add a second section next year.
Parents were so enthusiastic about the Churchill course they requested an adult education version – Mark is managing to handle this as well, one night a week, He also reports that he has had inquiries from teachers at several other local schools who are interested in the course, and he plans to consult with them. It’s good news to have a popular and respected teacher, with forty years of experience, introducing Churchill to a new generation.
The photo shows Mark’s students holding their copies of My Early Life (Eland Edition, from Britain).
By Dan Moulton
A dozen members of the Boston Athenaeum WW II Discussion Group has the opportunity to visit Ken Rendell’s private World War II Museum in Natick, Massachusetts on September 25, 2010. Six in the group are Churchillians.
Our visit to the Mr. Rendell’s WW II Museum was a truly memorable experience. When you approach the museum building itself the façade, concrete building with two American Flags for decoration, gives no hint of the wealth of material exhibited within, the diversity of the collection quickly becomes evident. Communications equipment and apparatus, armaments, uniforms, flags, posters, personal effects that belonged to key figures in WWII as well as war related items produced during this time period, newspaper clippings, and other documents are just a few of the categories of material on display. There are life-size, specially fabricated mannequins of Churchill, Hitler, and Montgomery, a number of vehicles, including an impressive and restored WWII tank. You discover many unique items such as Allied parachutes with their foot-high fiber “soldier” dummies released in the sky as part of disinformation programs. Every room in the museum is chocked full of interesting material. Not to be missed are the restrooms, which are lined with WWII posters. There is so much material here that you are encouraged to come back and find all those things you missed the first, second, or third time. The museum’s holdings are extensive and the entire collection cannot be displayed at any one time the collection is rotated in an out of storage. Each subsequent visit may reveal new items in the exhibits Ken Rendell has published a pop-up companion book entitled “World War II”, subtitled “Saving the Reality” and further, “A Collector’s Vault”, this is a must have for WW II devotees and quite aptly describes the museum itself.
You can visit the museum’s website here.
Review of the just released “Walking with Destiny”
By Judy Kambestad
Irvine (Orange County), CA. November 7 – Filmmaker Richard Trank selected the years 1940 and 1941 for his film, Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny. These years, according to Trank, were Churchill’s finest. He saved England and the rest of the free world in 1940 by not losing the war with Hitler that year, but by opposing Hitler with his ‘bulldoggedness’. Walking With Destiny takes the viewer through these two years; the originally reluctant King to accept Churchill as his war leader, the Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax oppositions, Churchill’s pleas to President Roosevelt for support and FDR’s reluctance and then lend-lease, Hitler’s parades and speeches, and finally December 7, 1941, that brought the United States into the war.
Walking With Destiny is a finely edited and narrated documentary with some familiar film and some never seen before. The poignancy of the King and Queen inspecting London after a particularly terrible bombing; Churchill with ‘Clemmie’ uplifting the spirits of citizens among the ruins of bombed buildings viewers have seen before, but they are still just as emotionally strong and needed to tell the story. Churchill’s relationship with Petain and the Vichy government followed by the bombing of the French fleet is shown and how heavy that decision lay on Churchill. The story and agony of crossing the Channel and back from Dunkirk is vivid. But it is the film of a bombed London that the viewer will remember.
Celia Sandys and Winston Churchill’s comments bring warm, friendly authentic moments, and relief, from war scenes to the story. Ben Kingsley superbly narrates. Sir Martin Gilbert provides historic accuracy; his narrations tell the story behind the story. The movie goers in the theater gave a loud ovation at the end. Richard Trank answered questions until time for the next showing and had to continue Q&A in the lobby of the theater. Highly recommend for all Churchillians.
Read the Reviews:
NEW YORK CHURCHILLIANS
By Tina Santi Flaherty
What is it about Winston Churchill that turns us all into Energizer bunnies at one time or the other? Perhaps it’s his gargantuan appetite for life–the best of it, the all of it and living it on the edge–that charges our batteries and makes us want to be in lockstep with his accelerated speed and vision.
When Celia and John Lee, respected military historians and authors of the new book, THE CHURCHILLS: A Family Portrait, arrived in New York, I like to think that the psychic hand of Sir Winston grabbed those of John and Celia’s and didn’t let go for seven straight days. In rapid-fire succession, Celia and John spent their first two days lecturing at two of New York most prestigious private clubs, The Lotos and The University, followed by an evening presentation at Hunter College’s famous Danny Kaye Playhouse on New York’s upper east side. The audiences for all three of these lectures were mesmerized by the Lee’s scholarly presentation that challenged many of the erroneous myths perpetuated long ago by Winston Churchill’s political enemies. Attendees were particularly enthralled when Celia put on her long white gloves and tenderly held the actual Will of Lord Randolph and read passages from it. After their presentation a long line formed to purchase books, which Celia and John personally inscribed.
I had heard about the Lee’s new book from my friend Basia Hamilton, the glorious portrait artist and the wife of Ian Hamilton, the great nephew of Churchill’s good friend, General Sir Ian Hamilton. Previously the Lees had each written books about Sir Ian and his wife, Jean. I asked Basia, who has painted the portraits of everyone from the Queen Mother, Pope John Paul II, to “Fergie,” The Duchess of York (and lesser lights, like me and my dogs), if she knew the Lees and could she possibly find a way for me to meet them on the phone. “Absolutely and consider it done, ” she replied, not bothering to tell me that it was she who had introduced the Lee’s to Peregrine Churchill, the son of Winston’s brother, Jack. Peregrine wanted the Lees assistance to help him organize his large collection of Churchill family papers and other memorabilia that he had on hand.
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WINSTON CHURCHILL SOCIETY OF MICHIGAN
By Bob Pettengill
The Winston Churchill Society of Michigan met on October 21, 2010 – the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s first speech to occupied France in 1940, delivered over the BBC in French as bombs fell on London. In commemoration Dick Marsh, Society president, read the speech (in English) – God Protect France (Dieu Protégé La France). Celebrating the day was an excellent context for revisiting and remembering this historic event. We were reminded that as is the case with all of Churchill’s speeches there is soaring rhetoric and memorable passages. “We are waiting for the long promised invasion. So are the fishes.” And, “Remember that we will never stop, never weary, and never give in…” The speech ends – (“Allons, bonne nuit; dormez bien”) “Good night then: Sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come. Brightly it will shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.”
Reading of this speech concluded the meeting. The featured speaker for the evening was Dr. Will Morrissey, Associate Professor of Political Science at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale Michigan. Professor Morrisey teaches courses in political philosophy, American politics and international relations. He has published in several newspapers and journals and has written seven books including “Reflections on de Gaulle: Political Founding in Modernity.” He is currently working on a book on the geopolitical strategies of Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle. His topic was on this aspect of Churchill and de Gaulle. De Gaulle was marginalized during the war in terms of prosecution of the war. The substantive relationship of Churchill and de Gaulle involved post war matters particularly organizing against Communist influence in French politics. Dick Marsh observed that de Gaulle wrote to Clementine Churchill every year on the anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death.
Michael Malley, former president of the Michigan Society, told of us of his trip to South Africa for the World Cup but also to seek out the site of Winston Churchill’s memorable capture on November 15, 1899 during the Boer War. At the site near Colonso in Kwazula Natal is a modest iron fenced-in plaque commemorating the train wreck and Churchill’s capture. Michael also visited Spion Kop site of the famous battle between 20,000 British troops and 8,000 Boers. Oh, and he enjoyed the safari parks and the soccer matches except for the now infamous vuvuzela horns.
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An excerpt of the recently released new work – Part 1 of 2
The kind permission was given by Celia and John Lee, along with their publisher, to run an excerpt in two parts from their recently released new book, The Churchills, A Family Portrait. Part 1 is the marriage of Jack Churchill and Lady Gwendeline. Look for Part 2 in next month’s Chartwell Bulletin; the courtship and marriage of Winston and Clementine.
By 1907 the Churchill brothers had matured into two very good-looking young men. Winston, at five feet eight inches tall, with red hair and pale skin and a high color in his cheeks, was slightly smaller than his younger brother. Jack always looked tanned from his outdoor pursuits, and was well developed physically from his horse-riding activities with the Oxfordshire Hussars at the weekends, though his black hair was somewhat sparse at age twenty-seven.
Sometime in 1906-07, Jack found himself falling in love with the lovely Lady Gwendeline (“Goonie” as she was known in the family), a daughter of the earl by his second marriage. Born on November 20, 1885, Goonie had been educated at home by a governess, which was usual for ladies of the aristocracy. She was tall, with a good figure, dark hair, clear, blue eyes, and pale complexion, and there was something of an air of innocence about her. Goonie was “not considered beautiful in the conventional sense of the word,” but she was described as lovely, and was “adored by all who knew her.” It was her “atmosphere and charm” that lent her a unique kind of inward beauty. She was a good conversationalist, and of a kind and understanding disposition, but witty, with a great sense of humor, and was very artistic, painting scenes in oils.
Jack and Goonie had been introduced by her same relative, Frank Bertie, who had introduced Randolph to Jennie in 1873. From 1906, Jack became a frequent visitor to Wytham Abbey.
Their romance began in earnest in the early summer of 1907. But as Jack had little in the way of money, and no title, they could not, for the time being, let her parents know about their romance. Jack used to make the seven-mile ride on horseback, from Blenheim to Wytham Woods, where Goonie would be waiting on horseback, and they met in secret. Meanwhile, Jack tried to improve his financial prospects sufficiently that he could approach her father for permission to marry her.
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By Roger Deakin
A second Churchill event was held in Essex, Connecticut on Thursday, October 21. The first event took place on June 8 in Essex, when at Joseph L. Hern, Chairman of the New England Churchillians of Boston, addressed a group of 118 about “Churchill in America, seen through the Boston visit.” The local organizers were supported by the appearance of D. Craig horn from Weddington, NC; the coordinator for the Eastern USA and now President of Churchill Centre, U.S.
The second event was attended by 163 people, who heard an illustrated lecture by Dr. John H. Maurer, Chair of the Strategy and Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island on the subject of Churchill and Roosevelt and the outbreak of the Pacific War. Dr. Maurer lecture was enthusiastically received.
Southeast Connecticut lies between New Haven and New London and is approximately halfway between Manhattan, the base of the New York Churchillians, and Boston. Since the residents of Fairfield County tend to gravitate towards New York City, it was felt that there might be enough interest in Southeast Connecticut alone to support the new chapter of the Churchill Centre. These two successful events encouraged this emergent idea.
CHURCHILL CENTRE UK – CHARTWELL
By Nigel Guest, Acting Chairman
We are delighted to report that a new branch of The Churchill Centre (UK) has been formed by a group of volunteers at Chartwell. Mr Randolph Churchill has accepted our invitation to be our first President of the new chapter. We intend to hold four meetings a year and make a special emphasis of bringing the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill and the principles for which he stood to a younger generation.
Although formed by volunteers from Chartwell, membership is open to all those interested in Sir Winston as well as all existing TCC members. Meetings are planned to be held both at Chartwell and a venue in Westerham, Kent, and it is hoped that international TCC members will make themselves known to us when visiting Chartwell and should their visit coincide with one of our meetings they would be very welcome guests.
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ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHURCHILLIANS
By Carol House
A fabulous Colorado fall day and a perfect day to be on the croquet lawn. The Rocky Mountain Churchillians held their 3rd annual Croquet event on Sunday October 17, 2010. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. With help from the Colorado Croquet Club and a Rocky Mountain Churchillian that is also a croquet member, Everett Engstrom, we all managed to make some good shots and many poor shots. We are a real group of amateurs but many laughs later we could all say a good time was had by all. Everyone brought a plate to share and a beverage of their choice for this end of season fun day.