Bulletin #30 – Dec 2010
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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.
By John David Olsen
NEW YORK, 30 November 2010 – On Tuesday November 30th, the occasion of Winston Churchill’s 136th birthday, the Christmas decorations were sparkling in New York City and so were the glasses of Pol Roger. It was the very evening of the famous lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, with the entire City abuzz and in a festive mood.
At the request of New York Churchillians co-president Randall Baker, Tina Flaherty kindly agreed to hold this year’s birthday event at her penthouse overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Our hostess for the evening, New York Churchillian Ms. Tina Flaherty, was resplendent in red, including the “other” Winston which she brought out for the party—the Winston with the famous jewelry shop windows on Fifth Avenue.
The English Speaking Union of New York kindly agreed to co-host the affair along with the New York Churchillians.
Upon arriving at the penthouse door, we were greeted by Ms. Flaherty and her retinue of uniformed staff presenting silver trays of flutes filled with Sir Winston’s favorite sparkling variety. Our hostess took it seriously when Churchill said while visiting New York in 1931, “First things first. Get the Champagne.1”
Once this important business was handled, we were led upstairs to the drawing room and were greeted by Barbara Lopez, Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the English Speaking Union and her husband Richard. There was a celebratory buzz in the air and an excellent turnout of more than fifty in attendance to celebrate the great statesman’s birthday.
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ROCKY MOUNTIAN CHURCHILLIANS
By Carol House
DENVER, November 20th – The Rocky Mountain Churchillians (RMC) celebrated their 5th Annual Churchill Birthday dinner on Saturday evening November 20, 2010 at the Park Hill Golf Club. It was a lively evening with a Churchill book raffle and also a surprise guest. Mr. Mark Twain joined us and was pleased to recount the introduction he gave Mr. Churchill in New York on December 13, 1900. Mr. Churchill was on a U.S. Speaking tour and meeting with his friend Mr. Bourke Cochran. Mr. Twain was portrayed by one of our members Mr. Hugh Bingham. This fit nicely with the theme for our keynote presentation for the evening which was entitled “A Special Relationship: The Influence of Bourke Cockran on Winston Churchill.” Everett Engstrom’s presentation drew from the groundbreaking work of Michael McMenamin and Curt Zoller in their 2007 book Becoming Winston Churchill: The Untold Story of Winston Churchill’s American Mentor.
By Phil and Sue Larson
CHICAGO, November 19th – The Chicagoland Chapter hosted by Susan & Philip Larson welcomed 60 Churchillians for a black tie dinner with speaker Robert Chatteron Dickson, HMS Consul General-Chicago (13 Midwest states) . In attendance, at the Fairmont Hotel, were Churchill Centre Board Chairman Laurence Geller, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan and Chicago Tribune Editor Greg Burns. Mr. Dickson offered “Churchill for Today” as a stimulating subject to ponder and summed up with how relevant Churchill remains in the world arena today. Leanne Dumais, participant in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teacher Institute: WSC and the Anglo-American Relationship, enlightened members on her three week summer tour to the UK. She called the experience “life altering”.
The next chapter will be Spring 2011.
An excerpt of the recently released new work – Part 2 of 2
The Churchill family motto on their coat of arms, “Faithful But Unfortunate,” was an apt description of Winston’s romances to date. The thought of his political career and a life in the public eye, together with his lack of fortune, and his adventures in war, was too daunting a prospect for most young ladies to whom Winston proposed. He and Pamela, now the Countess of Lytton, were on the best of terms.
But a new love was about to enter Winston’s life. He had met Clementine Hozier again in March 1908 when her great-aunt, Lady St. Helier, gave a dinner party at her London home. Clemmie was the daughter of Sir Henry Montague Hozier and Lady Blanche née Airlie. Clemmie was also of noble and ancient lineage on her mother’s side as her grandparents were the Earl and Countess of Airlie who lived at Castle Airlie in Scotland. Henry had died in 1907, but Clemmie hardly knew her father. Her parents never got on and had lived apart from her childhood.
Be that as it may, at Lady St. Helier’s dinner party, Winston, having turned up late, seated himself in the chair next to Clemmie with whom he had been partnered. On this occasion, he finally got up the courage to engage her in conversation. Now aged twenty-two, Clemmie had matured into a radiant, beautiful redhead, with a fine complexion, and sparkling, green-hazel eyes. She possessed a natural charm and great intelligence, having been an excellent academic at school. Clemmie had been head girl at Berkhampstead School, where she excelled in French and German. When she left school, her mother was so hard up financially that Clemmie made a small living of her own, giving French lessons for payment. A firm Liberal, she had witnessed Winston in action in the Commons and was impressed by his speeches and admired him. He was taken by her beauty, charm, and intelligence, and they had something in common in their interest in politics. Clemmie was a no-nonsense type of girl, with her feet firmly on the ground, and was, without a doubt, the best girl in the world for Winston. Winston spent the rest of the evening in Clemmie’s company. He asked her if she had read his recent biography of his father, and when she told him she had not, he offered to send her a copy, but true to Winston, he forgot to do so.
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By Linda Metcalfe
VANCOUVER, 16 November – Mr. Ian Marshall, the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, stated that essays had been submitted by students from both the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). Mr Marshall then presented the $1,500 First Prize scholarship cheque, the Churchill Communication Challenge Trophy, and a personalized etched glass award to Dr. V. Jungic, who accepted these awards on behalf of his son Mr. Ozren Jungic, formerly of SFU and now studying at the University of Oxford. His First Prize paper was entitled: A Confluence of Objectives: British Policy Towards Yugoslavia During the Second World War. Dr. Jungic delivered a message from his son to the assembled Members and guests.
Mr. Marshall also presented the $750 Second Prize scholarship cheque and a personalized etched glass award to Mr. Robert Gagliano, formerly of UBC, who also briefly addressed the meeting. His Second Prize paper was entitled: “The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT)”.
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CHURCHILL SOCIETY OF GEORGIA
By Gary Garrison
ATLANTA, November 13th – The 136th birthday celebration of Sir Winston was held by the Winston Churchill Society of Georgia Saturday 13 November at the Capital City Club. Attendance was the largest ever in Atlanta for this event.
The guest of honor and featured speaker was Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London. Lynne highlighted some of the significant points in her book detailing how three Americans, Edward R. Murrow of CBS; John Gilbert Winant, U.S. Ambassador to England; and Averill Harriman, special representative of President Roosevelt played major roles in London during the war. Their efforts, which have been described as “historic” during those dark days when Prime Minister Churchill and the British people stood alone against Hitler and the Nazis.
Murrow’s role was significant through his nightly broadcasts from London in bringing a greater awareness of the reality of exactly what was happening an ocean away. He also at times in his broadcast subtly and not so subtly pushed for America’s involvement. Harriman was appointed by FDR to oversee the lend lease program. He too was a key figure in building relationships between the Brits and the Americans who suddenly flooded their country.
The role of Ambassador Winant was one hardly known to many Churchillians if at all. Winant was significantly effective in several capacities during his years in London in supporting the British. He is a major player who has been ignored or only briefly touched on by most historians. One really needs to read the book to be able to capture the feeling of what a great person he was, and what he did that contributed so much to winning the war.
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By Frank Shatz
THE VIRGINA GAZETTE, November 2010 – “I didn’t realize the Reveses had a falling out with Churchill. What was the cause of that?” This was one of the many comments in response to my recent Gazette column, “Churchill & Reves.“
In that column I noted that in spite of the heartbreak caused by the breach of friendship, Emery Reves didn’t hold Churchill responsible. He assigned the blame to Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate. But in fact, the reason for the end to the longstanding and deep-rooted friendship between the Churchills and the Reveses, was more complicated.
During the years 1956, 1957 and 1958, Churchill spent about a third of each year at the Villa La Pausa, the Reveses palatial home on the French Riviera.
“We put an entire floor of La Pausa at the disposal of Sir Winston,” Wendy Reves told me. “He had a large bedroom there, Anthony Montague Browne, his private secretary, an office, Lady Churchill, her own suite, and there were numerous guest rooms. They were never empty while Churchill was at the villa. He could invite anybody, and he did.”
The dinner party’s at La Pausa were legendary. Among the guests were West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the Duke of Windsor, Charles de Gaulle, Greta Garbo, Somerset Maugham, and many other notables. The one who longed to be invited, but wasn’t for a long time, was Aristotle Onassis.
“I never liked Onassis, and avoided to have anything to do with him,” Emery Reves once told me.
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INTERNATIONAL CHURCHILL SOCIETY CANADA
By Terry Reardon
TORONTO, November 9th – An “Evening with Sir Winston” was held in the historic Albany Club. Chairman Randy Barber updated the members and guests on the upcoming events including the Churchill Centre Conference in Charleston, and that he was working on having a “blockbuster” speaker for the annual dinner to be held, on May 10, 2011, the anniversary of the day in 1940 when Churchill became Prime Minister.
The speaker for the event was Dr. Eric McGeer, who holds a PhD from the Université de Montreal and teaches at St. Clements School in Toronto. Dr. McGeer is an authority on the WW2 Italian Campaign, with books published including Ortono & The Liri Valley and Sicily & Southern Italy.The subject of his talk was “Claiming the Lion’s share: Churchill, Alexander and the Gothic Line,” wherein he talked of the major battles in which 93,000 Canadians served. He spoke of the importance of the Campaign, although the United States, gave it low priority. Their strategy being a more direct assault in Southern and Northern France. In answering questions Dr. McGeer opined that Churchill’s intent to give high priority to the Campaign, in order to use this as a springboard into Eastern Europe, to occupy territory from the advancing Soviet army, was impractical, in view of the mountainous terrain they would have had to overcome.
Eric was thanked by Director, Cliff Goldfarb, for a most interesting and informative presentation.