The Place to Find All Things Churchill

Bulletin #36 – Jun 2011

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The Winston S. Churchill International Polo Cup to be held at Conyers Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut, Sunday, July 10th

Churchill once famously said, “A polo handicap is a passport to the world.” Sir Winston, as many Churchill scholars will attest, was a championship polo player while serving in India in the late 1890’s. He continued to play the sport until he was 52 (notably, he continued to ride until age 76). To honor his love of polo and equine sports, as well as his great affection for all animals, the New York Churchillians, in conjunction with the Churchill Centre in London, developed and host the Winston S. Churchill International Polo Cup, played annually at the Greenwich Polo Club at Conyers Farm. This championship high-goal polo game is sanctioned by the United States Polo Association. Last September, over 100 people attended the day’s match between “Emerging Traders” and “Team Churchill.” In a tight game, the final score was Traders, 9, Churchill, 8.

This year, the event will be hosted by Jack Churchill, Sir Winston’s great-grandson, and Laurence S. Geller, Chairman of the Churchill Centre, on July 10. The day begins with a champagne reception at 12:30 p.m., with a lunch directly following, hosted by sponsors including the 21 Club, Baccarat, Davidoff Cigars, and the Marusya Collection in the “Victory” tent. There will be two Polo matches, the first will be The Churchill Cup featuring Team Churchill at 1:30, then a second match at 3:00—followed by Awards Presentation by Jack Churchill at 5:30 pm.

In addition to the exciting action on the field, this year there will be a children’s play area, a “Doggie Pet Parade” with awards, a Ferrari car show, and Churchill Cigar Lounge offering the Sir Winston Churchill Cigar Collection by Davidoff. It promises to be another outstanding day of polo for players and spectators.

For tickets and tables, please call Randall Baker at 917.921.6049

Photos courtesy of Paolo Giorno Photography

Mary Paxson Resigns Her Position at The Churchill Centre

After nearly four years of dedicated service to The Churchill Centre, Mary Paxson will be leaving as our Director of Administration. Her last day was this past Friday June 10th. Mary has taken a new position with Harris Bank in Chicago as Project Analyst in their Community Affairs Department.

Mary’s tireless commitment to the Centre will be dearly missed, but we of course wish her all the greatest success in her new position. Lee Pollock, TCC’s Executive Director, noted “It has been a great pleasure working with Mary. The warmth and affection in which she is held by our members are testament to her dedication to our organization and the outstanding service she has provided.”

In her letter of resignation, Mary said, “I would never have been considered for my new position if it were not for the three and a half years that I have spent at The Churchill Centre. The wealth of knowledge and many experiences will continue with me as I head into this next chapter of my life. Although I am blessed and excited to have been offered this opportunity, I am also very sad in my heart to leave TCC. “

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A Visit with the New House Manager at Chartwell

May 2011

Churchill Centre Executive Director Lee Pollock recently visited Chartwell, the Churchill family home in Kent, and met with the new House & Collections Manager, Alice Martin. In this CB interview, Alice talks about her background and some of the new initiatives she’s planning for this great and historic home.

Alice, CB’s readers would be interested in learning more about your background. How did you first become involved with museums and historic homes? Was it an interest of yours when you were growing up or part of your education later on? (And any “Churchillians” in your family?)

I have always had a fascination with history and museums from when I was a very small child and grew up on dreams of being Indiana Jones. I had a peripatetic upbringing coming from a diplomatic family with the one constant in whatever madcap country we were stationed being the cool calm of a museum. Having wanted to work in museums since a very early age I completed a Classics degree followed by a Masters in Museums Studies. I then worked for five years at the Imperial War Museum before running a museums service down on the Southwest coast of England. No Churchillians in my family sadly, although my great grandparents met and married whilst living in a stately home – but they were strictly below stairs!

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70th Anniversary of the Atlantic Charter – August 13th and 14th, 2011

Come celebrate with the Atlantic Charter Foundation, the International Churchill Society of Canada and the Atlantic Council of Canada as we celebrate the historic “First Summit” meeting between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, which produced the Atlantic Charter.

On Saturday August 13th plan to join us for a special commemorative dinner at RCS St. John’s (formerly historic Fort Pepperrell), which will be attended by the Lieut. Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Eminent political scientist Peter Russell has recently published a new booklet about the Atlantic Charter, and he will be the guest speaker. For more information and for a registration form to attend this event please provide your contact information on the “Contact Us” section of this web-site. We would be very pleased to see you!

On August 14, 2011 the celebration will continue at the Atlantic Charter site which is located at Ship Harbour, Placentia Bay. Included in the ceremony will be a repeat of the order of service which took place on board HMS Prince of Wales in August 1941, as well as an interpretive talk, and a number of other special activities.

See the Calendar of Events for the full event and contact information

We look forward to seeing you!

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Memorial Service Held for the Late Mrs Yvonne Henriette Marie Spencer-Churchill (1924-2010)

By Celia Lee

A memorial service was held for the late Mrs Yvonne Henriette Marie Spencer-Churchill (4th May 1924-14th December 2010), at St. Martin’s Church, Bladon, Oxfordshire, on Saturday 28th May 2011, at 11.00 a.m.

Canon Adrian Daffern conducted the service which began with a welcome to the forty three members of the family and friends in attendance, and which included:

Peregrine and Yvonne Spencer Churchill in the early 1960sHis Grace 11th Duke of Marlborough of Blenheim Palace; Clarissa, the Countess of Avon, sister-in-law to Yvonne; Cornelia (Sally) The Lady Ashburton and her husband John, Sally being Yvonne’s niece; Mary, the Lady Soames; Mrs Minnie S. Churchill and Mr Simon Bird; the Honourable and Mrs Peregrine Bertie; the Honourable Celia Sandys, Mr and Mrs Randolph and Catherine S. Churchill and their daughters; Mr and Mrs David and Marina Brounger and their children; Mr and Mrs Jack and Charlotte S. Churchill and their children; Mr & Mrs R.H. Spencer; the Honourable Iris Dawnay who was a close friend to Yvonne; Mr Allen Packwood Director, the Churchill Archives Centre; and Mrs Anthea Morton-Saner, formerly Manager of Curtis Brown the Churchills’ literary checking agency.

The organist was Dr Charles Mould of Woodstock, and the congregation sang the Entrance Hymn, ‘O God, our help in ages past’, written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), and based on PSALM 90, and which was followed by the Bidding Prayer, recited by Canon Daffern.

Yvonne’s nephew, Mr Guillaume Jéhannin, who had come over from France, gave a fitting tribute to his aunt’s memory, with fond recollections of her and Peregrine from his childhood holiday visits to their London home and later to “Fairdown”, at Vernham Dean, Hampshire.

The Honourable Celia Sandys provided a graceful tribute, speaking of her knowledge of Yvonne from she was a little girl. There had been wonderful Christmases provided by Minnie and Winston which they had all much enjoyed together as a family. Celia acknowledged all those who touched Yvonne’s life, most specifically her lawyer from Peregrine’s time, Mr Robert Sykes, and her full-time carer, Mrs Sally Jones. The book THE CHURCHILLS by Celia and John Lee had cheered Yvonne to see her husband’s father, Jack Churchill, included in the family history.

Both Guillaume and Celia emphasised the great and enduring love that had existed between Yvonne and Peregrine in a perfect marriage. Whilst Guillaume brought a smile to the lips of the congregation by joking about his ‘charming’ French accent, Celia did likewise, when she said that such was Yvonne’s dedication to Peregrine she was now in heaven perfecting paradise for him.

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Douglas S. Russell Speaks to the Society in Michigan


By Robert Pettengill

Meeting notes: May 14, 2011

The Winston Churchill Society of Michigan met on May 14, 2011 at the Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Richard Marsh, Society President, introduced the Hon. Douglas S. Russell the principal speaker who is known to Churchill Centre members as an active member over the years and as a Mary Soames Associate of the Centre. He served in the United States Army, Military Intelligence and now serves as a Judge of the Iowa District Court and lives in Iowa City.

Douglas Russell’s most recent book is Winston Churchill: Soldier: The Military Life of a Gentleman at War. His talk focused on the material in the book and as he explained less on the much written about statesman and more about Churchill’s early life. Throughout these formative years Churchill had a sense of destiny. He aspired to statesman following and eventually besting his father’s accomplishments. To the younger Winston, as to many British of his class and military rank, war was an adventure. A turning point in Winston’s attitude came as a result of the battle with the Dervishes, “The River War”, the Omdurman campaign. There the excitement of the battle was followed by his tour of the battle ground and its horrific scenes. Also, Churchill was particularly critical of Kitchener over the killing of wounded Dervish soldiers, the profaning, the destruction, of the Mahdi’s tomb and the decapitating of the corpse for purposes of display. Doug’s talk also recounted Churchill’s Boer War experience including capture and escape as well as other episodes. His talk and following Q&A’s were well received by this friendly audience. All of the books on hand for sale were quickly sold-out.

Other items of local interest were covered. Richard Marsh reported on area showings of “Winston Churchill, Walking with Destiny” a production by Moriah Films of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This film “highlights Churchill’s years in the political wilderness, his early opposition to Adolf Hitler and Nazism, and his support for Jews under threat by the Nazi regime”. Sir Martin Gilbert was the historical consultant. Dick Marsh is in attendance at these showings to make a short presentation and to answer questions.

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2011 Annual Dinner of ICS Canada


By Terry Reardon

TORONTO, May 12, 2011 — The Annual Dinner of ICS Canada was held in the historic Albany Club, with a “full house” of 162 Members and Guests. The Head Table was “piped in” and Chairman Randy Barber thanked the piper with a dram of a dark liquid. Randy introduced the Head Table, which included, his wife Solveig, Barbara and Richard Langworth, Churchill Centre Executive Director, Lee Pollock, and the Guest Speaker, Randolph Churchill.

Gordon Walker, ICS Canada Director, introduced the Guest Speaker, the great grandson of Sir Winston. Gordon said that the death of Sir Winston and the birth of Randolph occurred in January 1965, with the front page of the Times newspaper, which was usually devoted to advertisements and public announcements, recording details of the passing of the Great Man, and the back page announcing the birth of Randolph. So the torch was passed. Randolph began by stating how touched his family was with the devotion to Sir Winston’s memory in the United States and Canada, and by the high quality of the Finest Hour magazine. He spoke of the great part played by Canada in WW2 with 14,000 Canadians landing on Juno Beach on D Day, and making the greatest advance that day by any of the participating countries. Randolph read out a letter from Sir Winston to General Hamilton, after the battle of Omdurman in 1898, which included his criticism of Lord Kitchener, regarding his treatment of the wounded Dervishes. This criticism, which he also included in a newspaper article on the Battle, showed his humanity, in spite of the adverse effect on his military career.

Randolph amused the audience with family stories. One he was told by Grace Hamblin, Clementine Churchill’s, private secretary. “Winston gave my father, also named Winston, when he was four years old, train sets for Christmas and said ‘let’s put two trains back to back and see them crash.’ ” Also when he was 12 years old, and Clementine was 91 and had poor eyesight, he was given a pony for his birthday, and Clementine commented, “What a big dog.” On Winston’s love of animals he would not have any raised on his farm killed, stating, “I never eat anything that I say good morning to.”

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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.

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