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.”
Randy thanked Randolph and presented him with a coffee table book on Canada.
The final part of the evening was the announcement of the recipient of the Society’s annual award. This was Alphonse Griffiths, the self appointed curator of the Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Atlantic Charter memorial site. Randy stated that he would present Mr Griffiths with the award when attending the 70th anniversary of the historic meeting, in August of this year, at the memorial site.