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Bulletin #38 – Aug 2011

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Churchill Polo Cup Weekend in New York


By Randall Baker

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK Saturday July 9, 2011 — This year’s ‘Winston S. Churchill International Polo Cup’ weekend was launched by New York Churchillian Ms. Tina Flaherty. At her penthouse apartment, Ms. Flaherty hosted a lavish pre-polo party, with Pol Roger champagne flowing, to welcome Honorary Event Chair of the 2011 Polo Cup and great grandson of Sir Winston, Mr. Jack Churchill to Manhattan. Included among the many attending Churchillians were: Ms Sophie Perkins, Edwina Sandys (grand daughter of Sir Winston) with husband Richard Kaplan, Churchill Centre Executive Director Lee Pollock and wife Jill, Ms. Kathryn Collins, and New York Churchillian Presidents Gregg Berman and Randall Baker—accompanied by their wives Suzy Berman and Elena Baker. (Con’t)


This year, for the first time, The Churchill Centre is co-sponsoring a west coast benefactor party, dinner, gala, and polo event in San Francisco. The four events will benefit The Churchill Centre, The Churchill Museum in London, and the equine therapy program Horses in California.

For more event information, including online ticket purchase, please follow this link.

Ms. Flaherty’s apartment offers some of the grandest views of the Manhattan skyline, and with weather behaving perfectly, many took advantage of the outdoor decks and sampled the Davidoff Churchill Collection Cigars.

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The 2011 Winston S. Churchill Polo Cup Takes Place in Greenwich


By Randall Baker

GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT, Sunday July 10, 2011—Over 100 Churchillians and guests attended the high goal ‘Winston S.Churchill International Polo Cup’—played annually at the Greenwich Polo Club, Conyers Farm, CT. The match is produced and marketed jointly by the New York Churchillians and The Churchill Centre and Churchill War Rooms. Proceeds of the event go to the Centre in support of its programs that promote the life and leadership lessons of Sir Winston Churchill.

As most Churchillians are aware, Sir Winston was a championship polo player while serving in India in the late 1890’s. He once famously said “a polo handicap is a passport to the world”. Churchill played spirited polo until he retired at age 52—but continued riding until age 76! –a true horseman indeed. This ‘CUP’ was thusly named in honor of Sir Winston’s’ love of polo, all equine sports, and the affection he displayed for animals large and small.

As Honorary Event Chair Jack Churchill, great grandson of Sir Winston, and guests looked on, ‘White Birch’ played ‘Endeavor’ in a highly competitive match that flowed ‘back and forth’ with numerous lead changes and ultimately ‘White Birch’ prevailed:

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In Economic Turmoil, U.S. Needs a Leader Like Churchill

By David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst

CNN.COM, 8 August 2011 – Before returning to the States this weekend, I and others in my family spent enthralled hours at the Churchill War Rooms in London, along with the new museum in his honor next door. Now, there was a leader! There was a man whose example shouts out to us now in our hour of trouble.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the turmoil of this past week has sparked cries for those in political power to step up and for God’s sake, lead. Fears are spreading across Europe as well as the U.S. that not only are our economies teetering but our politicians are ineffectual.

In their summit a short while ago, leaders of European democracies promised they had fixed the problems of their weakest player, Greece. Instead, their solution was so timid that fears of default have spread to Italy and Spain, the third and fourth largest economies in the euro zone. In the U.S., President Obama and Congressional leaders assured us that their budget deal would put us on a safe path. Instead, markets plunged and Standard & Poors stripped our county of its AAA credit rating for the first time ever.

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H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Honours the Codebreakers of Bletchley Park

Finest Hour 152

BLETCHLEY PARK, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, JULY 15TH — The Queen unveiled a memorial sculpture by artist Charles Gurrey to wartime codebreakers during a historic visit to Bletchley Park today. In her dedication Her Majesty said:

‘We gather here to commemorate the work of that remarkable group of people.

“It is impossible to overstate the deep sense of admiration, gratitude, and national debt that we owe to all those men and, especially, women. They were called to this place in the greatest of secrecy—so much so that some of their families will never know the full extent of their contribution—as they set about on a seemingly impossible mission; a massive challenge in the field of cryptanalysis: for the first time pitting technology against technology. And so, these huts and buildings became the centre of a world-wide web of intelligence communications, spanning the Commonwealth and further afield.

‘This was the place of geniuses such as Alan Turing. But these wonderfully clever mathematicians, language graduates and engineers were complemented by people with different sets of skills, harnessing that brilliance through methodical, unglamorous, hard slog. Thus the secret of Bletchley’s success was that it became a home to all the talents.

“We can be proud of the legacy of Bletchley: proud that Colossus was the first computer, and that the British people, supported by our friends and allies, rose to the challenge. At heart we have always been a nation of problem solvers. This natural aptitude was taken to new heights by the emergency of war, showing that necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and that battles can be won, and many lives saved, by using brainpower as well as firepower; deliberation as well as force.

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Bella Sold PM Grandfather’s Art to Keep Festival Going

THE SOMERSET GAZETTE, 28 July 2011 – Wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been keeping a central Somerset charity alive.

On the eve of next week’s 30th anniversary Glastonbury Children’s Festival, the Second World War leader’s great-granddaughter has revealed for the first time the part that her famous ancestor has unknowingly played in the charity which was founded by her mother.

Arabella Churchill was a favoured granddaughter of Winston Churchill, the daughter of his son Randolph, and was photographed with her beloved grandfather several times.

Bella, as she was lovingly called by her family and friends, died aged 58 from pancreatic cancer in 2008.

While constantly highlighted for her familial links, she was most proud of her roles as organiser of the Glastonbury Festival’s children’s field and as the founder and organiser of the Glastonbury Children’s Festival.

The children’s festival was first staged in 1981, using the money raised to fund her first work in schools across the south west as the Children’s World charity.

It was a formula that carried on after her death from pancreatic cancer in 2008, aged 58.

Thousands of children across Somerset and the UK – as well as abroad in crisis hotspots such as tsunami-hit Sumatra and civil war ravaged Kosovo and Albania – have been entertained and educated thanks to Arabella Churchill’s vision.

But it has not been without its sacrifices, as Arabella’s daughter Jessica Churchill-McLeod has revealed.

The 23-year-old, who has just completed the second year of her events management degree at Leeds Metropolitan University, has formally been asked to take over the running of the Children’s Festival when her studies complete next year.

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Cita Stelzer’s “Dinner with Churchill” to be Released Next Month in the UK

Here is a book that tells us what it would have been like to dine with Winston Churchill and enjoy his strategic thinking, his curiosity, his wit and his humour, not to mention the food and wine he so carefully selected. In this new book, aspects of Churchill’s personality that have never been fully described come to life.

Cita Stelzer’s DINNER WITH CHURCHILL tells the tale of an extraordinary man deploying an extraordinary method of representing his nation’s interests and, in his view, those of the English-speaking peoples. Stelzer’s book focuses on Churchill’s use of dinner parties and meals to accomplish what he believed could not always be accomplished in the more formal setting of a conference room. It describes in engaging detail some dozen dinners, and some lunches and picnics – and a few breakfasts — what was discussed, by whom, what was served and poured, who sat where, and why.

His curiosity led him to want to know, first-hand, what his negotiating partners were like; his self-confidence led him to believe that face-to-face meetings, the less formal the better, were a perfect occasion in which to deploy his skills. And his fame enabled him to bring together the best, brightest and most important players of his day. He had many dining rooms in which to shine: Downing Street, Chequers, Chartwell, Teheran, Moscow, Casablanca and aboard ships and trains. Where better to get to know an ally or opponent, where better to display his charm and breadth of knowledge than at a dinner table? Where better could Churchill rally political supporters, and plan strategy and tactics, than at a dinner?

It is a story of both successes and failures: successes in Washington and Fulton, Missouri; failure in Bermuda. In Washington the Prime Minister solidified President Franklin Roosevelt’s support for the “Europe First” strategy he had accepted after Pearl Harbor despite the fact that America had been attacked not by Germany but by Japan. Churchill flew to Washington immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack and moved into the White House. Stelzer describes the bond that was formed between the two leaders as they ate and drank together for three weeks, most often late into the night, and agreed the strategy for pursuing the war. All this in spite of President Roosevelt’s famously lethal martinis and what was then considered the worst food in White House history as the unimaginative menus Stelzer describes demonstrate.

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Chartwell Bulletin Interviews ‘Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny’ Director Rick Trank

Many Chartwell Bulletin readers have seen the outstanding new documentary “Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny” as it played in theaters throughout the United States earlier this year.

The film, produced the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Moriah Films division and narrated by Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, focuses on 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. Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, served as a historical consultant and is featured prominently in the production.

Churchill Centre Executive Director Lee Pollock recently spoke with Rick Trank, the film’s director, co-writer and co-producer to find out more about the film and how it has been received by audiences.

Lee Pollock: Rick, many of CB’s readers have seen “Walking With Destiny” but may not know about your background. How did you get involved in film-making and what drew you to documentaries in particular? What other films have you directed in recent years?

Rick Trank: I began studying Theatre History at UC Berkeley and the USC Film School in the mid 1970’s and then started writing and producing news and public affairs documentaries for radio stations around the country. That brought me to the attention of the Simon Wiesenthal Center where I created a weekly radio series and began conducting archival interviews with Holocaust survivors and concentration camp liberators.

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Attacking the French Fleet Near Oran


By Chris Sterling

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, 7 August 2011—At their annual summer picnic meeting (luckily held inside!), the Washington Society for Churchill heard Brooke Stoddard tell about the Royal Navy’s July 3, 1940 attack on elements of the French fleet moored in Mers-el-Kebir near Oran, Algeria.

This was the heart-wrenching decision by Churchill and the Admiralty to remove any danger that Germany might gain control of several French capital ships, including two of the newest battleships. Heart-wrenching, because merely weeks before, France and Britain had been allied against Hitler. But with the June 22nd armistice, France was now at the mercy of the Germans who occupied two-thirds of the country. And Britain could not afford to let sympathy for the French situation to get in the way of cold wartime calculation.

Stoddard, author of the recent World in the Balance: The Perilous Months of June-October 1940 (Potomac Books, 2011), took his fascinated audience step-by-step through this story, reviewing the impossible position the French navy occupied (both geographically and politically), the disagreeable job facing Force H (the attacking Royal Navy force), and the all but inevitable outcome. After a multi-option ultimatum and tense negotiations, the British opened fire in the late afternoon. Within 15 minutes it was all over, and some 1300 French sailors were dead, with nary a hit on the attacking British force.

Marshal Petain’s Vichy-based government broke off relations with Britain but could do little else.

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