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Great Grandson Duncan Sandys Pays a Visit to Portland Chapter

Mr Sandys is guest of honour for Oregon birthday dinner and discusses, “Winston Churchill Today”

By William D. Schaub

PORTLAND, 22 November 2012—The Arlington Club in Portland hosted fifty-nine members and guests of the society recently to honor the 138th birthday of Sir Winston S. Churchill.

This was the twentieth annual birthday dinner held by the Chartwell Society of Oregon, which was formed in 1992 and recently became an affiliate of The Churchill Centre.

In honor of the occasion, the special guest of the evening was one of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s great grandsons, Mr Duncan Sandys.

The evening was led by Master of Ceremonies and a Chartwell Society founder, John B. DesCamp Jr. Esq., and began with a presentation by Master Piper Jori Lance Chisholm of Seattle Washington.

Mr Chisholm is the three time United States Gold Medal piping champion, a member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, and the son of Society member Craig Chisholm. After piping the dinner to order, Chisholm played “Eternal Father Strong to Save”, the hymn of the U.S. Navy and which was one of three that Churchill personally selected to be sung by the joint officers and crews of the U.S. and British Navies and their two nation’s leaders assembled for the Sunday service at the Atlantic Charter Conference in August, 1941.

Former U.S. Senator Robert Packwood made a very memorable and personal introduction of Duncan Sandys, who is a personal friend. Mr Sandys examined his great grandfather in his speech titled, “Winston Churchill Today”.

Mr. Sandys’ humorous and thought provoking observations contrasted Churchill’s unique leadership and working style with what is generally acceptable in today’s political world and concluded that despite the possible criticism that may have followed him today, that the leadership style of Churchill is timeless and sorely missed today.

In his address, Mr Sandys pondered what Sir Winston may have thought about today’s political landscape. He remarked, “It is interesting how so many similar issues exist from his (Churchill’s) era. During his 60 years in public life, Churchill was engaged with social reform, the role of government in our lives, military spending, education reform, global finance, nation building as well as war, its prevention and conflict resolution. It could be the 2012 (American) presidential campaign!”

The traditional dinner was naturally preceded by Churchill’s preferred Pol Roger Champagne and the menu included other favorites of Sir Winston; prime rib of beef, a selection of fine wines, Churchill Port and Hine cognac for the toasts.

The tone of the evening was set by the draped flags of the United States, Great Britain and France, overlooked by the famous Yousuf Karsh portrait of Sir Winston, taken after Churchill addressed the Canadian Parliament in December 1941.

The only item missing (much to the relief of some) from the evening’s toasts was the fragrance of Romeo y Julieta Churchill cigar’s that in this age of political correctness, have been prohibited for indoor consumption by the City of Portland.

During the evening Mr. DesCamp called William Schaub forward to make a special announcement – that the Board and Members of the Chartwell Society of Oregon were dedicating the evening to one of our founding members, long time officer and board member and sixteen time master of ceremonies for this evening, J. Kenneth Brody, Esq..

Mr. Schaub read from the dedicatory statement included with the evening’s program, recognizing Mr Brody’s leadership and significance in making the Society what it is today.

Member Tom Hallman, journalist and Pulitzer prize recipient, presented Mr Brody with a copy of The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, Winston Spencer Churchill: 1940–1965 which was personally inscribed by author Paul Reid.

Traditional toasts were presented as part of the evening’s program.

• To King George VI by Honourary UK Consul and native Scotsman, Andrew MacRitchie;
• To General Charles DeGaulle, by Mary Jean Thompson, Honourary Consul, Principality of Liechtenstein;
• To General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Chartwell founder and WWII US Naval officer J. Kenneth Brody, Esq.;
• To President Franklin D. Roosevelt by Chartwell founder and WWII US Army officer in General Patton’s Third Army, Gerald W. Frank.

Following the toasts, members listened to Sir Winston’s voice in an excerpt from his moving Thanksgiving Day message broadcast on 23 November, 1944 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

As the evening concluded, John DesCamp recited lines from the poem “The Dead” by Rupert Brooke, who was one of Churchill’s favorite poets.

William D. Schaub is the President of The Churchill Centre’s Chartwell Society of Oregon.

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