January 4, 2016

New Statue of the US Ambassador to Britain in World War II
Will Face New Hampshire State House in Concord

Winant statue

When John G. Winant arrived at Bristol Airport in March 1941 to assume his duties as the new American ambassador to the Court of St. James, he announced: “I’m very glad to be here. There is no place I’d rather be at this time than in England.” The remark, coming as it did in the midst of the Blitz and from a man whose predecessor had despaired of any hope for Britain during the war, was dramatic and appeared on the front page of most British newspapers the next day. A memorial to the former New Hampshire governor and diplomat is now planned for the capital of the Granite State.

After serving as a fighter pilot in France during the First World War, Winant (1889–1947) became the youngest governor in the history of New Hampshire and later served as the first director of the Social Security Administration. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Winant as US ambassador to Britain as part of the decision by his administration to provide substantial material support to the UK through the Lend-Lease program. Winant formed a close relationship with Winston Churchill and was dining with the prime minister at Chequers when word came through that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.

Winant continued to serve as ambassador through the end of the war. In a sign of how close he had become with Churchill, Winant was among the small group invited to join the Churchill family for a farewell dinner at Chequers following the prime minister’s defeat in the 1945 general election. In 1947 Winant became only the second—and last—American citizen (after General Eisenhower) to be made an honorary member of the British Order of Merit. After Winant died, a memorial service was held for him at Westminster Abbey with Churchill in attendance.

The new memorial will feature a statue of Winant in a plaza before the New Hampshire State Library, inviting passers-by to join him. The statue is the work of Missouri artist Brett Grill, who also created the statue of President Gerald R. Ford that now stands in the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building. For more information about the project, please CLICK HERE.

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