October 30, 2023

2023 Churchill Conference in Edinburgh Scores Record Attendance

The International Churchill Society’s (ICS) 40th annual Conference took place this year from October 5th through the 7th in Edinburgh, Scotland. A record number of people attended with hundreds traveling from North America to join with Churchillians in the Scottish capital from as far afield as Norway, Australia, and Brazil. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh Castle, and Scone Palace all served as venues.

The conference began with an opening night reception on The Royal Yacht Britannia with remarks by ICS President Randolph Churchill and retiring ICS Chairman Laurence Geller CBE. Conference sessions took place the next day at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre starting with the 2023 Stephen and Jane Poss Distinguished Churchill Lecture, which was delivered by Captain Jerry Hendrix USN (ret.) To watch the video, please CLICK HERE.

The following panel directly addressed the many associations between Winston Churchill and Scotland and why Churchill’s reputation in Scotland has varied so radically over time. Churchill Archives Centre Executive Director Allen Packwood moderated the panel, which started with remarks by journalist Andrew Liddle, author of Cheers, Mr. Churchill, a study of Churchill’s time as the Member of Parliament for Dundee from 1908 to 1922. Sonia Purnell, biographer of Clementine Churchill, discussed the vital support Winston received from his Scottish bride. Finally, Neil McLennan, a historian, author, and leadership authority, spoke about the myths that have accrued to Churchill’s reputation in Scotland. To watch the full video, please CLICK HERE.

The afternoon sessions began with incoming ICS Chairman Mitchell Reiss announcing a new partnership between ICS and the the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Reiss then sat down for a conversation with Dame Mariot Leslie, a former British diplomat now with RUSI, about the current state of international affairs. Kate Clements, Curator of the Churchill War Rooms in London, then introduced author and broadcaster James Holland, who spoke about the the 1943 Allied campaign in Italy. To watch the full video, please CLICK HERE.

2024 International Churchill Conference

Join us for the 41st International Churchill Conference. London | October 2024

The final session of the day included a variety of presentations. Tim Riley, the Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator of America’s National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Fulton, MO, announced the acquisition of Churchill’s painting of British warships on the Firth of Forth in 1925, a scene painted only a few miles from where this year’s conference met. Sir David Cannadine then spoke about the events that will mark the 150th anniversary of Churchill’s birth in 2024. Ron Luke, who along with his wife Eleanor has sponsored the attendance of officers of The Queen’s Royal Hussars at recent conferences, then introduced Captain Nelson Bacon to speak about operations today in Sir Winston’s old regiment. Finally, Mitchell Reiss introduced a tribute video to his immediate predecessor. To watch the full video, please CLICK HERE.

Due to unprecedented attendance, the evening involved two separate venues in order to accommodate all guests. One group went to a reception at historic Edinburgh Castle, viewed the Crown Jewels of Scotland, and were entertained by a pipe and drum corps beating the retreat. The other group went to a reception in the Rooftops restaurant of the National Museum of Scotland, enjoyed a private tour, and took in a spectacular view of the city’s skyline.

On the final day, guests were taken to Scone Castle, at which site Scottish kings were crowned before the Stuart Dynasty succeeded the Tudors in England. The castle is also the family seat of the earls of Mansfield, and ICS guests were given a personal tour by Viscount Stormont, present heir to the title. The conference concluded that evening in Edinburgh with a keynote speech by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.

The 41st international Churchill Conference will take place in autumn 2024 in London to commemorate the sesquicentenary of Churchill’s birth. Details will be announced early in the New Year.

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