June 20, 2015

Finest Hour 100, Autumn 1998

Page 06


“Introduction—connections—powerful friends— a name— good advice well followed—-all these things count—but they lead only to a certain point. As it were they may ensure admission to the scales. Ultimately—every man has to be weighed—and if found wanting nothing can procure him the public confidence. Nor would I desire it under such circumstances. If I am not good enough—others are welcome to take my place. I should never care to bolster up a sham reputation and hold my position by disguising my personality.”
-WSC, Letter to Lady Randolph, 26 January 1898, from Bangalore First quoted in Finest Hour 14, July-August 1970


SYDNEY, AUS., AUGUST 15TH— The sailing sloop Winston Churchill, to our knowledge the oldest vessel named for WSC, dropped out of the Southport-Queensland yacht race in light air, one of thirtysix yachts out of seventy-six which did not finish. The yacht was restored by Richard Winning, who looks upon it “as a bit of recreation….Gentleman’s ocean racing” (see “Ampersand,” FH 99, p47). Evidently Winning was more interested in fun than winning….

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To clear up some confusion, Winston Churchill was originally a yawl, as we stated last issue (two masts, mizzenmast aft of rudder) when built by Percy Coverdale of Hobart, Tasmania. But she is now sloop-rigged, with a new aluminium mainmast. Otherwise she looks little different from when she was built, of huon pine, in 1942.


LONDON, AUGUST 10TH— Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath has issued a rebuke to his predecessor Winston Churchill. “After the war Churchill had difficulty in accepting that society had changed,” Heath told The House magazine. “I suppose it was not surprising considering his age.” Sir Edward is 82.


LONDON, JULY 23RD— Churchill said Turing did more than any other individual to help win the war. A genius at mathematics and the father of modern computer science, Turing’s work at Bletchley Park was vital in breaking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code. The secrecy of his work meant that his achievements went unsung for years. Sir Derek Jacobi, who portrayed him on television, today unveiled a blue plaque at his birthplace in Maida Vale, north London.


OXFORD— Michael Portillo, reviewing the Oxford Companion to British History, says the book is “witty and opinionated. Of Churchill’s conduct of the war, we are told that ‘determined to have action, he prodded and sacked his generals and made many mistakes—sinking the French fleet at Oran, invading Greece, defending Crete, neglecting the Far East,’ but—is this said a little wistfully?—’no attempts to revise or belittle his reputation have yet succeeded.'”


A few years ago some bright spark planned a motorway across the corner of an English Civil War battlefield. The Battlefields Trust now exists to preserve this heritage, and not only in England. They are raising money to purchase a site in Belgium to commemorate the First Duke of Marlborough‘s victory at Ramillies in 1706. Membership £15 from the Trust c/o M. Rayner, 33 High Green, Brooke, Norwich NR125 1HR …. Jock III is firmly ensconced at Chartwell, says Victoria Leighton who looks after the hefty marmalade cat, third in line from the moggy given to Sir Winston by Jock Colville in 1962. “He’s certainly a mouser, but I’m thankful to say he doesn’t bring them indoors”…. Revisionist John Charmley, still hanging in there, has denounced another author, Sir John Strawson, who commits the unpardonable sin of supporting WSC in his Churchill and Hitler: In Victory and Defeat: “The only original feature is its attempt to deal with the so-called revisionist view of Churchill—which amounts, I am obliged to confess, to my own work…” Where would we be without you, John? …. Vera Atkins of East Sussex writes that the Paris statue of WSC is not the first in France: “There is a fine monument in Montargis on Route N7 which was unveiled by Lady Soames in about 1970 during her late husband’s tenure of office as our ambassador in Paris. The funds were raised locally with the support of the French Resistance“…. Proportional Representation has been denounced by Winston S. Churchill in a letter to the Daily Telegraph as lending itself “to squalid backroom deals [which] can be seen all the way from Bonn to Rome and on to Jerusalem…The Liberal Party never instituted it during the long years that they held power…The British nation shouldn’t be made to fall for it” …. A stone circle in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral will be a tribute to Londoners who died in the Blitz. On the monument’s cap, in a spiral of smaller letters, will be cut: “In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity; in peace, good will.” Seems a good line to us.


• Page 8: Henry White-Smith, husband of Lady Churchill’s former secretary (1953-55) Heather Wood, writes that he and Mrs. White-Smith lunched with Grace Hamblin recently, “and as usual had the most stimulating reminiscences. One point which came up and I must mention to you is that we were all agreed that the two photos of Churchill cars in the latest issue of Finest Hour are not of the same car. The lower photo is indeed EYH 409 which had always been based at Chartwell for local use, but the upper picture was of a totally different make of car and was not EYH 409. It was a Government car provided for him and in all probability was a Daimler.”

• Page 24: The line “English-Speaking Peoples” was inadvertently reproduced twice in the title. The lower one was superfluous. Sorry.

• Back cover: Churchill is depicted two years before Omdurman in 1896—not 1898 as stated.

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