August 28, 2013

Finest Hour 106, Spring 2000

Page 06


“People do not want to get enthusiastic about anything…politics are extremely dull; no exciting debates, no close divisions, no violent scenes ruffle the serenity…no violent agitation disturbs the tranquillity of the country—all is rest
and sleepy, comfortable peace. In the words of the popular song you might have heard: ‘Every eyelid closes; All the
world reposes; Lazily, lazily, drowsily, drowsily; In the noonday sun.'”


If Winston Churchill had taken leave for the birth of his daughter Sarah in October 1914, he would have had to abandon the defense of Antwerp, which would have fallen a week sooner, preventing the French and British Armies from moving northwest and allowing the French Channel ports to be occupied by the Germans, a calamity that might have altered the course of World War I. Memo to Tony Blair: Ministerial Leave-taking may lead to discomfiting results.

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Moscow, FEBRUARY 20TH— Churchill is reputed to have said, “Anyone who is not a liberal at twenty has no heart; anyone who is not a conservative at forty has no brains.” In an interview with The New York Times sent to us by Marc David Miller, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, is quoted as saying, “Anyone who doesn’t regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart…anyone who wants it restored has no brains.” We fully share half his sentiment.


This time of year we are often asked how to get to Chartwell other than by driving (complicated and time-consuming what with London traffic). The Chartwell Explorer is an efficient coach service operated by Country Lanes West Kent in an effort to cut down on the appalling traffic over Kentish lanes. Last year it operated weekends and bank holidays from mid-May to early September and on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during July-August (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Departures from Charing Cross began at 0930 with returns from as late as 1750. We advise the earliest departure and last return possible, as there is much to do, luncheon facilities and plenty of room to roam when you’ve seen the house and grounds. Return coach fare (with a pot of tea thrown in!) cost £3. A “London Special,” including coach out, train back and entry to Chartwell was only £12, or £7.50 if you are a National Trust member. Children half price. Sounds like a deal to us. Ring the Chartwell Explorer at (0345) 696966.

British Rail. Our readers recommend the Capital Coast Express from Victoria Station, or any other train marked, “to East Grinstead and calling at Oxted.” You must get one that stops at Oxted, which is the closest rail station to Chartwell. Fare is about £6 and a cab to Westerham costs another £6. You can arrange with the taxi driver to meet you at Chartwell for the ride back. If you make a mistake and go to Sevenoaks, the taxi fare will be at least three times as high.

Be sure to ring Chartwell if you have any questions about opening times, etc.: (01732) 868381.


Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George Kennard, 3rd Bt. has died at the age of 84. Rafal Heydel-Mankoo reports: “Born 1915, Sir George was the commanding officer of the 4th Hussars (Churchill joined the regiment in 1895 and would later become its colonel), the son of ‘eccentric’ parents. His father was a penniless baronet who was mesmerised by Arabia. His mother was a drug addict who spent the last years of her life in an institution believing she was a dog.” ICS UK chairman Col. Nigel Knocker writes: “I knew Sir George slightly when I was in the British Army. He was a delightful eccentric who was nicknamed ‘Loopy,’ and was one of those officers whom soldiers followed more out of curiosity than anything else!” Sorry we never met the gent.


In our last issue (p. 8) we reported April 6th as the launch date for “The Ever-Widening War,” Volume 3 of The Churchill War Papers, corresponding to Companion Volume 6, Part 3 of the Official Biography, Winston S. Churchill. The book did not appear. We have no further details to give you. We shall make no further announcements until we have copies in our hands. We regret to have misled the many readers who were looking forward to this work and assure you our disappointment is as keen as yours.


CHURCHILL TRIVIA answer 979 (FH 104), that Nancy Astor was the first woman MP, requires amplification. The first woman actually elected to Parliament was Constance Markiewicz (nee Gore-Booth), as Member for the St. Patrick’s Division of Dublin in the General Election of 1918. As a member of Sinn Fein, she did not however take her seat at Westminster, in line with Sinn Fein policy which (relative to the remaining Westminster seats for Northern Ireland) continues to this day.

Nancy Astor, the first woman actually to take her seat, was elected MP for Plymouth Sutton at a by-election in 1919, replacing her husband, who had been ennobled. Astor is remembered as the author of the shameful quip, “The D-Day Dodgers,” a reference to the Allied Armies in Italy who fought a dreadful and thankless campaign against bitter opposition which culminated in the crushing of the German forces on the Po and their unconditional surrender on 2 May 1945. They unofficially adopted the title “D-Day Dodgers” and even produced a ditty by the same name set to the tune “Lili Marlene.” –Peter Macfarlane


According to a Tasmanian newspaper, in a supposed interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the leader of Austria’s Freedom Party, Jurgen Haider, said Churchill was responsible for destroying the German city of Dresden during the Second World War. Haider was thought to have made the remark to a Viennese magazine which he pressured not to print before recent Austrian elections. When his remark was quoted he said: “Yes. With Churchill there are a lot of bad things—and a lot of honour. He did right and wrong. That’s the fate of an important politician.”

Asked what Churchill had done wrong, Haider said: “The bad things were like the decision to destroy cities such as Dresden, where there were no soldiers of the German army. There were only citizens.” Mr. Haider’s comments came as the Duke of Kent was preparing to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Dresden raid by presenting a replica orb and cross to Dresden’s cathedral, which was bombed on 13 February 1945. Haider also implied Austrians would not be upset by the Prince of Wales’s cancellation of a planned visit in May in protest at his election, snorting, “The Austrian people would have been disappointed if Diana had been coming, and then cancelled. But this…is not the case.”

Member Martin Fischer (Austria) comments: “Haider never gave an interview with the Telegraph, so the Tasmanian newspaper cites a fake. What he did say, in an interview with the Vienna paper Der Falter in September 1999 was, approximately: ‘If I’d look at Hitler, Churchill and Stalin, I’d have a hard choice; they are all the same.’ (Source in German can be found here.

“However, as our state secretary last night pointed out, we had little choice beside reelection. Now we have the opportunity to prove that he as well as his cronies are not able to govern the country, a situation that is foreseeable as long as people elect those with the highest entertainment value.”


Neil Coates comments on the above: If news like the above is to be taken seriously, it should run alongside two quotes from the Official Biography, Vol. VII: “On the night of 13 February 1945…British bombers struck at the city of Dresden, dropping 1471 tons of high explosive bombs, and 1175 tons of incendiaries. A few hours later American bombers carried out a daylight raid over the same city, dropping 689 tons of bombs on the still-burning ruins. The raid was a direct result of the agreement reached at Yalta by the British, United States and Soviet Chiefs of Staff, to make emergency use of Anglo-American air power in order to disrupt German reinforcements moving eastward to the Russian
front.” (1219)

“Churchill said: ‘The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied….I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction however impressive.’ Churchill did not initiate this series of raids but soon modified them when he became aware of their effects.” (1257)

The bombing of Dresden must be regarded as one of the fortunes of war. If there is any residual criminality it pales to insignificance beside a government policy of the murder of millions of people merely because of their ethnic origin or religion.



The Churchill Center Board of Governors has presented the coveted Blenheim Award to three members of ICS United Kingdom: John Frost of New Barnet, Hertfordshire and Jack and Rita Darrah of Luton, Bedfordshire. The awards will be presented at the next ICS UK meeting they are able to attend.

John Frost’s legendary collection of newspapers has served as the basis of research for writers, filmmakers and historians for two generations. Every few weeks for the past twenty years, a large bundle has arrived at Finest Hour from John, our cuttings (clippings) editor: Churchill articles of every stripe, which are turned into articles or entries for “International Datelines” or serve as leads to features. John provides occasional historical gems, such as an original newspaper from VE-Day, which go into the magazine’s permanent collection to be handed down from editor to editor. The Blenheim Award comes with many happy returns, for April 2000 marks John Frost’s eightieth birthday.

Jack and Rita Darrah set up the “Churchill Rooms” at Bletchley Park, Bucks., displaying books and memorabilia from Jack’s personal collection, augmented by additional material donated by members. Their work was reported in Finest Hour 91: “Bletchley Park Blooms with Churchilliana.”

But Jack and Rita have done more than stock some cases with Churchilliana. They serve as active ambassadors of good will, enthusiastically greeting and guiding thousands of people, including CC/ICS members and tour groups through the Churchill Rooms. They especially welcome school children, hoping to acquaint them with a story that is not much taught in schools. In the last two years Jack has hosted over 4000 students.

The Blenheim Award is a recognition of those who have notably contributed to the memory of Sir Winston, the understanding of his life and times, and/or for notable contributions to The Churchill Center and Societies. We are all very grateful to John, Jack and Rita.


HONORARY member Wendy Reves, Sir Winston’s hostess during his retirement and widow of his literary collaborator Emery Reves, has bequeathed $500,000 to The Churchill Center Endowment to create the Wendy and Emery Reves Library at the Center’s Washington headquarters. Together with Emery’s book collection, which she had previously bequeathed, Wendy’s generous gift is the largest to the endowment fund yet, bringing the total commitment to $1,868,291.

Hungarian-born Emery Reves had distributed Churchill’s articles to the European press since the 1930s, but as Hitler’s influence grew his press outlets dried up. When the war started the Jewish Reves was on Nazi target lists; Churchill helped him escape from Paris to London and eventually New York, where he set up Cooperation Publishing Co. After the war, Reves spearheaded the sale of Churchill’s war memoirs (see “Sales Department for the Production Chief,” FH 96 p. 34), and dozens of other titles which he spread worldwide. After stepping down as Premier Churchill spent much of his time at the Reves’s villa “La Pausa,” where Wendy, who still resides there, worked tirelessly to please their guest. It was Wendy, likewise, who in 1988 put up the editorial fees to make possible the Churchill War Papers series.

The Churchill Center plans to centralize its administrative offices in Washington, the seat of American government, the most visited city for foreign leaders, with the greatest concentration of schools of international affairs. The Reves Library will contain a standard reference collection of Churchill’s books in all their editions, plus books about him. In addition to Emery’s books, which include many rare foreign editions, the library has received a first edition of the Malakand Field Force from Edwin F. Russell, the Conover Collection of signed books, letters and photos, and books donated by Celwyn Ball and Dorothy Reinke. All are currently held in trust by the editor.


Wendy Reves further underscores her support by guaranteeing up to $100,000 of the financing necessary to produce a major Churchill Archival Exhibit in the United States. The Churchill Center is presently in discussion with Churchill Archives Centre, and other large archival sources, along with likely venues in Washington and elsewhere. With its American location in mind, the exhibit will concentrate on aspects of Churchill’s relationship with the USA and its leaders. As usual, FH readers will be first to know of developments.


Winston S. Churchill has joined the Clementine Churchill Associates by donating $25,000 to The Churchill Center Endowment fund. This is only the latest expression of his support for the Churchill Center and Societies that extends back over thirty years. Mr. Churchill became our third honorary member in June 1968, succeeding his father Randolph. At the time our only other Honorary Member was Lady Churchill.

After a 27-year career as a Member of Parliament, Mr. Churchill left the Commons to devote more time to his career as a journalist, which predates his political years. He is a contributor to Finest Hour (his latest article is in this issue), and has granted FH permission to reprint his grandfather’s work in our pages. He is also promoting development of an electronic reference to the Churchill Papers by Southampton University and the Churchill Archives. In addition to being an Honorary Member and Associate, Mr. Churchill serves as a Trustee of The Churchill Center. We are proud to have Sir Winston’s grandson so much involved in our affairs and are grateful as always for his generous support.


Our Patron looks forward to joining Churchillians for views of glaciers and whales from the cruise on southeast Alaska’s “Inside Passage” before the 17th International Churchill Conference, to be held in Anchorage in mid-September. The cruise on the Endeavour, departing from Seattle on September 2, will visit Misty Fjords, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Glacier Bay National Park before arriving in Alaska’s capital city of Juneau on September 9th. At this writing, some cabins were still available: to make reservations, or for more information, call Cindy Smirnoff at Custom Travel Consultants at (907) 344-8786, or fax her at (907) 344-8802.

The Conference will be held in Anchorage on September 13-17, beginning with a Mountaintop Reception hosted by the British Consul-General of San Francisco. Reservations may be made at the headquarters hotel, the Westin Alyeska Prince Hotel in Anchorage, by calling (800) 228-3000 in Canada or the USA (or, in the UK, 0800-325-959-595); ask for the International Churchill Conference rate. Or fax your request, with a credit card number, to (907) 754-2200.

Members of the Churchill Center and the International Churchill Societies have already received conference registration materials. For more information on the conference, see our website.


Celia Sandys’s third book on her grandfather will involve his world travels, and she is particularly interested in hearing from anyone who can relate the experiences of relatives or friends who may have met WSC on his visits to North America. Anecdotes, printed information, letters and photographs are especially sought. Please describe material to Celia by email to ([email protected]) or by fax: dialed from North America, the number is (01144) 1672-871066.


NOVEMBER 29TH— Members of The Other Club of Ontario gathered in the superb library of the Royal Canadian Military Institute to hear local member Terry Reardon present “Thoughts on the Eve of the 125th Anniversary of Churchill’s Birth.” There were many new members in the crowd of about fifty. Some had recently attended the Gettysburg Theme Conference, about which ICS Canada President Randy Barber reported.

Randy writes: “As is my wont, I brought several ‘show & tell’ articles forthe multitudes to fondle in the touchy feely part. Coffee and light snacks were provided so no one went home ravenous and chewed out the spouse. Indeed a high percentage of the fairer sex were in attendance: until one of the male members lit up the biggest stogie I’ve ever seen and the crowd thinned rather noticeably for ten feet around him….”

Past President Bernard Webber concluded the evening with a video presentation of Chartwell. For information on future events, with and without cigars, contact Other Club President Norm MacLeod (address on page 2).


SEPTEMBER 24-26TH—Ghosts of History walk hallowed ground at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. From the awful days of 1863, when Lee led his troops to the “High Water Mark of the Confederacy” and Chamberlain and Pickett charged through the portal of fame, to Lincoln’s immortal address at the new national cemetery, to later years when other world leaders came to visit, Gettysburg has hosted history’s greats.

In May 1959, Churchill came by helicopter from Washington to see the battlefield from the air and to visit the farm of his wartime colleague, Dwight Eisenhower. Their meeting was celebrated in Finest Hour 103, marked by Charlotte Thibault’s expressive painting, “Churchill and Eisenhower at Gettysburg.”

Both the Civil War battle and the 1959 Churchill visit were highlighted at the first Churchill Theme-Conference at Gettysburg on 24-26 September, chaired by John Plumpton, with the significant help of Ruth Plumpton and Lorraine and Craig Horn. Attended by several hundred members and friends, it was a most successful event which impressed several important facts on us: people like events where Churchill shares the spotlight with another key historical theme; they also like the idea of shorter, less expensive conferences offering a choice of overnight accommodations at different prices.

Friday September 24th involved registration at the Hotel Gettysburg, staffed by Lorraine Horn and Ruth Plumpton, who offered a variety of Churchill Stores items provided by Gail Greenly. In the afternoon we repaired to the church attended by President Eisenhower (and Abraham Lincoln when he came to town for his famous address) to hear Michael Birkner, Professor of History at Gettysburg College, discuss Eisenhower’s years in town. Coaches then took us to the Eisenhower Historic Site, the only home Ike and Mamie ever owned, visited by a host of people from Montgomery and de Gaulle to Nehru and Sir Winston. At the evening dinner our speaker was Warren Kimball of Rutgers University, who considered “Churchill and Eisenhower: A Relationship Forged in War.” Prof. Kimball also received the 1999 Farrow Award for Excellence in Churchill Studies.

On Saturday a short walk took us to Gettysburg College for a lecture and slides by Judge Frank Williams, Chairman of the Lincoln Forum, before an audience which included students. His topic was “Roosevelt, Lincoln, Churchill and Eisenhower: Communitarians, Warriors and Echo Men.” Judge Williams didn’t hesitate to express opinions which were debatable enough to spark a lively exchange with the audience! We enjoyed this because it was a most stimulating experience. After the lecture, coaches took us to a tour of the famous battlefield, where we were able to observe a lifelike reenactment by Blue and Grey soldiers of the skirmishing on the Emmitsburg Road and Peach Orchard in July 1863.

After dinner Saturday evening at the historic Dobbin House Tavern, we were entertained by Abraham Lincoln—well, James Getty, attired as (and making a very convincing replica of) America’s 16th President. He had to be convincing, for the Q&A was again lively, with Iowan-turned-Maryland Confederate Craig Horn confronting the President on why he thought it appropriate to suspend Habeas Corpus! Mr. Lincoln handled the challenge with aplomb, and for good measure redelivered the Gettysburg Address at closing ceremonies at the National Cemetery Sunday morning.

Congratulations to John Plumpton for this exciting concept which proved such a success, and to Ruth, Lorraine and Craig for their time and effort not only during the events but in the extensive planning and pre-registration.


The International Churchill Conference returns to California for the first time since 1990 in the San Diego area on August 9-13th, 2001. The date was selected with younger members in mind, to occur at a time when school is out. Accommodations will be reasonably priced with lower cost alternatives available, and members, friends and students will be admitted at low or no charge to daytime events and evening speeches. The object is to allow younger members and those with children to attend more easily. (Average age of CC members is only 48).

The conference committee, under Vice-President Bill Ives, includes the enthusiastic members of California Churchillians, who will help organize and staff the events. Programs will involve more audience participation, as at Gettysburg (see left), with freewheeling debates and the sharing of opinions. If you are interested in playing a part (or just learning about the next California event this year), please contact Curt Zoller, 21335 Amora St., Mission Viejo CA 92692, email [email protected] or telelphone (714) 581-6534.


1 September 1999
Department of State, Office of Protocol
Gifts to Federal Employees from Foreign Government Sources Reported in 1999: Person Accepting Gift: President Clinton Identity of Donor: His MajestyMohammed VI, King of Morocco.

Gift & Estimated Value: Antique leather-bound books—six volume set of The World Crisis, by Winston S. Churchill, first edition, $2400.

The other books the King gave to the President on this occasion were Orme’s Anecdotes, Petrarch’s Sonnets, and Caesar’s Commentaries; total estimated value of all these books, including The World Crisis, listed as $14,400.


BLETCHLEY PARK (REUTERS), MARCH 19TH— A thief walked off with a rare Enigma machine used by the Nazis to send coded messages during World War II and one of only three in the world. It was lifted during an open day on Saturday at the once top-secret Bletchley Park estate where the code was broken.

“The machine was stolen from a display cabinet,” a police spokesman said. “There does appear to be quite a large market for World War II memorabilia and if you are a collector then an Enigma machine would be something you would want in your collection.” Police said the machine was worth several thousand pounds but its historical value is impossible to estimate. “This is a devastating eft,” Bletchley Park Trust directorChristine Large said. “Very many people are deeply upset and we are just hoping for its safe return.”

Historians believe the success of the cryptographers at Bletchley Park north of London—code-named “Station X” during the war—in breaking a code that the Germans believed was unbreakable hastened the Allied victory by several years. At its peak, the centre employed thousands of people—an eclectic mix of mathematicians, linguists and crossword experts who handled millions of German military messages every year.

The code-busters included Alan Turing, a mathematician whose groundbreaking work is seen as having paved the way for the modern computer.

Bletchley Park’s work was so secret that its existence was not revealed until the late 1960s, more than two decades after the war ended.

The Centre was scheduled for demolition but interest in the wartime exploits related by former staff during a reunion in 1991 helped lead to its restoration.


LONDON, JANUARY 22ND— Former World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tysons visit to Parliament was cancelled after Clive Soley, chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), was asked to step in after protests. “It was a case of either going two rounds with Tyson or two rounds with the PLP,” said Mr Soley.

Meanwhile, Tyson offered a historical tableau at Madame Tussaud’s, branding Winston Churchill “another damned limey” while throwing his arms around wax figures of Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, Castro and Lenin (“they’re our boys”). Tyson cold-shouldered the figures of Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and the Beatles, and gave an obscene salute to F. W. de Klerk, who released Nelson Mandela and helped bring about the end of Apartheid.

Tyson gained admittance by barging to the front of Tussaud’s usual queue with the help of two dozen “blatantly rude and aggressive minders,” according to News of the World. What amazes us is that even a British tabloid saw fit to devote half of page 2 to this performance.

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