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Finest Hour 108


Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 52

The Japanese onslaught has brought upon the United States and Great Britain very serious injuries to our naval power.

In my whole experience I do not remember any naval blow so heavy or painful as the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse…

We have a very hard period to go through, and a new surge of impulse will be required, and will be forthcoming.

We must, as I have said, faithfully keep our engagement to Russia in supplies, and at the same time we must expect, at any rate for the next few months, that the volume of American supplies reaching Britain and the degree of help given by the United States Navy will be reduced.

The gap will be filled, and only our own efforts will fill it.

I cannot doubt, however, now that the 130,000,000people in the United States have bound themselves to this war, that once they have settled down to it and have bent themselves to it—as they will— that the flow of munitions will vastly exceed anything that could have been expected on the peacetime basis….
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AMPERSAND – Commemorative Cover #53: Churchill’s 125th Birthday

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 51

Thirty years ago at Woodstock, Oxford, the Churchill Study Unit, predecessor to ICS and The Churchill Center, issued its first commemorative cover, marking WSC’s 95th birthday. The cachet was rubber stamped and copies were sent to each of our thirty-four members. What better way to mark that anniversary than to issue another one on the 125th? This beautiful design is by our ever-faithful Dave Marcus, still our cover producer after three decades. Covers are free to members on the covers list, but you must write to be put on. To do so, send your Finest Hour mailing label to Dave Marcus, 3048 Van Buskirk Circle, Las Vegas NV 89121. Leftover covers are sold to support the covers programme. They cost $3 each from Churchill Stores (address page 2).

Churchill in One Sentence

Herewith more reader entries in our contest to describe Churchill in one sentence of 50 words or fewer. When a reader sent multiple entries we chose the one that seemed to us the most unique and compelling. The winner will be announced later. Are there any more entries?

“His crowning triumph was his stand against tyranny, but he packed his life full from beginning to end, a shining example of how to wring the most from our allotted span: personality, writer, soldier, statesman, he embraced and excelled in all his many roles.”
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Arts – Recipes From No. 10: Vegetables

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 49

By Georgina Landemare, Churchill family cook, 1940s-1950s Updated and annotated ror the modern kitchen by Barbara Langworth (
All recipes have been pre-tested and pronounced editle by the editors.

Mrs. Churchill knew, ‘…if you want to keep Winston happy the first thing is to feed him well. He must have a good dinner. It is essential to his happiness.’ This embraced everything from his breakfast of eggs and bacon, cold cuts or fresh salmon followed by toast and black cherry jam, coffee or a glass of white wine, ending with a cup of cold consomme before retiring. To the last he loved his roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. On a certain occasion one of his clubs served his favorite meal beginning with petite marmite followed by filet of sole wrapped in smoked Scottish salmon smothered in tiny shrimp. Next a roast deer stuffed with plate and truffles. The dessert was a pudding”
—The Irrepressible Churchill, by Kay Halle.


Like many British households, Mrs. Landemare’s kitchen kept a cookery book from the quintessential Mrs. Beeton. The pictures are from my ca.1930 copy of Mrs Beeton’s Family Cookery and the recipes are, as usual, from Mrs. Landemare. BFL
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INSIDE THE JOURNALS – “I passed out of Sandhurst and into the world. It opened for me like Aladdin’s cave…” -WSC, My Early Life

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 48

Abstracts by Chris Hanger

“Churchill in Cuba” by Michael Blow, Quarterly Journal of Military History, [fall 1990], 3:1.

On 20 November 1895, the steamer Olivette entered Havana Harbor. Among its passengers were two young English subalterns, Reginald Barnes and Winston Churchill. They had come to Cuba as guests of the Spanish government. Churchill yearned for excitement and the thrill of hearing bullets whistling through the air. There had been uprisings in the British Empire among “savages and barbarous peoples,” but not the kind of real war that interested him. The Cuban excursion, Churchill’s colonel back home had said, would be “as good or almost as good as a season’s serious hunting.”

Their “official” mission was to determine the effect and striking power of the new smokeless powder bullet used by the Spanish. Eager to be in the thick of fighting, Churchill and Barnes arranged with a Spanish staff officer to join one of the mobile columns. The young Sandhurst graduates told the officer that they could catch up with a column just forty miles away, but the Spaniard told them that they would not last five miles. Guerrilla tactics, it seems, were not taught at Sandhurst.
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Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 46


British potteries were prohibited under wartime regulations from producing decorated china for the home market. Making a virtue out of necessity, designers added interest to plain white “utility” tableware through the use of shape and form. They were permitted, indeed encouraged, to use a standard sepia portrait transfer of the Prime Minister. They were also permitted to add a gold rim line (usually, in fact, relatively inexpensive gold lustre) which, whilst decorative, was reckoned to have the functional purpose of protecting the vulnerable edges of the piece against chipping. And they were allowed to use a limited range of tinted clay bodies, normally cream or pale green, in place of the standard whiteware.

Apart from those three very modest concessions to colour decoration it was the pottery designers’ bold use of innovative shapes which saved the wartime British dining table from becoming a plain and drab board. Many different potteries were involved in the production of “utility” tableware bearing the ap. proved Churchill portrait transfer. In most cases the individual pieces were unmarked but the following backstamps can be found: Gray’s Pottery, Stoke-onTrent; Lancaster’s, Hanley; Newhall, Hanley; Paragon China; Skerrett’s, Hanley; Sutherland China; and Wellington China, Longton.
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Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 43



Let us begin by recording all the major criticisms of Winston Churchill’s most famous book. 1) It is not history. 2) It is filled with grandiose prose, which was inflicted on apathetic readers who only wanted peace and a quiet life. 3) It is highly biased—the author never puts a foot wrong, and publishes hundreds of his own memoranda and directives but few replies to them. 4) It moralizes incessantly about dictators and their empires—but not die British Empire. 5) The impact of the war on Britain and the details of Cabinet meetings are vague; Churchill alone confronts the appeasers, the French, Hitler, the Soviets, the Americans. As one critic says, “Every instance of adversity becomes an occasion for the narrator’s triumph.”

In die words of former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, these indictments contain much that is true and much that is trite, but what’s true is trite, and what’s not trite is not true.

Professor J.H. Plumb, in Churchill: Four Faces and the Man (London: 1969, published as Churchill Revised in New York: 1969), refers to Churchill’s work as A History of the Second World War and then says it is not history. The faux title is often repeated. Churchill himself insisted, “This is not history—this is my case”—his “life effort,” on which he was “content to be judged.” In other places he calls it “a contribution to history.” Some of his admirers would say he dissembles and is too modest. Professor John Keegan, in an introduction to a recent new edition, calls The Second World War “a great history” of “monumental quality..extraordinary in its sweep and comprehensiveness, balance and literary effect; extraordinary in the singularity of its point of view; extraordinary as the labour of a man, already old, who still had ahead of him a career large enough to crown most other statesmen’s lives; extraordinary as a contribution to the memorabilia of the English-Speaking Peoples.”
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Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 42

Bibliophiles are royally served with three important reference books (and one restocked) on every aspect or Churchill’s books and books about him.

Churchill Center New Book Service member prices beat those and everybody else we know of. Reviews have been assigned for upcoming issues of FH.

To order: Send the member price (not the “official” price) plus shipping ($6for first book, $1 for each additional) to The Churchill Center, PO Box 385, Contoocook NH 03229. Visa or Mastercard welcome. Telephone (603) 746-4433. Email: malakand@conknet. com.


Connoisseurs Guide to the Books of Sir Winston Churchill by Richard M. Langworth. Tells you whether the Churchill book you’re holding in your hand is worth owning or not. Revised and extended from the sold-out original, with hundreds of corrections and additions to make the ultimate book about Churchill’s books. A combination buyer’s guide, book review and index of all editions (English, American, Canadian, Australian, foreign), it includes current values and frank aesthetic judgments about each. Over 200 photos. Nothing is left out, almost every edition is pictured, every variation described. The aim is to guide you in assembling a Churchill library, whatever your budget. 372pp., over 200 photos. Published at $40/£40. See excerpt starting on page 43.
1101. Member price $30
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Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 41

Q: A writer at Time Inc. (actually Sports Illustrated,) editing an article on the Sydney Olympics asked us to confirm a remark by Churchill that he did not want Australia’s support during the war because Australians came from “bad blood. ” The writer did not know where he got the quote.

A: We’ve heard variations of this but could not find it in • any of the usual source books or our database, and didn’t have the TIME to track it down. Nor are we sure it’s accurate. Of course Churchill wanted Australia’s support— and spoke well of Aussie troops on numerous occasions. It would be just like Time Inc., whose misrepresentation of Churchill in their “Person of the Century” issue was despicable, to dredge up the one negative he may have uttered about Australia, just in time for the Olympics. Perhaps they should stick to their January singsong about his opposition to “women’s rights.” Clearly, they will print anything.

Q: Where could I find information on the honorary degree that Sir Winston Churchill received from the University of Miami? -Lourdes G. Castano, University of Miami Advancement Research.
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Sir Winston’s Other World—and Jack LeVien’s

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 40

It’s High Time for a New Video on Churchill’s Paintings

The Other World of Winston Churchill. Produced by Jack LeVien, 1964. Videotape, 54 minutes

Film maker Jack LeVien, a Churchill fan who produced the favorable documentary “The Finest Hours,” is less well known for his “The Other World of Winston Churchill,” a documentary about Churchill’s pastime of painting in oils.

Unfortunately, not all of its 54 minutes are devoted to its proclaimed subject, and there is some pretty corny stuff: extensive stock footage showing what people do for leisure—everything except paint, it seems—while the voice of Churchill, provided by an actor, talks about the need for hobbies (or doesn’t talk at all). On the positive side, there is a touching if halting testimony by Churchill’s artist friend Paul Maze, author of A Frenchman in Khaki, for which Churchill wrote the foreword in 1934. Maze, who was one of Churchill’s artist-coaches, doesn’t tell us much about his technique, but is eloquent on what Churchill meant to patriotic Frenchmen.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Older Titles Reviewed: A Flavo(u)rrul Light Soulfle

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 39

By Charles W. Snyder

Mr. Churchill: A Portrait, by Philip Guedalla. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1941, rep. 1945; New York: Reynal& Hitchcock, 1941; London: Pan Books (shortened to end in May 1940, source list deleted), 1951; Paris: La Jeune Parke, n.d. (paperback); Stockholm: P. A. Norsted & Soners Forlag, 1942; Toronto: Musson, 1942; Buenos Aires: Claridad, 1942; New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1943. 346 pages, illustrated. Current availability: common and low priced.

Philip Guedalla’s Mr. Churchill (1941) portrays its subject at the pinnacle of his prestige, the man of the hour, the bulwark of a Britain whose survival still hung in the balance. If we cast our minds back to the sterner days of 1941, it is easy to imagine the appeal this book had, not only in Britain but in America, where many wondered how Churchill, the British bulldog who rallied his embattled nation, had become the great man who by then dominated the world stage.

Is Mr. Churchill worth reading today? Certainly it can be read with enjoyment, for its style is pleasing and its pace is fast. This is a very readable book. But the sources available to the author were scant, necessitating a superficial treatment of many topics. Compared with the meatier volumes now available, especially the Official Biography and such one-volume “lives” as Pelling’s, Gilbert’s, Rose’s and Morgan’s, Guedalla’s is a very light souffle indeed.

It is a flavorful dish nonetheless. Philip Guedalla wrote with flowing style and subtle humor. Because of the book’s readability, one might be tempted to recommend it to younger readers, who would like to learn the basic facts of the Churchill saga before tackling more detailed and scholarly treatments. But Mr. Churchill does not fully fit that bill because it ends with the German invasion of Russia, and so much must be learned that came afterward. One would certainly want a student of Churchill to know about his role in the many strategic decisions of the war, the conferences with other Allied leaders, the Fulton speech, the Nobel Prize, and the return to Downing Street in the 1950s.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Succeed Admirably, Fail Anyway

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 38

By Richard M. Langworth

Churchill: His Radical Decade, by Malcolm Hill. London: Othila Press 1999. 144 pp., large format, illustrated. Published at $35, member price $30

In 1854 in the United States, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill to finance a federal hospital for the mentally ill because “I find nothing in the Constitution to authorize this.” In 1896, President Grover Cleveland opposed a bill for federal flood relief on the same grounds. Ten years later in Britain, when the Liberal Party swept into power in a landslide election, the ground shifted. The Liberal Government of 1906 held it a State responsibility to create what Churchill called “a Minimum Standard,” below which no citizen should be allowed to fall. Not until the Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal did similar ideas arrive in America. Churchill’s Liberals created a rudimentary welfare state twenty years before FDR, and might have extended it had World War I not intervened.

Little has been published on Churchill’s decade as radical-Liberal (roughly the first decade of the 20th century) when he became disenchanted with the Conservative Party, crossed the floor to the Liberals and, encouraged by Lloyd George, railed against the privileges of his class. Criss-crossing the country in what Alistair Cooke compared to “a gigantic vaudeville act,” Churchill and Lloyd George championed old age pensions, prison reform, unemployment insurance, public health care, and reform (if not elimination) of the House of Lords. Malcolm Hill, whose book addresses this obscure period, believes Churchill’s quest was “hopeless” because he did not believe the state should “take responsibility by taxation for retirement, education, health and welfare”; but that Churchill showed “unusual stature” in his efforts to mitigate poverty, far in advance of better known reformers like Franklin Roosevelt.
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Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 36


For the past few years I have been in severe danger of sounding like a squeaking door, the proverbial broken record and a clamorous news vendor combined. I cannot count the number of occasions on which I have said, in one form or another, “Watch This Space,” as I promise news of plans to extend the Cabinet War Rooms. Now, like Churchill in his Mansion House speech after victory at El Alamein (something I hear repeated on the CWR sound system several times each day—forgive me if I sink into his rhetoric), I can announce: “We have a victory!”

After six years of negotiations with the Treasury and its private sector partners, after the collapse of one PFI* scheme and its transformation into another, after a period which has seen a change of Director-Generals, the realisation of the American Air Museum and the Holocaust exhibition and the rise of the Imperial War Museum-North, the CWR has finally set its foot firmly on the path of its own expansion.

As is the way with such long campaigns, the issue was resolved in a very short space of time, as all parties suddenly and very rudely found themselves up against immutable tight deadlines. After years of occasional meetings, drawn out correspondence and discussions over drinks at Departmental parties, in a matter of weeks a triangle of law firms, a bevy of consultants and a charm of government officials generated a pile of faxes, e-mails and notes of telephone conversations that now fill half a filing cabinet.

The saga began in 1994 with the first announcement of a PFI scheme to develop the building under which we dwell, known by its rather biblical sounding sobriquet of GOGGS, or, more prosaically, Government Offices Great George Street. This seemed to me to offer the last chance for the CWR to “reclaim” the territory that it once owned, but which had been cruelly annexed since the war by the Ministry of Defence Photography Unit and HM Treasury’s archive. Few people were even aware that what one sees today in the CWR is what it comprised in 1940; that by early 1941 it had grown by 200% to accommodate a dining and kitchen facility for Winston and Clementine Churchill, a bedroom for her and rooms for detectives, servants and select ministers; and that by 1943 it housed major elements of military intelligence, planning and deception.

The plan is to restore and open to die public the “Churchill suite” and ancillary rooms, to create an improved education and public information facility, to make a second shop to meet the growing demand, alongside a conference facility with all modern appurtenances, to make more entrances and exits (to accommodate anticipated greater numbers)—and! last but far from least—to establish, as an intrinsic part of the CWR, a museum covering the whole of Sir Winston Churchill’s life, career and achievements.

We now have firm legal agreements which will allow us to occupy these historic spaces in two phases by August 2002. The commercial developer of the GOGGS building, Stanhope pic, and its construction partner Bovis Lend Lease, have generously offered nearly half a million pounds worth of fee work, equipment and actual works to speed the project along and our consultants are beavering away to produce a full business plan, feasibility study and project presentation. And feelers are already out to find the funds necessary to realise the scheme which are currently loosely estimated at around eight million pounds.

Any mention I make of the scheme to interested parties is consistently greeted with huge enthusiasm and an assertion of its worthwhile nature and inevitable success. I tend to feel the same, but, professionally I cannot let myself think that realisation of the project—and particularly the fund raising—will be quite as straightforward as many people would have me believe. As I look at the prospects for the next few years, die words of Churchill’s 1942 Mansion House speech again ring in the background: “This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.” Watch This Space!

Ironically, as I sign up for more of it, space is the one tiling I am currently running out of. I have spent the last ten Saturdays in the company of our equally keen (for keen read mad) architectural consultant, crawling hundreds of yards on our bellies under the shallow steel girders of the slab (where we were rewarded with a stillcoiled-up hundred-yard length of barbed wire [What, no Nazi spies caught in it, Phil? -Ed.] and a number of Second World War cigarette packets), wading through fetid water in the sub-basement (to find two pristine period pumps—and a lot of less-than-pristine detritus), and generally pillaging the Treasury for architectural reclamation: a rather elevated term to cover our snatching period furniture, light shades, spades, switches and signs. My office resembles that of the “Steptoes.” The Treasury’s corridors around here are tliose of a repossessor’s yard.

These exertions have combined with the efforts of those Friends who have kindly contributed small, but vital bits of office paraphernalia, to enable us to furnish several period rooms in our expansion. The solid support of the Treasury and the generosity of Stanhope and Bovis have set us well on our way to guaranteeing diat the first part of the expansion will be open within a matter of two to three years. I am confident that die small matter of several millions of pounds will be found and the whole “Churchill Project” completed within a matter of five to six years. As I always say: Watch This Space.

Mr. Reed ( is curator of London’s Cabinet War Rooms. His article is reprinted by permission from the Imperial War Room Despatches, August 2000.


Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 30


The Churchill Legend in the World War II American Media

A messenger of disaster and misfortune in Greek mythology was Cassandra, lovely maiden daughter of King Priam of Troy. The god Apollo offered Cassandra the gift of prophecy in exchange for favors commonly asked of beautiful young women. She gladly accepted Apollo’s gift, but slyly reneged on her part of the bargain. Frustrated and angry, Apollo sought revenge by ensuring that none followed her prophetic advice. Cassandra predicted the disastrous Trojan War, but her desperate attempts to warn her father proved futile. After the fall of Troy, the mythical Cassandra was captured and carried to Greece, where she faded into obscurity… until she was reincarnated in the 1930s as Winston Churchill.

Churchill was seen as a modern Cassandra who foretold a disastrous war started by Adolf Hitler. The outbreak of war in 1939 seemed to vindicate Churchill. Likewise vindicated were his suspicions of the Soviet Union, in light of the Stalin-Hitler non-aggression pact, his assessments of Nazi intentions and renewed German militarism, his criticisms of Neville Chamberlain’s Munich agreement, and his vision of Britain as a global force for democracy and human progress.1 The day Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940, a U.S. radio reporter in London commented that he had voiced “unheeded warnings” and that “he enters office with the tremendous advantage of being the man who was right.”2
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Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 29

(1) Cuban Connections

Maurice Baird-Smith DFC

Iwas the last President of The Royal Dutch Shell Group in Cuba, leaving when the company was nationalized by Fidel Castro. It so happened that at around this time, Sir Winston Churchill was cruising the Caribbean aboard Aristotle Onassis’s yacht Christina with Onassis and Anthony and Nonie (his first wife) Montague Browne.

Over sixty years before, Churchill had gone to Cuba as an observer and reporter covering the Cuban revolt against Spain. He naturally expressed an interest in Castro’s revolution, and Onassis agreed to divert Christina to Havana so that Churchill could talk to “El Jefe.” Unfortunately, the British Foreign Office persuaded Sir Winston not to go to Cuba—in my opinion, a silly mistake. He might have had some positive influence. Who knows?

One day a very agitated Cuban—I’ve forgotten his name—came to see me in the Shell Office. He had never met Churchill but was a great admirer, to the point that he kept him supplied with the finest Cuban cigars, along with gift bottles of the very best Cognac. Churchill had sent him some of his paintings, which the Cuban treasured greatly.
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Wit& Wisdom

Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 28


In an article entitled “10 Friends,” Forbes FYI (supplement to the regular Forbes magazine), Autumn 2000, William E Buckley, Jr. profiles Clare Boothe Luce, relating a story that Mrs. Luce apparently told him. -Scott Mantsch

“She interwove, with her instructions on how to paint, recollections of her experience with canvas and oils. Just after the war she went with her husband to England and spent the weekend with Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill at Chartwell. ‘I tried to be especially ingratiating because Harry [Luce] wanted U.S. rights for Life magazine of Churchill’s war memoirs. So passing through one gallery I said, “These are wonderful paintings.” He said, “I’m glad you like them, but only one of them is painted by me.”‘

“She flashed her sly, infectious smile, and then a little snort of laughter. ‘I thought, Oh dear, that makes me sound very sycophantic. I asked which one was his, and he pointed to a pastoral scene, a field of some sort. I thought I’d better do something to establish my critical independence. I said I liked it but I thought it was too—placid, lacking in movement. Three weeks later in New York the same painting arrived, but on it were three sheep bouncing about. His note read, ‘Is that any better?’ Harry told me later that my effrontery probably ended up costing Time Inc. $ 1 million more than they’d have had to pay for his memoirs.”
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At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.