May 7, 2015

Finest Hour 111, Summer 2001

Page 08


Two Pullman carriages, 246 Lydia and 247 Isle of Thanet, which formed part of Churchill’s funeral train, are to be returned to Britain. They were purchased by an unnamed buyer for a six-figure sum. The two Pullmans will become part of the new Wessex Belle dining train on the Swanage Railway in the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset….Congratulations to WSC’s grandson Nicholas Soames MP and his wife Serena on the birth in January of their son, Christopher, named for his grandfather, the late Lord Soames. “My mother is especially happy and very touched that we have named him after my father,” said Mr. Soames. “He’s a magnificent specimen, but it’s difficult to see who he’ll take after. He hasn’t got any discernible features just yet.”….”I am surprised that Nicholas Soames reports that his new-born son has no discernible features,” wrote The Rev. D. W. Johnson of Oxford to the Daily Telegraph. “In my experience of baptising them, all babies invariably betray an uncanny resemblance to Winston Churchill…. Britain’s flap over the Alanbrooke Diaries died early, possibly crowded out by the General Election. Nevertheless, some of the conclusions drawn by London reviewers show a remarkable lack of perspective and comprehension. In an otherwise balanced review, Simon Jenkins wrote: “Alanbrooke was Britain’s top soldier and Churchill’s top military counsellor. He never left Churchill’s side. He appeared to detest the man and his cronies but, when offered command of the North African campaign, declined it out of duty to his country. He feared what catastrophe might befall Britain if Churchill were left without him.” Only the unread would draw such a strange conclusion, given that Alanbrooke badly wanted to leave Churchill’s side to direct Overlord!….Other reviewers wondered if Alanbrooke might have preferred to work for Stalin, of whom he does not have a bad word to say. The current Lord Alanbrooke replied: “My father greatly admired Churchill. Although he respected Stalin’s resolution in the war, he realised that he was not the type of man one would invite to dinner.” (Oh, we don’t know—Churchill did!) Our own favorite remark about Alanbrooke remains the one by Clementine Churchill when the first Alanbrooke Diaries were published in 1957: “We might have won the war without Alanbrooke; I don’t think we would have won it without Winston.”

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