Lord Moran (Diary: 512) tells us of a black stray kitten taken in by Churchill and called “Margate,” named to commemorate WSC’s October 1953 speech at Margate during the Conservative Party conference following what was probably a stroke. (The speech was a success, proving he had recovered.) Rather touching image—a tiny kitten lies on its back, legs extended, pawing at the edges of the morning newspaper, while the Great Man ponders world affairs. We know, of course, what Winston Churchill stood for. What does the kitten represent?
—-Judy Dean, Coordinator, UT Parents Association, Univ. of Texas Austin
Perhaps the opposite of Churchill’s Black Dog?
—Mike Campbell, Halifax, N.S.
Q: Can anyone tell me what the , quote is where WSC refers to the Mississippi (re: Lend-Lease, I think, sometime in 1941)?
—Robert Courts, West Midlands, UK
A: “This process [Lend-Lease] means that these two great organizations of the English-speaking democracies, the British Empire and the United Sates, will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs for mutual and general advantage. For my own part, looking out upon the future, I do not view the process with any misgivings. I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days.” This was the closing of Churchill’s tribute to “The Few” in his Commons speech of 20 August 1940. The full text is available at winstonchurchill.org/few.htm, but there are some missing words in the last paragraph.
—Chris Dunford, Columbia, Md.
Someone, Colville or maybe bodyguard W. H. Thompson, recalled that afterward, going home in the car, WSC broke out into a few bars of “O1″ Man River.” Out of tune as usual, but appropriate. —Ed.
Q: Please be kind enough to clarify something. In FH110:19 is the sentence, “On the forward deck…is a 5-inch, .62 caliber gun…” I have always thought that a “5-inch gun” was a gun with an internal diameter of 5 inches, and a “.62 caliber gun” was a gun with an internal diameter of .62 inches. What am I missing?
—Joseph R. Abrahamson MD (jabraham @ucsd. edu)
A: At last a question I can answer! Five inches is the bore diameter. A weapon’s caliber is its barrel length in bore diameters (i.e., 5 times 62 equals 310 inches in barrel length). Usually, the larger caliber the more accurate and better range the weapon. Our caliber is larger than previous 5-inch guns (they were .54) for a couple of reasons; chief among those is to have greater pressure inside the breech that a longer barrel will give you, so that we have a greater initial velocity out the barrel.
—Cdr. Michael T. Franken, Commanding Officer, USS Winston S. Churchill
Q: Was Churchill Bipolar?
—Anne Gallagher ([email protected])
A: This has been speculated, but there is scant if any evidence to support it. I say “scant” because there are depressives with a very small percentage of mania or hypomania that is not easily detected or manifest. My sense is that when Churchill was “up” it was owed to and not independent of the occasion. Even so, I am convinced that his “Black Dog” was a very real part of his personality and that it had strong genetic roots. There is a lot that might be written about the extent of his depression, frequency of the episodes and how profound they were when exhibited; but this is grist for a long academic paper. Mostly he managed his depression very well and it was more of a dysthymia or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) syndrome. The palliatives he found for himself were sunlight and bright areas, such as Morocco and the South of France.
—John H. Mather, MD
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