“Which way shall we turn to save our lives and the future of the world? It does not matter so much to old people; they are going soon anyway; but I find it poignant to look at youth in all its activity and ardour and, most of all, to watch little children playing their merry games, and wonder what would lie before them if God wearied of mankind?”
—WSC, House of Commons, 1 Marck 1955
OLD SAYBROOK, CT., NOVEMBER 11TH— D-Day veteran and actor Art Carney, best known as Jackie Gleason’s sewer worker pal Ed Norton in the American television classic “The Honeymooners,” and a 1974 Oscar winner for best actor in “Harry and Tonto,” has died at 85. On his climb to fame, Carney once imitated Winston Churchill (as well as Franklin Roosevelt) on the wartime radio show, “Report to the Nation.”
Drafted into the Army in 1944, he took part in the Normandy landings, where a piece of shrapnel shattered his right leg. He was left with a leg three-quarters of an inch shorter than the other and a lifelong limp.
“Art was and is one of the most endearing men I have ever met,” the late actress Audrey Meadows (caustic Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners”) wrote in her 1994 memoir Love, Alice, “a witty and delightful companion who went out of his way to help each new actor find his niche in the often bewildering world of The Jackie Gleason Show.”
LONDON, DECEMBER 2ND— Letters written by Winston Churchill to his first love, Pamela Plowden, fetched almost £300,000 at a Christies auction today, as collectors competed for mementoes of one of the most romantic episodes of his life. One passionate note became the most expensive Churchill letter ever auctioned when it was bought by an anonymous private collector for £77,675. In it Churchill told her: “I have lived all my life seeing the most beautiful women London produces…never have I seen one for whom I would for an hour forego the business of life.”
The letters to Pamela, later Lady Lytton, range from Churchill’s first efforts to engage her interest when he was a 21-year-old officer in India to the mellow affection of old age, recalling in 1950 that he had proposed to her exactly fifty years before. Pamela, whose father was the governor of Bengal and acting Viceroy of India, had instead married the second Lord Lytton, of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire. Churchill also married another, but his friendship with Pamela remained constant throughout the years. For at least three years, she was the most important person in his life.
He wrote constantly. When he first met her, at a polo match in India in 1896, he wrote to his mother: “She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. We are going to try and do the city of Hyderabad together—on an elephant.” (To his mother he would explain that an elephant was necessary because its height prevented natives from spitting on their British overlords.)
The relationship in its early years was hampered partly by his lack of income and clear prospects, whereas she was the daughter of a leading official. By the time of his Boer War excursion as a correspondent, they were very close. The notes range from one at the front (“I am really enjoying myself immensely”) to a letter from the Boer prison camp in Pretoria (“Not a very satisfactory address to write from.”) When he escaped, her response was direct: “Thank God—Pamela.” Before he returned, Lady Randolph wrote Winston: “Pamela is devoted to you and, if your love has grown as hers, I have no doubt it is only a question of time for you two to marry.”
But the relationship had its ups and downs. In one letter, she suggested he was incapable of affection, causing him to reply: “I shall be constant. My love is deep and strong. Nothing will ever change it. I might, it is true, divide it. But the greatest part would remain true—will remain true until death.” After his marriage, both Churchill and his wife remained on affectionate terms with Pamela, and Winston continued to write to her for the rest of his life, including two sympathetic letters after the deaths of her two sons: Antony, the eldest, in a 1933 air crash and John, at El Alameinin 1942.
Their correspondence ended in 1961 with an ember of his past affection: “It is very nice to see your handwriting again.” —John Shaw
For more on “Churchill’s Women”see FH 114:20-22 (Spring 2002).
QUEBEC CITY, NOVEMBER 26TH— Many Students of history know that Chateau Frontenac was the site of two significant conferences during the Second World War. At the 1943 Quebec Conference, the leaders of Canada, the United States and Britain agreed to launch a military attack which would ultimately turn the tide of the war. But few people know that a bellboy played an important role that week.
After the conference had ended and the leaders had left with their huge entourages, Frank Brittle discovered a document in the towering Chateau. It was the Allies’ plans for D-Day. Recognizing its importance, Brittle handed it over to Canadian military officials. Years later, he was awarded a medal for his good deed. Historians acknowledge that, if the papers had fallen into the wrong hands, the consequences would have been grave.
Brittle’s story comes to mind as Chateau Frontenac marks the 60th anniversary of the historic conference by unveiling a permanent exhibit of photographs of the meeting between Mackenzie King, Roosevelt and Churchill. The exhibit, outside the room where they met, will tell the story of the week in which Quebec City was turned into an armed fortress and an anti-aircraft battery installed on the terrace outside the hotel. —CBC News Online
LONDON, JUNE 8TH— “Which book, poem or play has made you cry more than any other?” asked The Daily Telegraph. Max Hastings, the newspaper’s editor for nine years, quickly named Churchill’s My Early Life: “I first read [it] at the age of 13. It has been my favourite book ever since. I must have been at least 30 before it drew a tear, because only then did I comprehend the full awfulness of his boyhood. This is his best book, a masterpiece of exuberance, wit and warmth. It is without self-pity, yet it lays bare the passion which propelled Churchill through his youthful wars and into parliament….Every schoolboy should be obliged to read My Early Life and write an essay on the theme, ‘Is an unhappy childhood an essential ingredient of ambition?'”
LONDON, APRIL 20TH— The 90-ton launch Havengore, which achieved fame by carrying Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin up the Thames to a waiting train bound for Bladon after his funeral in 1965, is on the market. Owen Palmer, a businessman who formed a trust to buy and restore the 47-year-old vessel, hopes she will be used to teach young people “about democracy and the accountability of government. I want her to become floating history.” Unless a lottery grant can be obtained, however, Palmer will have to find a buyer. “We need someone to take the project forward. Although I love being here with Havengore, I must return to Australia for business. It would be terrible if Havengore has to go abroad because of lack of interest here. I imagine the Americans would be keen but, to me, it wouldn’t be right.” Mr. Palmer can be reached by e-mail to [email protected] or by telephone: (01634) 813057.
LONDON, NOVEMBER 19TH— The following are remarks by HM The Queen and the President of the United States in an exchange of toasts at Buckingham Palace during the latter’s State Visit to the United Kingdom.
HM THE QUEEN: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you and Mrs. Bush to London. Visits by American presidents have been memorable landmarks in my reign. Unlike in the United States, the British head of state is not limited to two terms of four years. [Laughter.] And I have welcomed no fewer than seven of your predecessors.
The first U.S. President to stay at Buckingham Palace was Woodrow Wilson in December 1918. America had then been fighting alongside us in the First World War, and was to do so again in our hour of need, during the Second World War. And at the very core of the new international and multilateral order which emerged after the shared sacrifices of that last terrible world war was a vital, dynamic transatlantic partnership, working with other allies to create effective international institutions. The Marshall Plan led to the beginnings of the European Union, and the establishment of NATO became the bedrock for European security.
Sixty years ago, Winston Churchill coined the term “special relationship” to describe the close collaboration between the United Kingdom and United States forces that was instrumental in freeing Europe from tyranny. Despite occasional criticism of the term, I believe it admirably describes our friendship. Like all special friends, we can talk frankly and we can disagree from time to time—even sometimes fall out over a particular issue. But the depth and breadth of our partnership means that there is always so much we are doing together at all levels, that disputes can be quickly overcome and forgiven.
I, in my term, have had the pleasure of paying three state visits to your country. The last was in 1991, at the end of the Cold War. Your father, Mr. President, was instrumental in leading the way through those heady but uncertain months, from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the break-up of the Soviet Union two years later.
In this 21st Century, we face together many unforeseen and formidable challenges. The leadership you showed in the aftermath of the terrible events of the 11th of September 2001 won the admiration of everyone in the United Kingdom. You led the response to an unprovoked terrorist attack, which was on a scale never seen before. Your friends in this country were amongst the very first to sense the grief and horror that struck your nation that day, and to share the slow and often painful process of recovery. And our troops have served side by side in Afghanistan and Iraq to lead the fight to restore freedom and democracy. Our two countries stand firm in their determination to defeat terrorism.
As we look to the future together, there are many fields in which our governments and people work alongside each other to the benefit of both nations. The end of supersonic travel by Concorde may mean that for some it takes longer to cross the Atlantic. But in the case of the United States and the United Kingdom, the two sides of the ocean have never been closer. Our two countries are each other’s largest foreign investors, supporting millions of jobs. In areas such as science and technology, health, urban redevelopment and law and order, our experts exchange best practice and knowledge to improve the quality of life for us and for future generations.
All this is founded on our longstanding sense of common purpose, our shared values and shared interests, our deep underlying sense of respect and affection. We are bound across the generations by much more, too: we share the confidence and the courage to try and make this a more prosperous, a safer and, above all, a freer world.
The reason for this, Mr. President, is written in our history. As your father said in his own Inaugural Address, “We know what is right: Freedom is right.” So ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to raise your glasses to President and Mrs. Bush, to the continued friendship between our two nations and to the health, prosperity and happiness of the people of the United States.
THE PRESIDENT: Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, distinguished guests. Laura and I are deeply honored to accept Your Majesty’s gracious hospitality and to be welcomed into your home. Through the last century, and into our own, Americans have appreciated the friendship of your people. And we are grateful for your personal commitment across five decades to the health and vitality of the alliance between our nations.
Of course, things didn’t start out too well. [Laughter.] Yet, even at America’s founding, our nations shared a basic belief in human liberty. That conviction, more than anything else, led to our reconciliation. And in time, our shared commitment to freedom became the basis of a great Atlantic alliance that defeated tyranny in Europe and saved the liberty of the world.
The story of liberty, the story of Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence continues in our time. The power of freedom has touched Asia and Latin America and Africa and beyond. And now our two countries are carrying out a mission of freedom and democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Once again, America and Britain are joined in the defense of our common values. Once again, American and British service members are sacrificing in a necessary and noble cause. Once again, we are acting to secure the peace of the world.
The bonds between our countries were formed in hard experience. We passed through adversity together, we have risen through great challenges together. The mutual respect and fellowship between our countries is deep and strong and permanent. Let us raise our glasses to our common ideals, to our enduring friendships, to the preservation of our liberties and to Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Events are also covered by our fraternal publication, the Chartwell Bulletin.
LISBON, OCTOBER 6TH— It is good to know that there is great admiration for Sir Winston in Portugal, as well as a knowledgeable and committed group of people who wish to become more involved in spreading information about him and his example. The Portuguese Catholic University’s Institute for Political Studies hosts an annual Alexis de Tocqueville Lecture here. For 2003, it was delivered by Christopher DeMuth, President of the American Enterprise Institute, on the subject, “Competition as a Principle of Good Government.” At the subsequent dinner Paul Courtenay, Vice President and Honorary Secretary of ICS (UK), made a speech about Churchill to one hundred guests from the university and beyond. He drew the audience’s attention to some of the less well-known points which Churchill had said and wrote, particularly in the earlier part of his career, which gave a valuable insight into the person Churchill later became. This event was designed to be the inauguration of a Portuguese Society; after dinner, many of those present said that they wanted to join, and there are good prospects for the evolution of a flourishing organization in the beautiful country which is “England’s oldest ally.”
FULTON, NOVEMBER 16TH— Philip and Susan Larson represented The Churchill Centre at the 2003 Kemper Lecture, given by Celia Sandys at Westminster College, home of the Churchill Memorial and Library. Ms. Sandys, on a speaking tour involving her two books, discussed We Shall Not Fail. The book offers a new take on the positive traits Churchill employed throughout his life, especially the remarkable strengths he displayed leading Britain through World War II: a passion for excellence, putting bad news into perspective, protecting innovators from bureaucrats, and requiring the same high standard from all.
Memorial director Jerry Morelock invited the Larsons to a dinner with board members, memorial supporters, Westminster College President Fletcher Lamkin, and Crosby Kemper. Also in attendance as a special guest was Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of the U.S. President. Dr. Lamkin welcomed the Centre’s representatives, mentioning that both organizations have a common goal. The dinner was a seven-course meal featuring beef Wellington and six wines, followed by cigars and port in the Wood Room afterward. “Everyone was festive and quite welcoming,” writes Susan Larson.
BOSTON, NOVEMBER 19TH— “Hey fatso, where’s the men’s room?” a young enlisted man once asked Churchill at the White House. “Straight down that hallway and turn left—you’ll see a room marked ‘Gentlemen,’ but don’t let that dissuade you.”
The story was recounted by Celia Sandys, obtained from a source at the executive mansion, part of her book, Chasing Churchill, on her grandfather’s travels. She appeared before a gathering of New England Churchillians and the Boston Branch of the English-Speaking Union, at the Suffolk Law School on Tremont Street. A capacity crowd of nearly 100 attended from Boston and the surrounding area, and we quickly ran short of books; but many new members joined and were referred to the CC Book Club for copies.
BOSTON, NOVEMBER 30TH— New England Churchillians and guests celebrated Sir Winston Churchill’s 129th birthday tonight at a black tie dinner the University Club, christened for the evening “The Republic of Laurania.” The speaker was Professor Patrick Powers of Magdalen College in Warner, New Hampshire, editor of the forthcoming new edition of Savrola, Churchill’s only novel. Dr. Powers gave a powerful speech on the relevance and significance of the novel Churchill expressed outward doubts about. Not only does Savrola provide considerable insight into the lifetime thought of Churchill himself, he noted; it also offers important, thought-provoking reflections about a society of ordered liberty, such as may be happening in Iraq, and the limits of democratic forms in nascent republics. A magnificent meal of salmon or roast beef was accompanied by Pol Roger, and toasts were offered to that long-ago day in 1874.
CHICAGO, NOVEMBER 22ND— Churchill Friends of Greater Chicago met at the Drake-Oak Brook for dinner and a program, which opened with a mention of President Kennedy’s assassination forty years ago and the singing (with the vocalized help of a power point presentation) of both the British and American National Anthems. Over fifty Friends gathered to hear Cdr. Joe Troiani USNR, faculty member of the Defense Intelligence Agency, discuss “Churchill and Intelligence.” Six students joined the members for an evening of intriguing historical facts relating to Churchill’s interest and reliance on intelligence throughout his career. Susan Larson began the evening with a report on the Bermuda trip and an update of the challenges set forth for local groups to involve students and to seek new Centre members. The choice of Chicago for the 2006 International Churchill Conference was announced to an enthusiastic audience. A number of Churchill quotes were offered both in the opening and in Philip’s introduction of the speaker. Collectibles were brought by members to share and the traditional toast to Sir Winston was offered. The members plan to meet again in May 2004. Please contact Susan and Philip Larson for details.
VANCOUVER, NOVEMBER 28TH— Sixty members of the Sir Winston S. Churchill Society of British Columbia gathered for the Society’s Annual General Meeting today. Mr. Rafe Mair, a member and a well-known British Columbia radio broadcaster, spoke ably on “Churchill’s Thinking Outside the Box.” The Society presented a $600 prize to the university student winner of the annual Essay Contest, who made a very good address to the membership. Dr. Joe Siegenberg retired as President and Christopher Hebb, who is a new Governor of The Churchill Centre, assumed the presidency. Twelve directors were elected, and a representative of the newly forming Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island was in attendance. The next event occurred on Thursday, January 8th, when the United States Consul General, Luis Arreaga Rodas, addressed the members.
ANCHORAGE, NOVEMBER 30TH— Twenty-four Churchillians braved sub-zero temperatures to celebrate Sir Winston’s birthday at a black tie dinner at the Hotel Captain Cook, which flies the Union Flag along with the Stars and Stripes and Alaska flag. The group, founded on 10 May 1990 and hitherto known as the Alaska Chapter of the International Churchill Society, has been renamed the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society of Alaska, and will apply for Churchill Centre affiliate
Aside from Churchill’s favorite Champagne, Pol Roger, this fourteenth annual birthday dinner featured Swedish fare in honor of the semi-centenary of Churchill’s Nobel Prize for Literature, received on his behalf in Stockholm by his wife and daughter Mary in 1953. James Muller described the history of the Nobel Prize for Literature and the award to Churchill. Joseph Henri proposed the toast to the President, Peter Gamache proposed the toast to the Queen, and Robert Dickson proposed the toast to the memory of Sir Winston. Stuart Hall, a charter member of the Winston S. Churchill Study Unit, the 1968 predecessor to the International Churchill Society and The Churchill Centre, attended and contributed books for the door prizes.
The evening included Harrow School Songs by the Canaries, who sang “The Silver Arrow” and “Lyon, of Preston, Yeoman, John”—the latter new to their repertoire. Keith Padden sang a solo of “You.” The other singers were Craig Carlson, Robert Dickson, Craig Goodrich, James Muller, and Mark Wohlgemuth, accompanied on the piano by Marie Matetich. The evening ended with the traditional singing of “Forty Years On” and “Auld Lang Syne,” with the Canaries leading the diners in song.
The next meeting of the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society of Alaska will be held at the Hotel Captain Cook on 30 November 2004, with a program commemorating the semi-centenary of Churchill’s eightieth birthday. Visiting Churchillians will be warmly welcomed no matter what the temperatures.
LONG BEACH, NOVEMBER 30TH— One hundred twenty people gathered at a black tie dinner, sponsored by Southern California Churchillians on the Queen Mary, to celebrate Winston Churchill’s birthday. Attendees came from as far away as San Diego, Las Vegas, and Santa Barbara. Celia Sandys, Sir Winston’s granddaughter and Churchill Centre Trustee, gave a fascinating speech centered on her book Chasing Churchill with descriptions of some of the times she spent with her grandfather celebrating his birthdays.
Jerry Kambestad hosted the evening, and Martha Applegate said grace. Toasts were presented by Professor Paul Alkon of USC, a CC Academic Adviser; Diana Gutman, Vice President, Art Museum Council, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Mark D. Kimball, Headmaster, Winston School, Del Mar. Journalist and author Terry McGarry introduced the speaker.
Two students attended from the University of Southern California, and many who arrived as non-members left with membership applications. Capping off the evening, a number of those present took advantage of the special cabin rate and spent the remainder of the night on the historic ship which Churchill used for ten voyages, before, during and after World War II. Registration for the dinner offered the opportunity to obtain signed copies of two Sandys books, Chasing Churchill and We Shall Not Fail. A total of 138 books were sold.
NEW ORLEANS, NOVEMBER 30TH— Fifteen Churchillians met at the home of Hill Riddle, Jr., here for the purpose of organizing a new Churchill Centre group. After refreshments, Ted Martin called the meeting to order. Attending were Hill Riddle, Jr., Edward F. and Louise Martin, Richard and Eve Barton, Alan C. and Elizabeth Wolf, Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood Briggs, Stuart and Olivia Bamforth, Priscilla Jordan, Gary Phillips, Orlin Corey, and Peter Beer. After some discussion, attendees voted to organize. They then elected Hill Riddle President, Ted Martin Vice President, and William Reeves Secretary. They discussed a possible dinner with a speaker in early February. Further information will be sent to local members.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Concert will take place at Blenheim on Saturday 6th March. Details and tickets can be obtained from Rose Lewis (01869)350049
In February the Library of Congress, working in conjunction with the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, presents a major exhibition on the life and career of Winston Churchill that will emphasize his lifelong links with the United States. Items displayed will range from a historic letter written by his ancestor the first Duke of Marlborough in 1706 to the Order of Service for Churchill’s state funeral in January 1965. This is the first comprehensive Churchill exhibition in the United States. The Library of Congress will also show, for the first time, important and newly uncovered Churchill letters and documents from its rich collections.
The exhibits will be on view from February 5th through June 26th in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Mondays through Saturdays, 10am to 5pm. This exhibition and its programming were made possible by the generous support of John W. Kluge and the Annenberg Foundation. The publication and symposia that accompany the exhibition are produced in association and through the support of The Churchill Centre.
The Churchill Centre is playing a vital supporting role by working with the Library to organize an invitation only opening reception on February 4th, including our Patron Lady Soames, and two family trustees, Celia Sandys and Winston Churchill. The Centre is underwriting the cost of an exhibition book featuring original essays by Daun Van Ee, a curator at the Library of Congress and CC member; and Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre. The book is a complementary piece to accompany the exhibition and illustrates the connections between Churchill and America through examples drawn from the exhibit. It will contain a preface written for the Centre by Lady Soames, and an introduction by Sir Martin Gilbert. Finally, the Centre is responsible for organizing and sponsoring two academic symposia, on February 19th and June 1st.
“Churchill and the Great Republic” draws on collections of the Library of Congress and the Churchill Archives Centre to explore Winston Churchill’s life and achievements. The exhibition includes approximately 200 items, a wide array of materials including documents, letters, photographs, prints, maps, audio-visual materials, and three dimensional artifacts.
Within each section of the exhibition key artifacts are featured, and numerous supporting artifacts further explore the central theme. Audio stations are spread throughout; here visitors are able to hear Churchill’s speeches, the texts of which are on display. There are also be two audio-visual kiosks. One will feature Churchill making several of his key speeches, such as his 26 December 1941 speech to Congress and his 5 March 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, Missouri. The other kiosk will demonstrate the influence of Churchill’s words and ideas on people today. Clips of individuals quoting Churchill in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, ranging from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to actor Jim Carey, will be featured, as well as presidents, politicians, and other significant figures using Churchill’s words for a variety of ends.
In conjunction with “Churchill and the Great Republic,” the sponsors will develop special outreach and educational programming.
Online exhibition: One in a long line of Library of Congress online exhibits which have averaged three million viewers each month, this will comprise an expanded version of the physical exhibit, showing complete letters and documents instead of the one or two pages that can be in the exhibit because of space limitations. Additional supplementary materials are included, as well as full transcriptions for all handwritten documents.
Symposia: The Churchill Centre, in conjunction with the Library’s Office of Scholarly Programs and the Interpretive Programs Office, is presenting two symposia, held in the Mumford Room in the Madison Building at the Library.
The first symposium, “Churchill and Three Presidents,” was proud to present the following speakers: “Churchill and Roosevelt”: Piers Brendon, Churchill College, Cambridge; and Warren Kimball, Rutgers University. “Churchill and Truman”: David A. Reynolds, Christ’s College, Cambridge; and Arnold Offner, Lafayette College. “Churchill and Eisenhower”: Klaus Larres, Queen’s University Belfast; and John Ramsden, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. James W. Muller of the University of Alaska, Anchorage and chairman of the Churchill Centre academic advisers, was the February symposiarch. The theme of the June 1st symposium is Churchill’s View of America, the details of which will be forthcoming.
Teachers’ Institutes: The Library is conducting two teachers’ institutes that provide educators with the opportunity to learn about and develop strategies to teach about the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill and his lifelong links with the United States.
Film Series: A film tailored to accompany “Churchill and the Great Republic” will be created from the Library’s film collection, largest in the world. The series will include documentary productions and feature films in which Churchill and his times are portrayed. Many of the film showings will be preceded by an introduction and brief talk that will provide a general background and further insight into the history and significance of the films.
The Library of Congress, established 1800, is America’s oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s largest repository of recorded knowledge, with more than 125 million items in over 450 languages. The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. For more information about the Library of congress visit www.loc.gov.
The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, was built in 1973 thanks largely to the generosity of Americans. It is located at Churchill College, which is the British National and Commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston, part of the ancient and prestigious University of Cambridge. The Centre houses the papers of Sir Winston Churchill, as well as an additional 570-plus collections of private papers relating to the Churchill Era and beyond. Included are the papers of Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, Field Marshal Lord Slim, Sir Frank Whittle, Rosalind Franklin, and some of the most famous names of the 20th century in the fields of politics, diplomacy, grand strategy and science. For more information about the Churchill Archives Centre, visit www.chu.cam.ac.uk/archives/.
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