Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005
Quotation of the Season
“It is a mistake to try to write out on little pieces of paper what the vast emotions of an outraged and quivering world will be either immediately after the struggle is over or when the inevitable cold fit follows the hot….There is wisdom in reserving one’s decisions.”
—WSC TO ANTHONY EDEN, JANUARY 1945
THE LADY SOAMES LG DBE
LONDON, ST. GEORGE’S DAY, APRIL 23RD— The Churchill Centre and Societies rejoice in the wonderful news that H.M. The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint The Lady Soames DBE, our Patron, to be a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
Lady Soames is the third non-royal female to be appointed to the Order. The first “Lady Companion” was the late Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk, widow of the 16th Duke of Norfolk KG, in 1990. The second was Lady Thatcher in 1995.
Most significantly, this is the first non-royal father and daughter appointment in the 650-year history of the Order.
Our Patron also becomes the fifth Churchill to be invested with the Garter. The others were John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough (1703); John Winston Spencer Churchill, Seventh Duke of Marlborough (1868); Charles Richard John Spencer Churchill, Ninth Duke of Marlborough (1902); and Sir Winston Churchill (1953). A sixth Churchill, the Duke of Berwick, son of James II and Arabella Churchill, was appointed but never invested.
The appointment of Knights and Ladies of the Garter is in The Queen’s gift (that is to say without Prime Ministerial advice). Appointments to the Order of the Garter are therefore in the same category as the Order of the Thistle, the Order of Merit and the Royal Victorian Order.
Members of the Royal family are additional to the established number of twenty-four Companions. The Duke of Edinburgh was created a Knight in 1947, The Prince of Wales in 1958, The Duke of Kent in 1985, The Princess Royal in 1994, The Duke of Gloucester in 1997, and Princess Alexandra in 2003.
Despite her new title, our Patron is still addressed as “Lady Soames” (and never “Lady Mary”). If she had not already been the wife of a peer, appointment as Lady of the Garter would have led, in effect, to her becoming “Lady Mary Soames.” But because her husband was ultimately The Lord Soames (a baron taking precedence over KG or LG) she is, as before, The Lady Soames. Now obsolete, since LG precedes DBE, is our occasional terminology, “Dame Mary, The Lady Soames.”
SAGA OF NO. 10’s DOOR
LONDON, DECEMBER 8TH— One of the world’s most famous front doors has found its way into the newly opened Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall. Fortunately, the house it belongs to has a replacement.
During Margaret Thatcher’s tenure of 10 Downing Street, when the IRA was active, the wooden door that had been in service since the 1770s was replaced by one identical in looks but heavily bombproofed. The old door disappeared into storage.
It was rediscovered when workmen moved into a vault in the Treasury to convert it into the world’s first museum dedicated to Winston Churchill, which opened in February this year (see Chartwell Bulletin #7). Here they found the door through which Churchill walked as Prime Minister in 1940.
In December it was mounted on the wall, where it is one of the star exhibits. When the builders installed the original door they did so in a rush and painted the “0” distinctly askew. The tradition has been maintained.
“DON’T TALK ABOUT THE WAR”
BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 25TH— As Basil Fawlty said, there are times when it is thought prudent not to mention the war. In Histoires de l’Europe vol. 1, a text produced by the European Parliament’s Office of Information and distributed to 10,000 Belgian teenagers, there is no reference to World Wars I and II in the section on Britain. To read it, nothing of note occurred in Britain in the early 20th century.
“The jaw drops,” says historian David Starkey. “Only one country resisted Germany in 1939-40…and World War I is one of the central events in British history.” Clive Heaton-Harris, a British Member of the European Parliament, said “it’s part of an agenda within Belgian society nowadays to have as little as possible to do with the Brits or the Americans. It’s sad, because if it were not for those two groups of people it would have been a very different picture on the Continent for the last sixty years.”
A spokesman for the Belgian section of the Office of Information said, “Everyone knows about World War II so we didn’t think it was necessary to put it in.”
—DAVID WILKES, DAILY MAIL
LONDON, DECEMBER 19TH— From The History Channel UK comes this shaggy dog story: “During the Boer War of 1899-1902 in South Africa, the commander of one of the Boer regiments was the Ukrainian Yuriy Budiak. Winston Churchill, a military journalist, was taken prisoner by these troops. Budiak himself saved Churchill from execution. Later thanks to an appreciative Churchill, Budiak entered Oxford University. He later worked in the government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, and then he faced Soviet camps and death in 1943.”
NO ID SOON IN BRITAIN
GLASGOW, NOVEMBER 24TH—We can be reasonably sure that a measure which did appear in The Queen’s Speech*—to introduce compulsory identity cards—is serious. But since it isn’t likely to happen until 2012, no one can be sure. Once British citizens learn that they will have to pay £85 to help the government introduce a surveillance regime which even Orwell would have thought incredible, they might go off the idea. That’s what happened in Australia. Whatever else they do, ID cards don’t stop terrorism. Spain’s didn’t prevent the Madrid train bombing, and they wouldn’t have stopped 9/11. We had ID cards during the Second World War, but Churchill was the first to call for them to be scrapped immediately peace was declared. This was for a very good reason: ID cards were used by fascists as a means of social and political control, racial hygiene, and plain old intimidation. —IAIN MACWHIRTER, THE HERALD (GLASGOW)
* Formally the Monarch’s speech to Parliament, this is in effect the ruling party’s legislative manifesto.
TOO SOON TO TELL
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 7TH— In Issues 2005, a special annual, Newsweek correspondents joined prominent guest essayists to consider the nature of leadership in the new year. In his contribution, “A Matter of History,” official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert wrote that it is a misconception that today’s leaders look small compared with Second World War leaders like Churchill and Roosevelt. Their leadership “was conducted in such a way that only many years after the war were its true parameters clear. This is also true of Bush and Blair: only when the secret telegrams and conversations become available will we really know who did what, who influenced whom.” Any accurate assessment of Bush and Blair must wait, Gilbert concludes, a decade or longer, until the record can be scrutinized.
This reminds us of a 20th century historian, when asked for his evaluation of the American Revolution. He replied, “too soon to tell.”
WE REPORT, YOU DECIDE
GUYANA, DECEMBER 12TH— “Thunder in Guyana,” a video by Suzanne Wasserman, tells the story of her cousin, Janet Rosenberg Jagan, a Jewish girl from Chicago who falls in love with a charismatic Indian-Guyanese, Cheddi Jagan, follows him to his homeland, and works for social change in this backward South American country. After helping her husband win election as the first president of Guyana, and serving in his government, Janet and Cheddi are driven out of power first by Winston Churchill (when the country was British Guiana) and then by the CIA. After brutal decades of house arrest and working behind the scenes, Cheddi returns triumphantly to power in 1992. After his death in 1997, Janet is elected president. She is considered the mother of her country.
—JOYCE MARCEL, THE AMERICAN REPORTER
LONDON, MARCH 1ST— The August Oxford Union Debating Society, which in the past has heard Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa, invited porn star Ron Jeremy to address it this month. Union librarian Vladimir Bermant, who organized the event, said, “Ron is the biggest and apparently the best in the business, so I’m sure he’ll have some fascinating stories to tell.” But Jeremy pulled out a few weeks later, though Oxford has not giving up on getting him eventually. Jeremy may have been too busy making billboards on behalf of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), where he strips off in a campaign to reduce dog and cat over-population, exclaiming, “Sometimes, too much sex can be a bad thing.” We are not making this up.
CAMACHO OR ROMEO Y JULIETA?
PHOENIX, OCTOBER 1ST— When the First Family were at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa here for the first Presidential debate, the red carpet was rolled out by Delores McKay, “director of estate experiences.” After extensive research on Laura Bush, whose passion is reading, McKay sourced a vintage 1933 limited edition, three-volume set of Dostoyevskys’s The Brothers Karamazov; a 1906 edition of Keats; and a handmade bookmark with Laura’s quote, “There is no magic like the magic of the written word.” For the President there was a custom humidor of 1942 pre-embargo Cuban cigars—which just happened to be the same brand that Churchill smoked during World War II.
This may explain why Finest Hour received several requests in September for WSC’s favorite brands of cigar. (We said Camacho or Romeo y Julieta, though ofttimes he smoked unbranded cigars, which were presented to him by admirers within the Cuban cigar industry.)
MORE ON OUR D.C. OFFICE PAINTING
EDMONTON, FEBRUARY 15TH— Dr. J. Edward Hutson, President of the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society, Edmonton, Alberta, has identified the origins of the oil painting on display at The Churchill Centre in Washington (FH 124:6 and both covers of FH 104). The portrait is based on a 1945 photograph by David Waddington, a copy of which was recently presented to the Edmonton Society by Dr. Patrick D. Finnigan, one of its past-presidents.
Dr. Finnigan, who purchased the photograph from Waddington in 1971, wrote: “I have never seen a duplicate of it and it should make a valuable addition to your archives. Attached to the photograph you will find an envelope with a brief history of the occasion.” Among Dr. Finnigan’s enclosures was a photograph of Waddington with three portraits of Churchill, one of which was the identical pose to our oil painting.
Attached to the photograph is a note: “Winston Churchill wearing the uniform of Air Commodore, Royal Air Force, an honorary rank in which he took great pride. This 1945 study is one of a series of portraits taken at [Churchill’s] London home, for the sitting of which David Waddington, then serving in the RAF as an Airman, was released from duty. Churchill was particularly pleased with this study, of which he signed five direct-colour prints for presentation purposes.”
The oil painting in our office, donated by John C. Hassett, was completed in 1959 by Ralph J. Smiley, a former member of Churchill’s staff in North Africa.
Artists often work from photographs. The Birdsall painting on the cover of FH 108 was based on a photo of WSC at his easel at Consuelo Balsan’s chateau at St George’s Motel just before World War II. A reader wrote us (FH 109:49) to say Birdsall had copied it from Curtis Hooper, who had used it on one of his 1970s intaglio prints signed by Sarah Churchill. In fact, both Birdsall and Hooper had based their work on the same 1939 photograph.
Sir Winston also followed this practice. A 1946 bodyguard, Ron Golding, wrote (FH 35) that WSC would often leave the scene of a painting but would have the scene photographed. He would then finish it in his Chartwell studio, working from a “magic lantern” projection of the photo. Observing Churchill so engaged one day, Golding “watched this a little while and then said, with respect of course, ‘Looks a bit like cheating.’ Mr. Churchill looked over the top of his spectacles at me and said quite solemnly, ‘If the finished product looks like a work of art, then it is a work of art, no matter how it has been achieved.’”
Incidentally, Smiley committed one infraction in producing his oil version of the Waddington photograph. As readers with a copy of FH 104 will notice, he gave Churchill brown eyes! Colour versions of the Waddington original portray the correct blue eyes.
PRESENTATION TECHNIQUES THAT WORK
I.VILLAGE.COM, NOVEMBER 24TH— Among “Presentation Techniques that Work” on this internet job resource website, Marjorie Brody recommends: “5. Create User-Friendly Notes….As Winston Churchill said when asked why he carried notes but seldom used them: ‘I carry fire insurance, but I don’t expect my house to burn down.’”
PINEHURST, N.C., DECEMBER 4TH— Rep. Richard T. Morgan (R.-Moore), co-Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, surveyed the results of North Carolina’s having two Speakers, one from each party: “I am proud to have been part of the historic power-sharing agreement in which I served as co-Speaker with my friend Jim Black (D.-Charlotte). We were successful only because Democrats and Republicans worked together.
“One of my favorite leaders made the following observation: ‘If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another…” The quotation is from Winston Churchill [who] had greater problems to solve than the cooperative character of the North Carolina House of Representatives. But his message resonates for all legislators as we enter the 2005-06 General Assembly. Let’s make sure that our leadership structure does not get in the way of future progress for all North Carolinians. More than a few residents of this state feel the same way.”
THE CHURCHILLS OF DORSET
DORCHESTER, JANUARY 21ST— New research by Elizabeth Churchill Snell into the Churchills of Dorset was presented at the County Museum before members of the Dorchester Association and the Civic Society. Minnie Churchill (mother of the lineal great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill), came from her home in Lyme Regis. John Forster, archivist and education officer of Blenheim Palace, was also present.
Roots of the Marlborough/ Churchill family can possibly be traced to the 1400s in Dorset, and various family members have since lived there: the first Sir Winston Churchill himself; the First Duke of Marlborough, his wife Sarah and his brother Charles; Winston’s brother Jack and nephews Peregrine and John and niece Clarissa (Countess of Avon); WSC’s cousins Ivor and Freddie Guest and Clare Sheridan, the sculptress; daughter-in-law Pamela Digby; grandson Winston.
Also attending was Jenny Bapasota, author of a new book on Blenheim’s tapestries, Threads of History. She is interested in research of the tapestries at Minterne House, which were presented to General Charles Churchill by the States of Holland after the Battle of Ramillies. Woven in 1710, they are, like those commissioned at Blenheim, declared to be of significant national interest.
Three Minterne tapestries have General Charles Churchill’s arms on flags woven into them, and have been interpreted by FH senior editor Paul Courtenay. The arms include those of Gould, the family of Charles’ wife, indicating that she was an heraldic heiress and that he, therefore, was “in pretence” as representative of her family. One of the tapestries is thought to depict Queen Anne, John Duke of Marlborough, Duchess Sarah and Abigail, Lady Masham.
Elizabeth Snell has written a revised entry for General Charles Churchill in the recently published new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. She is hoping to be able to publish a guide to her findings on the early Churchill family in Dorset.
EARL NICHOLSON R.I.P.
DALLAS, DECEMBER 15TH— It saddens us to report that our old friend Earl Nicholson passed away today. Earl was born in Mississippi in 1922, served in the Army Air Corps, and led a full life as a chemist for NCH, which took him all over the world. He and Charlotte, his wife of 60 years, travelled the world together. They became Churchill Centre Associates and founding members of the Centre. My personal thoughts are that our Dallas Chapter, formerly the Emery Reves Chapter, has experienced a huge loss. Earl, a member of the Chapter Support Group, was a gentleman and scholar of the old school, one of those people that makes you glad you met him, glad you knew him. He and Charlotte together were a book of adventure, optimism, love and generosity. John and I were fortunate enough to be with them on the 1996 Churchill Centre England tour and they were fun to be with and intellectually stimulating. Earl will be sorely missed by the North Texas Churchillians, and I am sure that each of us will smile warmly each time we remember him. —PAULA RESTREPO
BILL DEAKIN R.I.P
VAR, FRANCE, JANUARY 22ND— Sir William Deakin DSO, who helped Churchill write his memoirs, founded St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, and led the first British mission to Tito’s partisans in Yugoslavia, has died at the age of 91 in the French village where he had lived since 1968: one of the few remaining close associates of Sir Winston. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Deakin at first taught history and worked as a research assistant to Churchill. After the war, he spent four years helping Churchill write The Second World War.
During that war, Deakin served in Britain’s Special Operations Executive behind enemy lines, winning the Distinguished Service Order and the Russian Order of Valor for his mission to Tito, which provided the British government with vital information about Yugoslavia’s resistance groups. He parachuted into Tito’s headquarters in Montenegro in May 1943, when Yugoslavia was under heavy German attack; Deakin and Tito were wounded by pieces of the same bomb. His subsequent report on Tito’s group persuaded the British government to withdraw support from the Chetniks and help Tito’s partisans instead.
At the end of the war, Deakin served as first secretary at the British Embassy in Belgrade. In 1946, he resumed teaching at Oxford’s Wadham College. He became the first warden of St. Antony’s College, building it into a highly regarded center for modern history and political studies.
Churchill Centre chairman of academic advisers, James Muller, writes: “Judith and I visited Sir William and his wife in Le Castellet Village at Lady Soames’s suggestion in August 1989. We acquainted him with the work of the organization, and arranged for the complimentary membership, which Sir William held until his death. I was also fortunate to meet Deakin’s son in November at David Reynolds’ lecture at the University of London; his son had just retired from his professorship there and gave me news of his father.
“Sir William served Churchill as a research assistant as early as the 1930s, and was indispensable in organizing the staff who worked on The Second World War. His friendship with Churchill, along with his own talents and his aspiration to serve his country, propelled this first-rate scholar into a career that encompassed practical politics and diplomacy as well as writing and academic administration. His books will be a permanent, if understated, record of his own exciting life.”
Deakin resigned from St. Antony’s in 1968 and moved to France with his second wife, Livia (“Pussy”). He was knighted in 1975. His wife died in 2001; he is survived by two sons from his first marriage.
RETURN TO CASA ALVA
PALM BEACH, MARCH 5TH— Mayor William Benjamin and Churchill grandchildren Edwina Sandys and Winston Churchill unveiled a new monument to Sir Winston today at Manalapan Estates subdivision. The grounds were formerly part of Casa Alva, where Churchill visited Consuelo Vanderbilt and Jacques Balsan in 1946. Here he painted their swimming pool (see FH 116) while preparing to deliver the “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, fifty-nine years ago today. Mr. Benjamin has owned Casa Alva for nearly half a century.
The memorial, located in a sunken garden at the east end of Churchill Way, is composed of a marble sphere from an old English garden, atop a square coquina column. The front of the column includes a bas relief reproduction of the Churchill bust created in the 1950s by British sculptor Oscar Nemon. The plaque below includes Churchill’s “moral of the work” from The Second World War: “In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.”
Winston Churchill noted that his grandfather, like himself, was born of a British father and an American mother, and expressed gratitude for all the honors America has bestowed on Sir Winston: “I can’t think of any other statesman in history who has been so honored by the citizens of another land.”
Also attending the dedication were CC honorary member the Duke of Marlborough, the Duchess of Marlborough, U.S. Congressman Clay Shaw, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty.
—D. ROGERS, PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS
LESSONS FOR VIRGINIA
2005 STATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH SPEECH, RICHMOND, JANUARY 12TH (EXCERPT)
Governor Mark Warner:
Fifty-nine years ago in this very same chamber, Winston Churchill spoke of how much can be accomplished when people put aside their own particular interests for the broader public good. Churchill was here in America to advocate for a lasting transatlantic alliance in the aftermath of World War II. While that issue is certainly different from the challenges facing us today, his words to that joint session of the Virginia General Assembly still have enormous relevance:
“We should stand together in malice to none…in greed for nothing…but in defense of those causes which we hold dear. Not only for our own benefit…but because we believe they mean the honour and the happiness of long generations of men.”
This is our last year together in this ancient and magnificent Capitol building. The interior will soon undergo major renovations in preparation for the commemoration of Jamestown 2007, the 400th anniversary of our nation’s founding. So as we begin our last session in this building together, let us resolve to make it one of the best in Virginia’s history, to honor the ideals on which this Commonwealth and this nation were founded. Let us resolve to take Churchill’s sentiment to heart in our own time, and in our own circumstances. Let us resolve to stand together with “malice to none” and “in greed for nothing” for future generations of Virginians.
WSC ON LIBERTY WALK
HILLSDALE, MICH., OCTOBER 15TH— Hillsdale College today dedicated a new statue of Winston Churchill by alumna Heather Tritchka, erected on Liberty Walk, which winds throughout the college campus. Here Churchill joins a bronze of George Washington and the Alpha Kappa Phi Civil War Soldier’s monument, which commemorates the College’s commitment to the Union army during the American Civil War. Future statues will features bronzes of Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Frederick Douglass and Hillsdale’s “Grand Old Man,” Ransom Dunn. Sir Martin Gilbert was among the dignitaries delivering remarks.
Heather Tritchka graduated from Hillsdale in 1998 with a degree in biology and chemistry, but her true passion is sculpting. Commissioned to sculpt Churchill in 2001, she travelled to London to study other statues of WSC, and spent time at Chartwell. Her work offers remarkable detail: his Cuban cigar, zipper shoes, links on his pocket watch, even his round reading glasses. Hillsdale President and longtime CC ally Larry Arnn selected the pose, depicting Churchill at the standup desk given to him by his children.
Hillsdale was founded thirty years before Churchill’s birth, with a mission to spread “sound learning” so as to help preserve “the blessings of civil and religious liberty” and “intelligent piety,” sentiments it believes were shared and are typified by Churchill’s life’s work.
WOODFORD, ESSEX, JANUARY 27TH— Many local newspapers carried articles reporting on memories of Winston Churchill and his funeral, to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of his death. One of the most significant of these was the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian, the local newspaper of Churchill’s Parliamentary seat at Woodford, which frequently featured him in its pages.
Tony Woodhead, treasurer of ICS (UK), was one of those to feature in the coverage, for he had the luck to be able to meet Churchill just a year before the war leader’s death. “I remember he was sitting down and we shook hands and spoke for a few moments,” Mr. Woodhead recalled. “It was a great experience for me. He was a hero of mine as I was growing up. He was a great man.”
The newspaper also mentioned the experiences of Derek Mullett, who helped Churchill with his election campaigns; and Peter Lawrence, who was inspected by Churchill when he was a Boy Scout. Also mentioned was Churchill’s 1883 school report, one of the documents on show and available for viewing at the new Churchill Museum, open since February at the Cabinet War Rooms in London.
COACHELLA VALLEY, APRIL 9TH— Internationally recognized author and consultant Dr. Edward Gordon, who has taught history at DePaul University in Chicago, today addressed Churchillians of the Desert on the Battle of Britain. It was the last meeting of the group’s successful first season.
Dr. Gordon detailed the development of both the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe in the years leading up to the war. He also covered the development of radar and Churchill’s part in pressing for the rearmament of the RAF, notably in urging the re-equipping of Fighter Command with modern monoplanes such as the Spitfire and Hurricane. He emphasized that the battle was a turning point in the war, and explained how failures by Hitler and Goering allowed the RAF to escape defeat. This victory led to Hitler postponing, and later cancelling, the invasion of Britain (Operation Sea Lion). As Churchill said in his famous speech of that summer, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
One of the members present, Gloria Vogel, related how her father’s business in Ipswich, Suffolk (eighty miles northeast of London) switched from making high-quality furniture to producing wooden propellers, a delicate operation which required as much total precision as the former furniture manufacturing business: a clear case of turning plowshares into swords!
As part of the group’s program for the 2005-06 season, on which they are already working, Dr. Gordon will be discussing the war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia (1941-45) which he entitles, “The Clash Between the Titans.”
GRAND RAPIDS, APRIL 11TH— Members of the Winston Churchill Society of Michigan, along with several hundred others, gathered at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum for a reception opening the Library of Congress exhibition, which began in Washington last year in cooperation with the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and The Churchill Centre. The exhibition, which remained in Grand Rapids until June 5th, will appear in two more cities, Omaha and Seattle. Available to all attending was the book Churchill and the Great Republic, produced in association with The Churchill Centre.
The extensive six-room display ranged from a 1706 letter written by Churchill’s ancestor, the First Duke of Marlborough, to a film of President John F. Kennedy granting Churchill honorary American citizenship in 1963. Many items shown were newly discovered and had never been displayed before. Unusually, half of the array of archives were not related to the Word War II era. Probably the most contemporary display was an opening film compiled by the Library of Congress showing world leaders, TV entertainers and cartoon characters quoting, paraphrasing or imitating Churchill, ranging from WW2 through “9-11” and the present day.
After sumptuous refreshments with an English touch, all gathered for opening remarks that included kind words for The Churchill Centre and its Michigan affiliate. Group leaders Tom and Alma Goldner, Michael Mulley, and Gary and Beverly Bonine were able to chat with many attending. Appreciation was expressed to Ford Library Director Dr. Elaine Didier; Deputy Director James Krista; the Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington (sporting one of the many Churchill Centre ties seen in the audience); and Congressman Vernon Ehlers, for their work and assistance.
VANCOUVER, APRIL 14TH— Forty-two members of the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society of B.C. attended an “Evening with Churchill” at which Alexander Moans, Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University, spoke on “The Foreign Policy of George W. Bush.” President Christopher Hebb introduced the evening by reading a letter signed by President Bush and delivered to The Churchill Centre to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston. The Professor gave an excellent presentation and was well received.
CARMEL, APRIL 23RD— David Ramsay, son of D-Day commander Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, spoke today before sixty-one members at the Highlands Inn. Among the guests was WW2 fighter ace General F. Michael Rogers, who in his P51 Mustang shot down twelve Nazi planes over Normandy and piloted General Eisenhower for his first taste of live action over Europe. Deborah Churchill Luster, a descendant of the First Duke of Marlborough, attended with her husband Robert. We met Jane Shields, a WW2 Red Cross volunteer who waded ashore on Normandy in June 1944; Robert and Marcie Thedinger, who had traveled all the way from St. Joseph, Missouri; and Christopher Longstaffe, chief executive of Churchill Leadership, Inc., and his wife Caroline. Our youngest guest was Miss Victoria Ness, age 1, daughter of Andrew and Christy Ness of Lafayette.
David Ramsay’s remarks about his father’s role in Dunkirk and Normandy—one operation in the shadow of defeat, the other the first wave of victory—were enthusiastically received after a warm introduction by General Rogers. Judy Kambestad, CC director of affiliates, spoke about the Annenberg Grant supporting distribution of Celia Sandys’ book Churchill. Luncheon was preceded by an open bar and book signing by David Ramsay, and Chris Longstaffe offered copies of Celia’s book as well.
Everyone is excited about the new Northern California Churchill Society and future events. One member suggested that in view of our start, the next speaker should be Colin Powell. That says it all regarding how positively Mr. Ramsay was received.
—SUSAN AND RICHARD MASTIO
VANCOUVER ISLAND’S CHURCHILL HAWTHORN
VICTORIA, B.C.— Rob Hughes of the City of Victoria Parks Division recently sent a report on the “Winston Churchill English hawthorn” planted in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park by the visiting Winston Spencer Churchill in September 1929.
Late last summer, Mr. Hughes attempted to “T-bud” two English hawthorn stock plants with scion wood from the Churchill tree. Unfortunately, despite being monitored throughout the fall and winter, it does not appear that either of the buds survived. The Parks Division will again fertilize the tree this spring, and water it periodically through the summer. Mr. Hughes will also locate a number of English hawthorn plants to use as understock for budding in the late summer. He hopes that a greater number of plants will ensure success in propagating the tree.
TORONTO, MAY 10TH— Professor David Dilks, author of a new book, The Great Dominion: Churchill in Canada 1900-1954, was the headline speaker tonight at a sell-out dinner held jointly with the Albany Club of Toronto. This is an important new treatment of a specialized subject and a companion volume to Martin Gilbert’s upcoming Churchill and America. Together these two books make up some of the year’s required reading, and are eagerly awaited by Churchillians.
NEWPORT, R.I., MAY 13TH— New England Churchillians were guests of the Naval War College here today for a program on “Churchill and the Dardanelles,” marking the 90th anniversary of the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign and the resultant enforced resignation of Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty, thought perhaps to have ended his career. This subject also occupied most of Finest Hour 126, our previous issue.