July 4, 2013



“Mr. Churchill’s Secretary”

The following was received by CC President Laurence Geller, in response to bis recent letter to members, from former Churchill secretary and honorary member Elizabeth Nel. Any reader who does not have a copy of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1958), and cannot wait for the new edition (see below) should get one from www. bookfinder.com. See also her article, “Loyalty: A Churchillian Characteristic,” Finest Hour 52, Summer 1986, on our website.

2024 International Churchill Conference

Join us for the 41st International Churchill Conference. London | October 2024

Thank you very much for having included me in your most interesting and important programme for The Churchill Centre. I must apologise that it has taken me so long to react. I have recently celebrated my ninetieth birthday, and there has been considerable activity, both for me and by me, which consumed my failing energies, and was affected by my failing eyesight.

I am fully in agreement with the plans and ideals you have set out in your letter of 16 May, and hope I may, through thought and study, be able to suggest some areas of value. As you may know, I have done a great deal of public speaking on the subject of my wartime experience, and while much of what I shall have to say may be already on record, I will think. Please do not expect too much—nor frequent correspondence. My physical problems make letter-writing something of a chore nowadays.

In assessing my former boss’s achievements I have asked myself, and have frequently passed the thought on when speaking: “What did WSC actually do—what did he achieve?” I was in London before the war, though I grew up in British Columbia, and I remember well the attitude of Londoners at that time: “We mustn’t have another war; we’re still suffering from the pains and losses of the last one. Let’s rather go along with Hitler—let’s try to work with him to avoid war. He’s probably not nearly as bad as he’s portrayed. We just want to live in peace.”

And what was my boss’s reaction? He who knew what Hitler had in mind? He raised a clenched fist and answered in powerful tones, “Get up and fight.” He reminded them of Britain’s beginnings, her past struggles, her establishment of Freedom and Justice. His words appealed to the latent spirit which lies deep in British hearts. And they did get up and fight, by land, sea and in the air.

No one can take that away from Winston Churchill. The British people reacted to his courage, his determination, and his absolute loyalty to Britain and all she stood for. It was that inspiration which enabled us to win the war: not money, or clever inventions, or bombs, or guns. I know. I was there. (Thump on the table with fist.)

I warn you that I know nothing whatever of the Internet or Emails. I just have this old Olympia typewriter, and worsening eyesight. I still give talks if asked, but most organisations here have already heard my story. I will try to answer any questions you may have, but please don’t expect too much. Ninety is not the best age for memory. And please excuse any errors, cross-outs or over-types in this quite long letter.

That will be all for this occasion, but I will try to pass on some thoughts about what could be done to make sure he is not forgotten. Mr. Charles Muller of Diadem Books, Ocean Surf, Clashnessie, by Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland IV27 4JF, is to produce a reprint of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Readers may wish to be in touch with him for copies.

Every good wish to you, Laurence. I will certainly do my best to be cooperative and helpful. —ELIZABETH NEL, PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA


From Finest Hour 32, Spring 1975

One and one are two,
Two and Two are four.
I only wish to goodness
There wasn’t any more
Adding and subtracting,
Really, what’s the use?
When Churchill was at school
They say he was a goose.
Yet he became Prime Minister
And help’d us win the war.
Because he didn’t waste his time
Two and two are four.



Who was this knight whom we salute with pride
Wiping our tears,
As he sets out upon his last long ride?
He was the chosen voice, the lion’s roar,
Roll’d down the years,
That roused the Nation in the grip of war,
Inspired and strengthened by that unseen Power,
Blessed by his God.
He was the emblem of our finest hour.
He was the sword that smote upon the rock
(Like Aaron’s rod)
Of numb’d bewilderment and reeling shock.
As with unerring strokes he cleft the stone,
Surg’d forth the flood
Of England’s greatness as she stood alone.
“Blood, sweat and tears,” he warned us to foresee
Tears, sweat and blood
We shared, ‘fore final victory.
Alike to humble home and lonely post,
Scorning retreat,
His trumpet call went out from coast to coast.
Now, to that greatest ‘venture of them all,
Mission complete,
He rides obedient to God’s clarion call.


Mrs. G. W.S. Burton composed this poetic eulogy to Sir Winston just before his State Funeral. FH 32 was the first time it was published. 

A tribute, join us




Get the Churchill Bulletin delivered to your inbox once a month.