July 1, 2013




The Churchill Centre is grateful to our executive director, Dan Myers, and to David Woolner of the Roosevelt Institute, for their work in presenting “Roosevelt and Churchill: The Legacy of Two Statesmen,” (August Chartwell Bulletin.)—and to Professsor Warren Kimball for the insipiration. Behind-the-scenes efforts need acknowledgement. In complicated events, it is the organizers on whom success depends. We wanted to say thanks.

2024 International Churchill Conference

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


LONDON & NORWALK, CONN., AUGUST 15TH—The Folio Society is publishing a new edition of My Early Life at a price of $60. This will probably be the finest edition of Churchill’s autobiography published since the vellum-bound “Collected Works” edition of 1974.

The Easton Press has meanwhile come out with a leather-bound edition of The Boer War, a title originally spawned by Leo Cooper in 1990, which combines Churchill’s two South African war volumes, London to Ladysmith via Pretoria and Ian Hamilton’s March, priced at $130. —DAVID FREEMAN


HISTORY NEWS NETWORK, JUNE 10TH—Winston Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools, a government agency says. The radical overhaul of the school curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds is designed to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in the subjects they teach, the Government said. But although Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Joseph Stalin and Martin Luther King have also been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum, Mr. Churchill’s exclusion is likely to leave traditionalists aghast.

A spokesman for the UK Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the new curriculum, to be taught from September 2008, does not prescribe to teachers what they must include. But he added: “Teachers know that they need to mention these pivotal figures. They don’t need to be instructed by law to mention them in every history class. Of course, good teachers will be teaching the history of Churchill as part of the history of Britain. The two are indivisible.”


—CHURCHILL CENTRE STATEMENT, JUNE 20TH The study of Winston Churchill, his life, times, thought and wisdom, continues to expand four decades since his death. Churchill would be pleased that he remains so prominent, and rightly so. As he once is said to have exclaimed: “Study history! In history lie all the secrets of statecraft.” Churchill historians are becoming celebrities, called upon by the media to relate Churchill’s experience, be it with the Middle East, trade and economics, “summit” conferences, the UN and European Community, Africa, Ireland, India, America, religion and conflict, from a career spanning the terms of ten American Presidents and six British monarchs.

Consider the success of the History Channel, burgeoning sales of books (twenty on Churchill in 2006-08), heritage site visitations, historical reenactments, or the infinite number of educational websites. Enter “Winston Churchill” into Google and you get 2,850,000 hits—more than any figure in the first half of the 20th century.

Considerable misinformation attended a recent announcement that Churchill, Gandhi, Stalin, Hitler and King were deleted from a suggested list of historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools. The story would be disturbing if accepted at face value. The facts are more complex.

In the past, England’s curriculum authority has not only specified subjects to be taught, but has issued detailed instructions. The new policy frees teachers from those instructions. Both World Wars remain compulsory in English secondary schools. To teach those wars without mentioning Churchill would be impossible. “It is just conceivable that behind this lies the notion that ‘great personages’ can be taken out of history, which would certainly be a mistake,” states Professor Paul Addison of the University of Edinburgh, a Churchill Centre academic adviser and author of two books on Churchill. “But the rest of Churchill’s life has never been on the curriculum at all. If it were, it would demonstrate among other things the power of the media to distort the
record—with Churchill as one of the main victims.”

Sir Martin Gilbert, CC adviser and Churchill’s leading biographer, adds: “Paul Addison and I have long believed that there was more to Churchill than World War II (important though the war years are in his life and achievement). Both of us have written about many other aspects and periods of his long career. It would be good if the whole of Churchill’s story could be taught. Perhaps it is, in different parts of the curriculum.”

The Churchill Centre believes there was no anti-Churchill intent behind these changes, any more than an anti-Gandhi intent. England has had an over-centralized system, giving teachers far too many instructions and trying to dictate the content of every hour of the school day. In die information age, the practice was too limiting.

Today, young people curious about why China, Russia, Britain and France are permanent Security Council members, but not Japan, India, Brazil and Germany; why Israel is at such pains to defend itself; how Ireland won freedom; why the Middle East is what it is, and the borders of Iraq what they are; or where die Union of South Africa came from, will inevitably encounter Churchill.

Last year, 142 teachers and twenty-four high school students voluntarily gave up a Saturday to sit for eight hours learning about Sir Winston at Churchill Centre seminars. Another twenty-nine teachers devoted two weeks of their lives to furthering our mission of “teaching the next generation”— thanks to our partnership with the Ashbrook Center and a major grant from the American National Endowment for the Humanities.

While these are small blips on the educational screen, they represent a larger picture. The Centre is honored to be associated with the Churchill Museum in London; the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University; the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library at Fulton, Missouri; the Bletchley Park Trust; the Churchill Societies in Canada, Australia and the UK; and Chartwell, Churchill’s home, with the highest visitation of any UK heritage site.

Teachers and the educational establishment have long been supportive of our work. If curricula never changed, that too would be criticized. Education is an ongoing process, extending before and beyond ages 11 to 14. Every thoughtful person, whenever they have the time or the opportunity in life, will find in Churchill something illuminating.

Churchill Centre President Laurence Geller says: “I get up every day relishing the fact I am going to learn something new. I marvel over how I survived so long by knowing so little. I credit Churchill’s life, writings and example every day for educating me in so very many things. Nobody else even comes close.”

We were encouraged to read in July a statement by UK Schools Minister Edward Balls: “I guarantee British parents that every child will be learning about [his] life and leadership….We must never forget the debt we owe to Churchill and the generation he led. And we must never stop teaching our kids about it.”


MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H., AUGUST 27TH—Out of curiosity we entered “Winston Churchill” and some other prominent names into Google to see how many “hits” they produced:

Jesus Christ: 7,760,000
John F. Kennedy: 4,040,000
Winston Churchill: 2,850,000
Adolf Hitler: 2,620,000
Abraham Lincoln: 2,360,000
Ronald Reagan: 2,170,000
Richard Nixon: 2,150,000
Lyndon Johnson: 1,760,000
Franklin Roosevelt: 1,730,000
Harry Truman: 1,300,000
MaoTse-tung: 1,040,000
Benito Mussolini: 995,000
Hirohito: 904,000
Joseph Stalin: 752,000
Dwight Eisenhower: 733,000
Martin Gilbert: 320,000

While WSC cannot yet claim, like the Beatles, that “we’re more popular than Jesus now,” Google puts him well ahead of every contemporary in his career period (1900-60). It is perhaps unfair to compare him to more recent figures; yet even among American Presidents of his lifetime, only John Kennedy has more hits.

Anyone with web access can do this, but the hit count will vary from day to day. Ian Langworth, software engineer at Google in California, advises that search results change regularly as the company updates its index: “We find new sites, incorporate updates to existing sites, and lose other sites, which requires that rankings change. It’s our intent to represent the content of the internet fairly and accurately. We don’t manually assign keywords to sites, and site positions in our results are determined by many factors, which are explained in more detail here.


LONDON, 1932— “Dear Winston: Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.” —GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

“GBS: Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend the second—if there is one.” —WSC

(The play was “St. Joan.” —ED.)


VANCOUVER, SEPTEMBER 14TH— ” The Queen and Mr. Churchill,” by Professor David Dilks in FH 135, received the Finest Hour Journal Award for the best article published over the last four numbers (132-135).

Past winners are Professor Paul Alkon for his contributions to FH 119 on Lawrence of Arabia (2003); Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, for his essay “Never Despair” in FH 122 (2004); Robert Pilpel for his article “What Churchill Owed the Great Republic” in FH 125 (2005); and Terry Reardon for “Winston Churchill and Mackenzie King” in FH 130 (2006).

Since David Dilks was not at Vancouver, our plaque was sent to him.

Although we were rich in articles that qualified for high recognition over the past four issues, there was only one on which our editors could agree without qualification, not only for its historical aspects but for its lyrical qualities. When David wrote about the need for “someone at the summit of public life who can think and write” at Churchill’s level, it reminded us of how pleased we are to have someone at that level writing for Finest Hour.

Professor Dilks replied: “Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, on reading in The Times that his post as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army had been abolished, wrote with impressive understatement, ‘I was considerably taken aback….’ But not more taken aback than I to learn about the Award. Surely it cannot have been won before by anyone who did not even intend his article for publication! Need I tell you how flattered I feel that you should have come to this conclusion? I shall be proud of the Award. My mother, who died a few months ago, would have been so pleased. When I was given an Honorary Doctorate by the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, she said, “David, I do hope this won’t mean that people think you are a Communist.” I replied, “Only a very
foolish person could think that I am a Communist.” She retorted: “The world is full of very foolish persons.”


MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H., AUGUST 12TH—From time to time we like to remind readers that Finest Hour and our other publications take pride in being “bilingual”: When an article, including Churchill’s articles, originates in Britain or the Commonwealth, it is spelled (spelt?) in “English-English”; if it originates in the USA it is spelled in “Americanese.”

But then there are the Churchill speeches on our website, as Mr. A. G. Morley in New Zealand writes: “In [some] transcripts, you use American spellings. For example, Churchill would not have written ‘defense’ but ‘defence.’ Surely, in deference to the great man, you should use the spellings he used; to do otherwise dishonours his memory and his country.”

The fact is that some speech transcripts on our website come from American editions. We learned this recently after transcribing twenty fresh speeches for posting. The editorial style of speech transcripts will remain, alas, inconsistent. It is impossible to do everything; we have no appetite to go back and standardize every posting. Since Sir Winston was half-American, we are sure he would see neither dishonor nor dishonour in this.


LOS ANGELES, AUGUST 21ST— Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral coach started its long journey back to the England today, when it sailed for Southampton aboard Wallenius Wilhelmsen Line’s Tamerlane. The return of the coach to the UK has been made possible by the generosity of the current owners, the City of Industry, on behalf of which Los Angeles Mayor David Perez donated it to the Swanage Railway Trust as a gift to the British people.

With repatriation now assured, The Swanage Railway Trust has the task of raising additional funds to ensure the coach’s long-term preservation and display. What form these take will very much depend on how much can be raised, but the hope is that the coach and other associated artifacts will form the centre-piece of a new museum facility on the Swanage Railway. Full details of the project, including how to donate to the next phase, are on their website.


LONDON, NOVEMBER 16TH—A notebook kept by Sir Winston’s nurse Muriel Thomson late in his life was sold by Bloomsbury Auctions today. Among its contents are twenty-two pages of meticulous notes entitled The Form: a set of instructions shared by those caring for WSC at Chartwell or London.

In addition to making sure WSC had his cigars and whisky to hand, and checking on police protection at Hyde Park Gate, the duty nurse was expected to put Sir Winston’s budgerigar, Toby, “to bed” of an evening and to wake him in the morning. “When [WSC] rings his bell, tell the chef first and take papers up,” she wrote. “Draw the blind, put bed-jacket ready on the table; bird cage over on a shelf; breakfast (two lots), orange juice to cool in fridge.” The list of items to remember for trips between London and Chartwell included “cigar case, bird cage and stand.”

Rather breathlessly, as if it were a new discovery, The Daily Telegraph revealed Churchill’s love for animals, quoting historian Piers Brendon: “He had an anthropomorphic attitude to them. He had budgerigars, goldfish [golden orfe], cats, dogs, and he loved pigs. You name it, he loved it. He treated them like human beings and talked to them. [His routine was] all a bit of a mystery towards the end.”

Graduate Churchillians know of Sir Winston’s love of animals from many sources. In a melancholy moment in 1946, he mused to Walter Graebner, his editor at Life: “The world would be better off it it were inhabited by animals.”


LONDON, JULY 16TH—When Laurence Olivier stayed in Hollywood at the start of the Second World War he was accused of lacking patriotism. In reality he was working as an agent to persuade influential Americans to support Britain, according to a new biography, Lord Larry, by Michael Munn. Olivier, Munn says, was enlisted in Britain’s Special Operations Executive by film producer and Churchill friend Alexander Korda. Noel Coward told Munn, “It was down to Korda to tell Larry that Winston Churchill was not asking but telling him that his country expected him to do his duty.” The late David Niven said: “If German agents realised, they would have gone after him.” Olivier returned to Britain in 1941 and joined the Fleet Air arm, recording 456 flying hours. —RICHARD STIMSON, DAILY MAIL


LONDON, AUGUST 5TH— Churchill expressed alarm about an influx of black people in 1950s Britain and considered imposing a quota or halting immigration completely, declassified Cabinet papers revealed today.

In Cabinet notes for 3 February 1954 Churchill is quoted: “Problems will arise if many coloured people settle here…are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in the UK?…attracted by Welfare State…public opinion in UK won’t tolerate it once it gets beyond certain limits.”

WSC’s Home Secretary, David Maxwell Fyfe, told colleagues: “We should be reversing the age-long tradition that British subjects have right of entry to [the] mother-country of Empire. We should offend liberals and also sentimentalists….There is a case on merits for excluding riffraff. But politically it would be represented and discussed on basis of colour limitation.”

Churchill suggested letting “public opinion develop a little more before taking action.” There matters rested until the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, which allowed any Commonwealth citizen to enter and stay in the UK without restriction. Before World War II, there were 7000 immigrants in Britain; in 1954 there were 60,000. Today, as a result of the 1962 Act, there are six million in Britain who were born overseas, 10% of the population, destined to go much higher because of higher birth rates. —SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, DAILY MAIL


LONDON, MARCH 2ND— Newly-released MI 5 files divulge that Churchill rebuffed a proffered meeting with Count Helmuth von Moltke, whose Kreisau Circle was a Hitler resistance movement, fearing that it might be a set-up to compromise the British. Von Moltke, who worked as a legal adviser for German military intelligence and had freedom to travel, tried to arrange a meeting with Michael Balfour of the Political Warfare Executive in Stockholm in 1942, and again in 1943. He had hoped to negotiate a peace that would leave Germany with some power and military capability but, of course, no Hitler. At Casablanca in 1943, the
Roosevelt-Churchill declaration that they would settle for nothing short of Unconditional Surrender put paid to the negotiations. Count von Moltke was imprisoned a year later, and executed for treason in January 1945.


LONDON COLNEY, HERTS., JANUARY 29TH— The remains of 31-year-old Winston Churchill’s tree eyre are still visible at Salisbury Hall, off Ridge Hill at South Mimms. His mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, bought the house in 1905 and lived there after her marriage to George Cornwallis-West. WSC, a frequent visitor, built the tree house to meditate and write, disturbed only by the the rustling of leaves and branches.

Salisbury Hall, where guides once pointed out the tree house remains and WSC’s room, is no longer open to the public. However, there is a museum devoted to the de Havilland Mosquito aircraft, which was designed there.

WSC himself returned to Salisbury Hall in 1940, to observe progress on the Mosquito. The de Havilland Heritage Centre is open from March through October on weekends, Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information telephone Ralph Steiner at (0208) 954-5080 or visit their website.


ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL, LONDON, MARCH 19TH—Our Patron is a great-grandmother! Clementine Silvia Fraser (b. 1976, nee Hambro) wife of Orlando Gregory Fraser (b. 1967), gave birth to a Ruby Elizabeth Mary here today. Orlando is a scion of the Lords Lovat, 3rd son of the late Rt Hon Sir Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph Fraser MBE MP (1918-84), of Beauly, Inverness-shire, by his wife the former Lady Antonia Pakenham, daughter of the 7th Earl of Longford KG, now Lady Antonia Pinter.

Clementine is a scion of the Hambro family, daughter of Richard Hambro, by his former wife, the former Hon. Charlotte Soames (b. 1954), now Countess Peel, 2nd wife of the 3rd Earl Peel, daughter of Lord and Lady Soames. The Lady Soames is the daughter of the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG OM CH TD, Prime Minister 1940-45, and 1951-55, and his wife Clementine Ogilvy Hozier (later Baroness Spencer-Churchill GBE), descended from the Earls of Airlie. That is the official announcement. We congratulate our Patron and her family. 

A tribute, join us




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