February 8, 2015

Finest Hour 164, Special Edition, September 2014

Page 06

By Laurence Geller

For the first time in its history Finest Hour has broken its regular schedule to produce a special edition in memory of Lady Soames, our Patron from 1983 until May 31st last.

It is hard for me to put into words the sense of generational loss we all feel. As I watched the so-recent images of those remaining veterans who made it back to Normandy on the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord, I was saddened to reflect that they will soon have passed too, and the live and vivid memories of those tumultuous and terrible times will have gone with them.

2024 International Churchill Conference

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

Mary Soames’s passing less than a fortnight before that anniversary is also a cause for grief, despite the knowledge of an amazing life, so well and fully lived. All who have had the privilege of knowing her share the pain of her loss and the loss of all she represented so well. Over the past decade and a half I had the immense pleasure of spending increasing amounts of time with her, and always enjoyed and learned from her company.

Mary was the most amazing link with history. We are blessed that her sixth and final book, A Daughter’s Tale, published so presciently, paints a vivid and personal picture of those times which no historian could match. So few tenuous links to Sir Winston now remain. It is very worrying and thus it remains vital for Churchillians “to keep the memory green and the record accurate,” as she put it, objectively and without hagiography.

It is very clear to me that we at The Churchill Centre and as Churchillians must work increasingly hard to ensure that his life, times and legacy remain well known, despite the loss of such strong links as Mary Soames. As I read the newspapers and watch the onslaught of information from around the world, it is equally clear to me that the lessons learned from Churchill are incredibly important and it is our duty to find ways and means of translating them into daily relevance, ensuring that leadership everywhere will at least have the opportunity to learn the lessons he taught us, the good to be gained from knowing of his experiences.

Lady Soames will be missed not only by her family, not only by all who remember her, but by all who knew of her as her parents’ much-loved daughter. Her life will be admired, respected, celebrated and never forgotten. I shall miss my friend, and shall do everything I can always to ensure that her memory is fresh, vibrant and much feted—as indeed she was.

Mr. Geller is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Churchill Centre.

A tribute, join us




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