July 24, 2015

Finest Hour 166, Winter 2015

Page 05


how strange it is that the past is so little understood and so quickly forgotten. we live in the most thoughtless of ages….i have tried to drag history up a little nearer to our own times in case it should be helpful as a guide in present  difficulties.
—WSC, 5 April 1929. 

Churchill Nov14-207Winston Churchill’s grave at Bladon

Sir Martin Gilbert Tribute

LONDON— The box of Finest Hours came in today. I took one to Martin. I am sorry you were not there to see his reaction—he was very touched.  I showed it to him, read the names of those who had contributed and talked about it a bit. He tried, with great effort, to say something. I don’t know what he wanted to say. I asked him if he was pleased and he nodded and closed his eyes. Just to be sure, I held up his Yes and No signs, and he stared at the Yes.

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I read him your [Richard Langworth’s] piece and he let out a couple of sobs. I read him a couple other pieces, and we looked through it. I will read him two or three pieces a day. He didn’t want me to put it down, but I didn’t want to overwhelm him.

Thank you so much for this great gift. He has touched so many people, and it is so good that he can have some of the goodness and generosity he spread around coming back to him.

VICTORIA, B.C.— I have just received the tribute issue to Martin Gilbert, and congratulate you once again on a splendid issue. Whatever else I’m doing, when FH arrives, I stop doing it and start turning the pages.

CULPEPER, VA— In reading your beautiful paean to Sir Martin Gilbert I had a lump in my throat when you recalled his visit to Stour, where he spoke to your 2006 Churchill Tour. Brenda and I vividly recall that experience. Sir Martin had not been in the house since Randolph Churchill died, and it clearly brought back powerful memories. His story about Randolph seeking his mother’s approval for access to WSC’s private letters at a very strained dinner at Stour, resulting in her leaving the table and demanding to be driven back to London by the young Martin, was a priceless insight to history. (Happily the dispute was temporary.) We will always be grateful to you [Richard] and Barbara for providing a comprehensive glimpse into Churchill’s life.

Richard Langworth  Retirement

You were kind enough to answer my Churchill questions several times and print a few of my offerings. But in FH 165, I was gobsmacked to find my name in the list of contributors, among such luminaries as Arthur Schlesinger, William Buckley, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Hardy, Alistair Cooke and Martin Gilbert. I felt like a mouse who had crept into a cathedral. It was a pleasure to review your Churchill by Himself for our newspaper. The book is a source I frequently refer to, especially the “Red Herrings” section. Thank you again for your dedicated service.

REDWOOD CITY, CA— I’ve already read half the issue but I don’t want to speed through it. I read “Hail and Farewell” unbelieving how all those years have flown by at warp speed. The tributes to Sir Martin are touchingly composed. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to commemorate and honor someone so prolific who has been sidelined by illness. What luck the world and Sir Winston had in having Martin there to “keep the record green.” Thank you so much Richard and Barbara for all the years. I’m glad we met when we did. I guess you’ve seen the results of the Lady Soames auction. The famous Goldfish Pool painting (cover, FH 132) went for a record sum. Mary showed it to me when I visited her home.  Another era ends.

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