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Speaking for Herself New Clementine Churchill Exhibition at Chartwell

Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill’s home in Kent, has opened a new exhibition Clementine Churchill: Speaking for Herself, focusing on the extraordinary life of Churchill’s beloved wife Clementine. The exhibition at the National Trust property features items that have never been publicly displayed before, including treasured childhood photographs and a portrait by Paul Maze, the Post Impressionist artist. Read More >

A Younger Winston: A Modern Man of Our Time

Finest Hour 176, Spring 2017

Page 28

By Randolph Churchill

My father, the younger Winston, like his father Randolph, was born during a tumultuous world war. He loved the fact that he was born on 10 October 1940, during the Battle of Britain, at the Prime Minister’s country house Chequers. The night before, his imminent arrival was foreshadowed by the delivery of a German bomb landing one hundred yards from the house. My father liked to say that he was the next bombshell to arrive at Chequers!

Thus began a life full of adventure, daring, and a role on the international stage, which lasted six decades. He inherited the energy and dynamism of his father—my grandfather—who in 1941 in the Libyan desert with SAS founder David Stirling talked his way into the Benghazi German naval base, remained there for twenty-four hours and succeeded in doing no damage to the enemy before they talked their way out. Randolph had an eventful life, full of political opinion and a good measure of drama. Winston’s mother Pamela, the irrepressible daughter of Lord and Lady Digby of Minterne, met Randolph in autumn 1939 on a blind date and married him three weeks later. Theirs was a generation where the cocktail of the war years provided impetus to getting married expeditiously.

Growing up Winston

It was never going to be easy growing up as effectively an only child (his half-sister Arabella was nine years younger) and also as the namesake and grandson of the legendary wartime Prime Minister. My father noted: “I had come to realise from an early age that the name of Winston Churchill, which I was so proud to bear, was both a lot to live up to and a lot to live down.” He was a young man in a hurry. He would often escort his mother on her travels and lacked the benefit of growing up with siblings and other young ones around him. He never liked structure or authority, and he did not enjoy his time at school. He wanted to get on and make his mark in life.

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The Fabulous Leonard Jerome: Churchill’s “Fierce” American Roots

Finest Hour 176, Spring 2017

Page 10

By Paul J. Taylor

Winston Churchill once observed about a photo of his grandfather Leonard Jerome that he was “very fierce.” “I’m the only tame one they’ve produced,” he said modestly.1 Jerome, like his grandson, spent a lifetime beating the odds.

Despite an historic disdain for hereditary aristocracy, Americans love to create their own—if transitory—nobility. They are the wealthy, stars, glamorous, or notorious. Leonard Jerome was all that and more: he was a feisty, flamboyant, ultra-wealthy investor, sportsman, diplomat, raconteur, and arts patron. He easily made fortunes and easily lost them. His friends were a “Who’s Who” of the nouveau riche elite, and by age forty his informal moniker was “The King of Wall Street.”

Jerome’s life started humbly in 1817: he was one of ten children who tended chickens and other livestock on father Isaac’s farm in Palmyra, New York. Arriving in Palmyra at the same time was the family of a young Joseph Smith, who went on to found the Mormon church. The Jeromes had their own religious antecedents. Their French Huguenot forebears immigrated in 1710.

At age fourteen, Leonard toiled in a store, where he learned to haggle. He followed brothers to Princeton University, but, struggling with math and expenses, he transferred to and graduated from the less expensive Union College in Schenectady, New York. He then studied law and started a practice before an entrepreneurial spirit led him to found a newspaper and printing business. Both succeeded thanks to his shrewd management and hard-hitting political editorials.

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Meet Churchill’s Granddaughter Celia Sandys to Interview her Grandfather’s Secretary

Celia Sandys, author of several excellent books about her grandfather Sir Winston Churchill, will interview Lady Williams of Elvel, the former Jane Portal and one of Sir Winston’s last-surviving secretaries, at the 34th International Churchill Conference, which will take place at the J. W. Marriott Essex House in New York City next October 10, 11, and 12. Follow this link to register today.

Celia’s books include The Young Churchill about her grandfather’s youth, Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive about his adventures in South Africa, and Chasing Churchill about his various travels. She is Co-Chair of the International Churchill Society Board of Advisers and a highly popular speaker.

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A Day at Chartwell

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 26

“A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted.” — Winston S. Churchill

By Edwina Sandys
Edwina Sandys is a painter and sculptor. A granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, she is the author of Winston Churchill: A Passion for Painting (2015), reviewed in FH 174. This article (A Day at Chartwell) copyright 2017 Edwina Sandys, Artists Rights Society, NY.

I visited Chartwell last June with my sister Celia Sandys to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the house to the public. It was a typical English afternoon, not quite sunny, not quite rainy. Tea was in a large tent on the lawn near the house. Many of our cousins, Soames and Churchill, were there, as well as friends of the family. I was very pleased to meet for the first time David Coombs, author of the comprehensive catalogue of Winston Churchill paintings.

After a few “Hellos” and “How are yous?” I had a strange feeling that we were sitting having tea and cakes on what had in earlier days been the croquet lawn. Before that it had been a tennis court. I had never known it as a tennis court but had heard of my grandmother’s prowess as a fine and graceful tennis player, who also played in tournaments. The Croquet Lawn was very much part of my Chartwell days. Although I never saw Grandpapa playing croquet, I played many games with Grandmama and Field Marshal Montgomery. Monty was a frequent visitor and, although known for being a stern and formidable soldier, was very kind and even interested in talking to a young, shy, teenager like me. In those days, in the English countryside, croquet was quite a different game from the one played today in the United States, where it is taken very seriously, competitively as well as sartorially—everyone in white dresses or flannels.

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Sarah Churchill: More Than a Thread

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 22

By Catherine Katz

Catherine Katz earned degrees in history at Harvard and Cambridge. She is working on a biography of Sarah Churchill.

Sarah Churchill was the essence of the modern woman living in an era that was not yet ready for her.

Judged in her day as a “Bolshie Deb,” a runaway bride, a rising star of London’s West End, and “the one that’s always in trouble,” she was in her own words endlessly “written up, written down and always written about” as “a woman who happened to be a daughter of one of the ‘greats’ of history.”1

To describe Sarah merely as Winston Churchill’s daughter would be to tell only half her story. While Sarah was certainly her father’s daughter in both fact and temperament, restricting our understanding of her to this narrow lens belies her fierce independence, depth, intelligence, professional success, and personal impact on the lives of some of the most extraordinary figures of her era.

Though a tabloid fixture in her own times, Sarah Churchill is little known today. Amongst modern audiences who are familiar with her story, her life is often condensed into a few short and unjustly unforgiving biographical lines: Sarah Millicent Hermione, the third child of Winston and Clementine Churchill, was born in October 1914, two months after the First World War commenced. She became a moderately successful actress on the stage and screen, was thrice married (with two of her husbands being entirely unsuitable), and at times grappled tragically with alcoholism and financial difficulties, particularly towards the end of her life.

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The Woman He Loved: How Clementine and Winston Churchill Came to Be Married

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 17

By Sonia Purnell
Sonia Purnell is the author of First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill (2015). All quotations in this article are taken from the book.

Winston Churchill was not at all the sort of husband that Lady Blanche Hozier had had in mind for her unusual daughter Clementine. He had no small talk and was not—to be frank— conventionally good-looking or athletic. He also lacked a title, a stately residence, and, above all, a suitably aristocratic pot of money. Lady Blanche came to realise, however, that despite these serious shortcomings, he was a practically perfect match.

Lady Blanche had given birth in some haste to Clementine Ogilvy Hozier on the drawing room floor of her London townhouse in Grosvenor Street on 1 April 1885 (eleven years after Churchill’s equally precocious arrival at Blenheim Palace). Clementine was her second daughter, and the grand-daughter of a Scottish earl, and was apparently blessed with the usual trappings of her blue-blooded lineage. But all was not as it seemed in the Hozier household or Clementine’s young life generally.

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Churchill’s First Great Love: Pamela Plowden

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 13

By Fred Glueckstein

Fred Glueckstein is the author of Churchill and Colonist II (2014) and a frequent contributor to Finest Hour.

In Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills (1999), Mary Soames wrote of her father: “Winston was never a ‘ladies’ man,’ yet he greatly admired beautiful, spirited women, and over these last years formed several attachments. His first great love was Pamela Plowden, daughter of the Resident at Hyderabad, whom he had met as a young subaltern in India.”1 Although he proposed marriage to her that she did not accept, Churchill’s friendship with Pamela Plowden, later Countess of Lytton, continued for the rest of his life.

As a junior officer with the Fourth Hussars stationed in Bangalore, Churchill first met the India-born Pamela Frances Audrey Plowden in November 1896. Her father was the diplomatic representative of the British government in Hyderabad.

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Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Divine Intervention?

Finest Hour 172, Spring 2016

Page 48

Review by Robert Courts

Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley, God & Churchill, Tyndale Momentum, 2015, 352 pages, $26.99. ISBN 978-1496406026

God and ChurchillWhen St Martin’s Church, Bladon decided to install a stained glass window to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death, the most thorny question was how to commemorate—in a Church—a man who, whilst undoubtedly the saviour of Christian civilisation, was in no intellectually honest sense a Christian. In trying to grapple with that question, the authors of this book make two radical, but ultimately unconvincing, arguments.

First, the authors appear to argue that Churchill was—sort of—a Christian. It was just that he did not realise it himself. Sandys develops this argument more candidly on his blog (which you can find here) where he makes the startling claim, “Churchill not only believed in God and the words in the Bible…his faith was foundational to his character and leadership.” Thus, Churchill quoted the Bible because it formed part of his psychological foundation. Perhaps it did, but he also quoted Shakespeare and Tennyson; because he loved literature. Further, it is counterintuitive to suggest that Churchill’s opposition to Nazism was because of Mrs. Everest’s Biblical lessons, rather than a long-established humanity and geopolitical understanding. Churchill simply valued the morality that underpinned Western life and recognised that as stemming from Christianity. But that did not make him a Christian, be that as a “religious pietist” or otherwise.
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Action This Day Winter 1891, Spring 1916, Spring 1941

Finest Hour 172, Spring 2016

Page 36

By Michael McMenamin


125 Years ago

Winter 1891 • Age 16

“Your Tooth Tormented…Son”

In April, Winston came down with “an awful toothache” and wrote to his nanny Mrs. Everest to make an appointment with the dentist, which she promptly did. He wrote to his mother that his face was “swelled up double its natural size” and signed the letter, “Your tooth tormented—but affectionate—son.” His mother’s reply indicated this was not the first time Winston’s dental hygiene—or lack thereof—had been addressed by her. “I am so sorry,” she wrote on 29 April 1891, “to hear you have a toothache….I don’t want to lecture on the subject—but I am sure if you wd take a little more care of yr teeth you wd not suffer so much. Quite apart from the ‘pigginess’ of not brushing them!!”

Winston wrote his mother on 19 May that he and four of his Harrow classmates “have just been in a deuce of a row for breaking some windows at a factory…& only 2 of us were discovered. I was found, with my usual luck, to be one of those 2.” Lord Randolph was on his way to South Africa in May and, in a long, chatty letter to him, Winston surprisingly elaborated on what he had told his mother about the factory incident:
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Churchill’s World – Lord Randolph Churchill’s Legacy: Shares not “Sacks” of Gold

Finest Hour 170, Fall 2015

Page 18

By David Lough

Lord Randolph Churchill died in January 1895 at the age of forty-five. His son Winston Churchill claimed thirty-five years later in his autobiographical volume My Early Life that Lord Randolph had died “at the moment when his new fortune almost exactly equaled his debts.”1 Ever since historians have usually accepted this verdict.2

It is true that Winston’s parents had struggled with money all their married lives. The Churchill and Jerome families had contributed enough assets to the young couple’s marriage settlement to put them in the top percentile of Britain’s income earners at £3,000 a year; in addition, Lord Randolph’s father, the seventh Duke of Marlborough, gave them an extra £10,000 with which to buy a London house.3

Yet this start had never been enough to satisfy the expensive tastes that Lord Randolph and Jennie Jerome had acquired in their youth: Jennie could no more give up buying her clothes from expensive designers in Paris than Lord Randolph could cast off the male Churchills’ fondness for gambling.
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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill’s Funeral

Colour Footage of Sir Winston’s Funeral on 30th January, 1965.

“This wasn’t a funeral, it was a triumph.” – Lady Clementine Churchill, 30 January 1965.


Finest Hour 161, Winter 2013-14

Page 52

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,  
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day and see old age,  
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian”:  
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.”

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages  
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;  
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,  
But we in it shall be remember’d;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,  
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed  
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks  
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Henry V, William Shakespeare

Action This Day – Winter 1888-89, 1913-14, 1938-39, 1963-64

Finest Hour 161, Winter 2013-14

Page 42

By Michael McMenamin


Winter 1888-89 • Age 14

“My holidays are utterly spoilt”

Winston spent Christmas at home with his brother Jack and their parents. Lord Randolph wrote to his mother, the Duchess of Marlborough, on 30 December that  “Of course the boys have made themselves ill with their Christmassing, & yesterday both were in bed…Jack is better this morning but Winston has a sore throat & some fever.” WSC’s son writes in the Official Biography that “this did not seem to have prevented Lord and Lady Randolph from going away.”

Winston kept his mother advised, writing on January 2nd:  “My throat is still painful & swelled – I get very hot in the night – & have very little appetite to speak of…How slow the time goes – I am horribly bored – & slightly irritable – no wonder my liver is still bad – Medicine 6 times a day is a horrible nuisance. I am looking forward to your return with ‘feelings, better imagined than described.’”
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Churchill Proceedings – Winston Churchill and Religion – “Let us Command the Moment to Remain” – Winston Churchill as Father and Family Man

Finest Hour 164, Special Edition, September 2014

Page 32

By Mary Soames


I am excited and honoured to be here at the first gathering of the North Texas Chapter, and if I’ve had anything to do with people wanting to come then I am indeed happy. You will realise how deeply moving it is for me to see how revered, so long after his death, is my father’s memory, which the International Churchill Society does so much to keep fresh and green.

It makes me proud that you have all come here today to meet me. And as you are setting out on your way, may I venture to say to you what I hope the International Churchill Society does? It does a lot of things, of course—but I hope especially it will continue to take a particular care and pride in keeping the record straight.

There are a lot of stories told about famous people, and I find that as time goes on it is rather like the lens of a camera: Virtues and faults come out of focus. Inaccurate statements said in some paper or book are copied lightheartedly, and reproduce themselves all over the place. Few people take the trouble to go back to the source and find out if that really was what happened. I like to hope that the Society will, above all the other things, regard itself as the guardian of the true picture and try always to bring that camera back into true focus.
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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.