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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WINSTON CHURCHILL. 50th Anniversary of his death.


I was born in 1938, my father went off to war in 1939. For the first two years of that war England stood alone against the Nazi hordes which had swept through, conquering all Europe. The one reason we stood? Churchill. Without his bulldog spirit, standing up against many of our lesser politicians who wanted an accommodation with Hitler, we might well have become like the Channel Islands, a Nazi province, shipping unwanted minorities off to Germany, the concentration camps  and the gas chambers. (whose liberation, we are also remembering at this time)

So he is a man I deeply respect. He had his foibles and made mistakes, but he was the man for the hour. He remarked at the time, “I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial...”.

 When he died he lay in state for 3 days at Westminster Hall, London. Thousands queued to pay their respects and thanks, my wife and I included. It was a unique moment of history which we shall always remember for our participation. I borrowed a car from a work friend (a mini - quite new at the time), we drove some 30 miles up to London, parked on the outskirts and got the underground into the centre. The queue wound back from Westminster Hall, where he lay in state, over the bridge for about 3 miles. The weather was bitter. But there was almost a "blitz spirit" amongst everyone. All wanted to be there, all venerated the greatest English prime minister. As we entered the Hall where his coffin stood it became deathly quiet, men took off their hats (a lot more wore them in those days) and many people were crying as they walked by.

It was as if the nation had lost a dearly beloved and respected grandfather.


A profound memory.

I owe this Youtube clip to my daughter in Australia. The commentary is by his former bodyguard H.Thompson. Who knows, my wife and I might be in that view of people filing past his coffin.





8 comments:

Tom said...

And the most emotionally moving part of that ceremony for me will always be the cranes dipping in salute.

Avus said...

Tom:
I absolutely agree. The crane drivers were not required that day. They came in, unpaid, to make their own emotional contribtion. It alweays brings tears to my eyes

The Crow said...

I remember when Mr. Churchill died. I was 17.

My mother broke into tears at the news, which I thought was odd, not knowing then what she had been through during the war. She said if it hadn't been for Churchill, we (the world) might still be at war. The Germans probably would have developed the A-bomb - they were close - and certainly nothing would have been the same.

She said there were two politicians' radio broadcasts played at Oak Ridge (Manhattan Project) where she worked: the President's and Mr. Churchill's.

Wish we had someone like him today.

Avus said...

Crow:
Well, he always said that he was half American (had an American mother)

Giving a speech to your Senate, once he remarked, "Had I been born on this side of the pond I may have made it here on my own account."

Anonymous said...

That you and Mum went to all that effort to get there, is moving in it's self.

Love from the Daughter xx

Avus said...

Daughter:
It was necessary and the very least we could do.
Pa x

Kay Cooke said...

I remember the day he died. I was staying with a friend as it was our school summer holiday-break and when my friend's father heard the news of Churchill's death, he said, " I thought he'd died when I heard the dog howl". He was a farmer with working dogs. I was 11 years old.
(Glad to hear your recovery is going well).

Avus said...

Kay:
Uncanny! Thanks for the good wishes.