B R A N C H T C C ( U K )
THE NEWS President - Mr Randolph Churchill A REGULAR NEWSLETTER GIVING INFORMATION AND UPDATES TO THOSE INTERESTED IN ALL THINGS ‘CHURCHILL’ PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE TO ANYONE YOU FEEL MAY BE INTERESTED
And it Snowed! Do hope you all enjoyed the little flurry and there were no problems for you, just grateful that we had no events planned during this period. The next event is of course our talk by Ian Thompson on 19th February, to be held at Chartwell in the Mulberry Room, when the title of his talk will be:
“ Bletchley Park and the breaking of the German codes in WW 2”. This promises to be a fascinating topic and is a precursor to a possible Branch visit to Bletchley Park later in the year. The meeting is timed for 11.00am (the restaurant opening time) for 11.30am.
AGM The date for this years AGM is 21st March. The venue will be The Grasshopper on the Green, Westerham. The formal notice and Agenda will be sent in due course but now is the time to put it in your diary.
“Yours till Hell Freezes” As I write this I am thinking that the above may be coming true! As I mentioned in our last News, the centenary of the outbreak of The Great War is inexorably drawing closer (can’t believe January is over) so I will be continuing a look at Churchillian involvement during this period. The above was one of the many ways that a remarkable figure, Admiral of The Fleet John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone GCB, OM, GCVO, signed off his letters to WSC. Other interesting sign offs were: “Yours to a Cinder and Yours till Charcoal Sprouts”. His opening address would be ‘My beloved Winston’. Fisher was a mixture of eccentricity and genius and had retired on his 70th birthday in 1911 as First Sea Lord. However he was recalled, in 1914,to this position by Churchill, First Lord of The Admiralty, a decision that was something of a surprise given the age difference of the two men. The relationship had in fact ‘secret’ meeting in 1912 at earlier News) coincided with of the Royal Commission to view to converting the entire was a major factor in the
started much earlier than 1914, their Reigate Priory (mentioned in an Fisher’s appointment as chairman enquire into Liquid Fuel, with a fleet to oil. The conversion to oil modernisation of the fleet.
This move was evidence that foresee the coming war with first line of defence, The Royal
both men were prescient enough to Germany and to ensure that Britain’s Navy, was prepared.
Fisher was regarded, and possibly still is, as the second most important person in the history of the Royal Navy after Lord Nelson. He was responsible for the development and introduction of the Dreadnought class of battleships and a keen supporter of the development of submarines. He was also a reformer of the naval system of recruitment and promotion. Unfortunately their professional relationship took a particularly unsatisfactory turn, with Fisher resigning over the Dardanelles campaign leaving WSC to shoulder the blame, although he appeared to give support in the initial stages. As Churchill was to write in The World Crisis: Alas, there was a day when Hell froze and charcoal sprouted and friendship was reduced to cinders; when ‘My beloved Winston’ had given place to ‘First Lord: I can no longer be your colleague.’ WSC was perhaps being slightly disingenuous with the last remark as even after Fisher had resigned his opening address was still ‘My Dear Winston’ in his correspondence. cont................
THE NEWS Fisher resigned on 15th May and on the 19th a new government was announced ushering in the Tory /Liberal coalition without Churchill as the First Lord of the Admiralty. At the same time news broke about what was called ‘the shell scandal’, but Beaverbrook in his book ‘Politicians and the War 1914-1916’ emphatically states: “What was the real cause of the fall of the Liberal Government in the Spring of 1915? To put the truth boldly and bluntly, it had nothing to do with the Shell scandal and was produced solely and entirely by the dissensions at the Admiralty between Mr. Churchill and Lord Fisher, which culminated in Fisher’s resignation.” He went on to describe his time with WSC on the night of 18th May: “Looking back on that long night that we spent in the big silent Admiralty room till day broke, I cannot help reflecting on that extreme duality of mind which marks Churchill above all other men - the charm, the imaginative sympathy of his hours of defeat, the self-confidence, the arrogance of his hours of power and prosperity. That night he was a lost soul, yet full of flashes of wit and humour.” Beaverbrook pressed Bonar Law to retain Churchill at the Admiralty but received the following response: “that it was useless to argue; that the Tory party had definitely made up its mind not to have him there.” The rest they say is history, but the silver lining to the cloud is the plethora of wonderful paintings that now enrich our lives.
Hyde Park on the Hudson I am sure you have all been aware of the publicity regarding the above and this may be a somewhat tenuous link, but I was thumbing through one of my books and found details of a letter written in 1942 from Roosevelt to Churchill:* “I know you will not mind my being brutally frank when I tell you that I think I can personally handle Stalin better than either your Foreign Office or my State Department. Stalin hates the guts of all your top people. He thinks he likes me better and I hope he will continue to do so. I know you will keep up your optimism and your grand driving force, but I know you will not mind if I tell you that you ought to take a leaf out of my notebook. Once a month I go to Hyde Park, crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after me. I am called on the telephone only if something of great importance occurs. I wish you would try it and I wish you would lay a few bricks or paint another picture.” *Kimball - Churchill and Roosevelt. Interestingly, the film includes a reference by King George VI to a ‘special relationship’ as he leaves, I must confess to thinking that it was WSC who coined the phrase in1946, we live and learn.
THE NEWS The Churchill Centre UK Corporate Membership I am pleased to confirm that we are now Corporate Members and have now received our first Branch copy of ‘Finest Hour’ which will be available at our next meeting. This Issue is particularly readable with very much a French flavour, naturally dealing with one of WSC’s heroes, Napoleon and fascinating items on
Pierre Flandin and General de Gaulle. In addition the editing of the Churchill-Roosevelt Correspondence by Warren F. Kimball gives a further insight in to the ‘special relationship’. Also there is a ‘Chartwell’ connection with WSC’s bricklaying exploits.
HYATT REGENCY HOTEL - THE CHURCHILL The Churchill Centre (UK) is proud to announce a reception in the newly refurbished
Churchill Bar at the Hyatt Regency, London – The Churchill in Portman Square, London, W1 on Monday 25 February 2013 from 6.00 – 8.00 pm with remarks on “Churchill and the D-Day Deception” by guest speaker Mr Ben Macintyre, author and broadcaster, whose works include “Double Cross”, “Operation Mincemeat” and “Agent Zigzag”. Members: £25; Guests £30 To reserve a place, please contact Noelle for a booking form which must be returned by 18 February 2013 Contact: Noelle Caulfield, Membership Secretary, The Churchill Centre - UK C/o Churchill College, Cambridge CB3 0DS Email: TCC.Membership@chu.cam.ac.uk