CHARTWELL BRANCH TCC(UK)
PRESIDENT: Mr RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
A RE GUL AR N GIVI EWS NG I LETT UPD N FOR ER ATES M ATIO TO T N AN H I O N SE I ALL (PLE NTER D THIN ASE ESTE FEEL GS ‘C ANY D H F REE URC ONE HILL TO D YOU ’ ISTR THIN IBUT KM E TH AY B IS T E IN O TERE STED .)
Issue No: 11
1941 Sincere thanks to all who have renewed their membership...there is still time to renew before we send out details of our November luncheon to celebrate WSC’s birthday. Full details will be sent out in the middle of October to all ‘paid up’ members.
In This Issue:
Picture of Mary Soames launching Westerham War Weapons Week c 1941
“A Daughter’s Tale” - Lady Soames. 70 Years Ago. Miscellany.
Image supplied by Churchill Archives Centre & reproduced with permission of the Master and fellows of Churchill College, Cambridge.
A DAUGHTER’S TALE This book should appeal to all our members. Firstly for those of us who volunteer at Chartwell, or indeed anyone who shares our interest, this book adds some great insights as to what growing up there during the 1920ʼs and 30ʼs was like. S e c o n d l y, t h e m o r e intimate moments described, that Mary shared with her father, only serve to reinforce the very human man that WSC was. Born in 1922, the year that Chartwell was purchased, Mary was clearly a ʻChartwell childʼ and her reminiscences of the famous visitors makes fascinating reading. Clearly emphasising the important part that Chartwell played in our 20th century history. On a personal note, her childhood memories were very interesting, as being a resident of Limpsfield (where she went to school) I know of many of the places she mentions, and the village shop is still there, and the High Street very little changed. She goes on to describe her feelings at the outbreak of the war and her desire to ʻdo
her bitʼ, and together with her cousin, Judy Montagu, enlists in the ATS. They were able to serve together and there are many stories of their service and personal life together. In due course they both successfully a t t e n d e d O f fi c e r Training. It is fascinating to read how one moment she was alongside her comrades in the AA battery, then acting as hostess (in the absence of her mother) to some of the most important and influential people involved in the conduct of the war. The youthful desire to get on with life as near as normal, despite the war, comes through. ʻNormalʼ in this context takes on a slightly narrower definition, given that she was the daughter of a war time Prime Minister, (correction - THE war time Prime Minister!) and privy to information which had to be kept secret. As you will have gathered I enjoyed this book and found it a most compelling read and have no hesitation in recommending it as an addition to your bookshelf.
THENEWS! NEWS THE
70 Years Ago “the great arsenal of democracy” - President Roosevelt This was the phrase used by President Roosevelt in his annual end of the year radio broadcast in December 1940. (The broadcast was made before the ‘LendLease’ arrangement had come into force.) The ‘Lend-Lease’ p ro g r a m m e w a s introduced as the result of our dwindling gold reserves and dollar b a l a n c e s , insufficient to pay for war supplies from the USA. This was proving to be a problem. It is interesting to note that an American warship had been sent to Cape Town to collect $50million of our gold reserves held there! This caused WSC to draft a note to the President, stating this “would wear the aspect of a sheriff collecting the last assets of a helpless debtor” this note was not sent. However at the beginning of 1941, Harry Hopkins, one of Roosevelt’s closest advisers and troubleshooters, arrived in Britain for discussions and fact finding. Fortunately he and WSC formed a great friendship, and he travelled with WSC on a visit to Scotland. Sir Martin Gilbert writes in his book, Churchill - A Life: ‘That evening, at dinner, Hopkins
told the assembled company, I suppose you wish to know what I am going to say to President Roosevelt on my return? He would he said be quoting a verse from the Bible, ‘Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God - Even to the end.’ Churchill wept. This was described as seeming like a rope thrown to a drowning man.
Miscellany International Coference I understand several of our members will be volunteering for part of the conference and we will provide an update in the next issue. Mary Soames Photograph I have been trying to identify exactly where Mary stood to launch ‘Westerham War Weapons Week’ hoping it would be outside The Grasshopper on the Green, giving our luncheon date added poignancy - but I think it is outside The George & Dragon, quite appropriate really.