Monday, May 14, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 14, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey (John Wiley & Sons), Churchill’s official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert recounts many amusing stories

One that you’ll find on pg. 23 concerns the Duchess of Buccleuth, whose husband fought with Churchill at the Battle of Omdurman. The Duchess had been a friend of Churchill’s all her life.

Churchill visited her in early 1939 and, as she later explained to Gilbert, she sought Churchill’s advice on a matter of some importance.

It seems Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who at the time was doing all he could to keep Churchill out of his Government, would soon be visiting the area to speak at an outdoor meeting to the local Conservatives. The Duchess was in charge of making arrangements for the event. She asked Churchill where he thought she should put the podium.

“It doesn’t matter where you put it,” Churchill replied, “as long as he has the sun in his eyes and the wind in his teeth.”