Friday, July 18, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 18, 2008

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

After a long absence from the series, Scotland Yard’s Detective- Inspector Walter Thompson is back today with an amusing Churchill anecdote.

In case you’re new to the series, Walter Thompson was Churchill’s principal bodyguard for most of the 1920s and 30s. He retired in 1937 and became a greengrocer.

On September 3, 1939, Britain entered the war against Germany and Churchill was aksed to join the government as First Lord of the Admiralty.

The following morning, Thompson received a phone call and heard the familiar voice. He remained with Churchill until the end of the war.

Among many incidents during the Blitz, Thompson recalled one very cold night when Churchill, as he often did, insisted on leaving the safety of his bomb shelter in The Annexe to go up to its roof to watch the German bombing raid.

Churchill had been on the roof for some time when he decided to sit down for a few minutes and smoke a cigar. Thompson, always concerned when Churchill exposed them both to increased risk by being on the roof during a raid, was this night also concerned that Churchill was exposured to the cold.

But Churchill reassured him about the cold. In fact, he said he really felt almost warm.

About that time a sentry came up to the roof and asked the PM if he’d mind standing up.

Churchill asked why.

”You are sitting on the chimney, sir. You’re smoking them out below.”
I hope you all have a nice weekend and are back Monday.

Tom Hickman, Churchill’s Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thmposon. (p. 127)