Winston Churchill: Greatest Briton Ever? Feb 8, 2015 13:50:31 GMT
Post by Admin on Feb 8, 2015 13:50:31 GMT
The anniversary of the funeral on 30 January 1965, which brought the capital to a standstill and took place a week after his death aged 90 on 24 January, is being marked by scores of events, including a service and wreath laying at the Houses of Parliament, a memorial service at Westminster Abbey, and the rebroadcast by BBC Parliament of the original live coverage.
In a tribute to his most famous predecessor, the prime minister, David Cameron, said: “Half a century after his death, Winston Churchill’s legacy continues to inspire not only the nation whose liberty he saved, but the entire world. His words and his actions reverberate through our national life today.” Churchill was above all a patriot with lessons to teach the world today, the prime minister said, as he laid a wreath at the feet of the statue in the House of Commons lobby.
“He knew that Britain was not just a place on the map but a force in the world, with a destiny to shape events and a duty to stand up for freedom. That is why in 1940 – after France had fallen, before America or Russia had entered the war – he said this: ‘Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him all Europe may be free - and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.’ “Churchill was confident that freedom and democracy would win out over barbarism and tyranny in the end... and it did.” He added: “with every affront to freedom in this century, we must remember that courage and resolve in the last century.”
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg wrote: “In memory of a man who defended our nation, defeated fascism, led the free world and has made generations of his fellow citizens proud to be British,” and Labour leader Ed Miliband’s message read: “With gratitude, respect and admiration for the leadership you showed during Britain’s darkest hour. Our country will always remember the hope you gave and the courage you inspired.” Cameron said ruefully that in one respect at least he would not be following the example of his hero: “The bottles of Pol Roger in Number 10, the practice of taking his cabinet out for lunch at the Savoy Grill. Sadly for my cabinet, that is not quite the current regime.”
Churchill’s granddaughter, the author Emma Soames, said the family was touched that he is still so vividly remembered: “To me growing up he was a grandfather, but I came to realise at his death that he was so much more than that. The family are absolutely delighted that his life is being celebrated and his legacy expanded.” In the small hours of 30 January 1965 the great medieval Westminster Hall was finally cleared of the last of an estimated million people, who came to pay their respects as his body lay in state for three days: a brass plaque on the floor marks the spot where his coffin stood. By then the route to St Paul’s was already lined 10-deep with people, many having camped out overnight to secure the best places.
The vessel bears a commemorative plaque, given by the International Churchill Society, inscribed with the words of Richard Dimbleby’s commentary: “And so Havengore sails into history ... not even the Golden Hind had borne so great a man”. Havengore was built on the Thames in 1954, commissioned by the Port of London Authority as a survey vessel, but her elegant lines meant she was used as a flagship on many ceremonial occasions. By the time she was retired and sold in 1995, she was the authority’s longest serving vessel. Lavishly restored in private ownership, she has since joined in many public events including the river pagaents for the Queen’s Diamon Jubilee, and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.