Churchill's Funeral 50 Years Ago

Profile picture for user charliehunt

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Anyone else remember it? An extraordinary day never to be forgotten and we couldn't get near St Paul's so ended up near Temple and saw the embarkment and the process upriver.
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Profile picture for user Moggy C

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Yes, I saw it on television (black & white) with my first 'serious' girfriend and her parents at their cake shop in Warrington. I was genuinely very upset. My parents held him in such high esteem after his major role in saving the free world in WW2 that I worried we'd never see his like again. Regrettably, we haven't. Moggy

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I have a vague recollection of watching it on TV.. We have visited Blenheim Palace, Bladon and Chartwell.
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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Of the three I am fondest of Chartwell. The story goes the Clemmie had to dissuade him from his wish to be buried under the croquet lawn at Chartwell but I am not sure if the story has been corroborated.
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I had just started flying as CC and visited my parents in Hayes, it was on the TV and I think the best description of how I felt was, stunned. I couldn't stop watching it but the bit that got to me most was when the barge carrying him down the Thames passed all the dockside cranes, they all simultaneously lowered their jibs. Don't know why, but it still moves me! Years later I visited his grave and was surprised at how "low key" it was, just a flat slab but then again, apposite.
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Totally. The man has no need of an elaborate sepulchre. The fact we speak English and are allowed to freely voice opinions here on many topics are his real memorial. Moggy
Profile picture for user allan125

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Charlie, you are a bit premature, WSC didn't die until 24 January and funeral on 30 January - I was working in Electra House, in Temple Place, opposite the Temple Tube station (so very close to where you watched from) in the first computerised message switcher in the UK, and I managed to get out for a (long) break and climbed the scaffolding on what I believe was the STC building close to St. Clement Danes Church and watched the procession go past - police saw us, but left us alone - later saw the Lightning flypast and the dipping of the cranes from the top floor of my work place. Unbelievable the number of forces personnel on the streets then, we couldn't manage it now, and all the sailors with the gun carriage - then 18, now slightly older!! Allan
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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Yes I know Allan but my memories were jogged by an old friend with whom I shared the experience and it made wonder how many of our members were also there or had memories of that memorable day. You certainly had a grandstand view by the sound of it.
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Certainly did Charlie - the BBC are showing a programme on the 28th about the funeral, as it is a weekday I have no idea why they don't put it on the correct day(!!), and I am hoping that as the procession passes St. Clement Danes I might just see myself, or others that I worked with in those far off days - on a different tack, a few months earlier when Harold Wilson won the October 1964 general election I was working nights and the Daily Mirror building was putting up a searchlight each time a seat was won, eventually all we could see were red lights, so we knew who had won!! Back in 1966 we also watched the World Cup football matches that were showing on TV's in the same STC building, without sound of course was we were out in the street, but it made no difference!! Allan
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I managed to see it. I was a Civil Servant working in what is now the Ministry of Defence(then Board of Trade) My Boss said anyone that wanted to go could. I think half the Building left. 19 years old then and I remember it like yesterday, where has all the time gone?
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Where indeed, Paul?!! Allan thanks for the info about the programme - I did not know the day was being remembered on television. I will watch keenly as well but am concerned that the BBC will make a hash of it as they seem incapable of broadcasting gravitas these days.
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Still have the Churchill Crown that I got at the time - can still vaguely remember the TV coverage so will watch if only to refresh the memory.
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Does anyone know whether the footage of the cortege going through Bladon illicitly filmed from an upstairs window by an enterprising camera crew ever saw the light of day? It was supposed to be embargoed during Clementine's lifetime, but that's all I know. I can't say that I'm actually all that interested in the footage itself, but I once met the chap who blagged his way into the sealed-off village to take it! Adrian

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Still have the Churchill Crown that I got at the time .
I still have a couple of those somewhere which my Mother bought. There must be a lot of them still about ?
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There's an interesting series of 15 minute radio pieces on the lesser known aspects of Churchill's life. 13.45 on BBC R4 and probably an evening repeat. Today I learned never in his life went into a shop, and his one trip on the underground found him trapped on the circle line. Moggy
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Gosh that brought back memories, Alan. Thanks for the link! I must ferret those radio pieces out on iPlayer, Moggy. They sound well worth a listen.

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It's worth a mention here tho' it really belongs elsewhere. I'm half way thru' 'The Churchill Factor, by Boris Johnston. The book describes, among other aspects, a personal side of Churchill that has not been publicised. The book is fast and pacy. The Johnson prose keeps the reader engaged.
Profile picture for user allan125

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Thanks Alan - a great film, and I saw my final viewing place (7th floor Electra House) as the launch went down the Thames. cheers Allan
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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Good!! I was wondering whether or not to spend one of my Christmas book tokens on that Churchill book and your comments have decided it. Thank you.

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I was in my last year in school and was pleased to be one of a group of seniors from the school to go to the Memorial service in St.Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. The school had many old boys that served in the 2 World Wars. I later watched it on television and like most people the cranes are what sticks in my memory the most. I remember the flypast of Hunters and Lightnings but was there no Spitfire which would have added a great touch.