Month: June 2012

Churchill’s Brandy? Not Really….

Churchill’s Brandy? Not Really….

Brandy Ban­ter: The Evening Stan­dard described ArArAt Armen­ian brandy, once reserved for Com­mu­nist par­ty elite. It was “the brandy that Stal­in served Churchill” accord­ing to con­sumer busi­ness edi­tor Jonathan Prynn:

The prime min­is­ter enjoyed ArArAt brandy when it was served by Stal­in at the Yal­ta con­fer­ence in Feb­ru­ary 1945. After the Sec­ond World War, the Sovi­et leader arranged for Churchill to be sent 400 bot­tles every year.

This seems high­ly doubt­ful. There is no record in the Churchill Archives Cen­tre of even a bot­tle of brandy being sent to Churchill—although he did com­pli­ment Stal­in on an Armen­ian brandy served at Yal­ta.…

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60 Years On: “A Sparkling Presence at its Summit”

60 Years On: “A Sparkling Presence at its Summit”

“We may think of Churchill as an ami­able or even rev­er­ent agnos­tic, who con­ceived of him­self not as a pil­lar of the church but per­haps as a fly­ing but­tress. He did not invoke the Deity casu­al­ly or cyn­i­cal­ly, a fact which con­fers its own inter­est upon his touch­ing and heart­felt reply to the Queen’s let­ter fol­low­ing his retire­ment as prime min­is­ter in April 1955.

“The monar­chy sig­ni­fied for Churchill some­thing of infi­nite val­ue, at once numi­nous and lumi­nous; and if you will allow the remark in paren­the­sis, ladies and gen­tle­men, do you not some­times long for some­one at the sum­mit of our pub­lic life who can think and write at that lev­el?” —Pro­fes­sor David Dilks

Our Island no longer holds the same author­i­ty or pow­er that it did in the days of Queen Vic­to­ria.…

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Churchill Sank the Titanic?

Churchill Sank the Titanic?

Robert Strange, a British inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist, in his book Who Sank The Titan­ic?, holds Churchill respon­si­ble for the cen­tu­ry-old dis­as­ter, The Sun reports. (This makes a nice book­end with the old charge that he also sank the Lusi­ta­nia.)

On 10 April 1912, the world’s largest pas­sen­ger ship set out on her maid­en voy­age from Southamp­ton, Cher­bourg and Queen­stown to New York. Four days lat­er, Titan­ic struck an ice­berg and sank in under three hours, killing 1514 peo­ple. Mr. Strange, who says he spent three years research­ing doc­u­ments in the Nation­al Archives, lev­els the chief blame on Churchill:

 As a new­ly-pro­mot­ed gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, Churchill had final respon­si­bil­i­ty for all marine safe­ty when the Titan­ic was being planned, designed and built [but was] fatal­ly dis­tract­ed by a com­bi­na­tion of burn­ing polit­i­cal ambi­tion, wound­ed pride and the pur­suit of his future wife Clemen­tine.…

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