Year: 2013

Bill Tilden 1935-2013: Tribute to a Friend

Bill Tilden 1935-2013: Tribute to a Friend

Writ­ten for the Soci­ety of Auto­mo­tive His­to­ri­ans Jour­nal

U.S. Coast Guard Base, Glouces­ter City, New Jer­sey, July 1965: A call from the Ops office—“Sir, there’s a civil­ian here ask­ing for you. He’s dri­ving the weird­est car I’ve ever seen.”

It was Bill, of course. We clicked from the start. With­in a week he hied me off to north Philadel­phia to help strip the odd­ly attrac­tive, faux lizard skin uphol­stery out of a rusty old car. It turned out a bad mistake—we’d junked an ultra-rare 1951 Kaiser Emer­ald Drag­on. They built maybe six….

Bill’s auto­mo­tive tastes were catholic, rang­ing from the E-type Jaguar he bought new and raced—probably the old­est in the hands of its orig­i­nal owner—to a 1941 Cadil­lac Six­ty-Spe­cial, sev­er­al Con­ti­nen­tals and late-mod­el Mopars, which he acquired as “future col­lectibles” from Chrysler, where he then worked, build­ing deal­er­ships.…

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Churchill and Butterflies

Churchill and Butterflies

Churchill was fas­ci­nat­ed by but­ter­flies since boy­hood and col­lect­ed many col­or­ful local vari­eties while sta­tioned in India in 1896-97. At Chartwell, he began rais­ing but­ter­flies  in 1939 and con­tin­ued after Chartwell was reopened after the war. The but­ter­fly “farm” was set up with the help of Hugh New­man, who described the events in Finest Hour 89, Win­ter 1995-96, start­ing at page 34; a .pdf is ava­iable: click here. 

Sir Winston’s daugh­ter Lady Soames was not sure when exact­ly this hob­by end­ed, but it might have been after an event described by long­time Chartwell sec­re­tary and Chartwell admin­is­tra­tor the late Grace Ham­blin, at the 1987 Dal­las Churchill Con­fer­ence, reprint­ed in Finest Hour 117:

 …he had a lit­tle hut in the gar­den, which is still there.…

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