Tag: Charles de Gaulle

Celwyn Ball, British First Army 1940-46

Celwyn Ball, British First Army 1940-46

Celwyn 1922-2016 Bralu Kapi, Riga, Latvia

In 1992, I told Cel­wyn of my Lat­vian fore­bears and wish to vis­it the Baltic. He said he knew the area well, vol­un­teered to join me, and made arrange­ments for a tour. Gen­er­ous­ly he showed me places I nev­er expect­ed to see. I remem­ber our strolling Bralu Kapi, Latvia’s Arling­ton, where heroes lie. There I heard Cel­wyn mus­ing, from his own expe­ri­ence, about what they must have gone through. A vet­er­an had told us of dig­ging ditch­es in the flat coun­try, against oncom­ing Russ­ian tanks, in 1945 as the Red Army rolled west.…

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Diana Cooper on Winston Churchill

Diana Cooper on Winston Churchill

Dar­ling Mon­ster: The Let­ters of Lady Diana Coop­er to her Son John Julius Nor­wich 1939-1952, Chat­to & Win­dus, 2013, 520pp.

Lady Diana Duff Coop­er, “the most beau­ti­ful woman in Eng­land,” had a pen­e­trat­ing mind and bril­liant pen, capa­ble as few oth­ers of cap­tur­ing a time, ear­li­er in this cen­tu­ry, when women con­sid­ered the world laden with oppor­tu­ni­ty for ful­fill­ment. She proved this with her famous sev­en-year per­for­mance in Max Rein­hardt’s “The Mir­a­cle,” her able col­lab­o­ra­tion with her husband’s ambas­sador­ship to France, her notable tril­o­gy of mem­oirs.

Sir Alfred Duff Coop­er was one of Churchill’s most stal­wart friends and allies, serv­ing loy­al­ly as WSC’s first wartime Min­is­ter of Infor­ma­tion and then as his liai­son to de Gaulle.…

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Churchill’s Funeral, 50 Years On

Churchill’s Funeral, 50 Years On

His words still call to us across the years.

St. Paul’s Cathe­dral, 30 Jan­u­ary 1965….

Any­one read­ing this knows where they were on 9/11/01. A dimin­ish­ing num­ber remem­ber where they were on 1/30/65—the day we said farewell to Win­ston Churchill.

For me it was a life-chang­ing expe­ri­ence. Sud­den­ly, unfor­get­tably, on my flick­er­ing black and white TV screen in Stat­en Island, N.Y., the huge void of England’s grand­est cathe­dral filled with The Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic. He was, we were remind­ed, half-Amer­i­can, an hon­orary cit­i­zen by Act of Con­gress.

That day was the start of my 50-year career in search of Churchill—of what his great­est biog­ra­ph­er, Sir Mar­tin Gilbert, describes as “labour­ing in the vine­yard.”

After the funer­al I picked up The Gath­er­ing Storm, the first vol­ume of his World War II mem­oirs, and was snared by what Robert Pilpel called his “roast beef and pewter phras­es.” It’s biased, as Churchill admitted—“This is not his­to­ry; this is my case.” But it is ordered so as to put you at his side for the “great cli­mac­ter­ics” that made us what we are today.…

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