Tag: Robert Pilpel

Cockran: A Great Contemporary

Cockran: A Great Contemporary

Q: How impor­tant was Con­gress­man Bourke Cockran’s influ­ence on the young Churchill? 

William Bourke Cock­ran, 1854-1923. (Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)

A: Very. The late Curt Zoller was the first to write in depth about Bourke Cock­ran. This man played a vital but lit­tle under­stood role in form­ing young Churchill’s polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy. In 1895, Zoller wrote, when young Churchill trav­eled to New York on his way to Cuba,

…he was greet­ed by William Bourke Cock­ran, a New York lawyer, U.S. con­gress­man, friend of his mother’s and of his Amer­i­can rel­a­tives. Winston’s Aunt Clara was mar­ried to More­ton Frewen. (The peri­patet­ic “Mor­tal Ruin” would lat­er bad­ly edit Churchill’s first book, Sto­ry of the Malakand Field Force.) For many years Frewen had been a friend of Cock­ran, who would grow to become one of Win­ston Churchill’s life­long inspi­ra­tions.…

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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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Churchill in New Orleans

Churchill in New Orleans

I’m doing research for a video tour book on less­er known places in New Orleans. I recent­ly heard that Win­ston Churchill made a vis­it here in 1932.  Is this true? -B.K.

Yes, Churchill was in New Orleans on his 1932 lec­ture tour, between 16 Feb­ru­ary and 11 March, dur­ing the last hec­tic leg of his abbre­vi­at­ed sched­ule. (In Decem­ber he was near­ly killed by a car in New York and had recu­per­at­ed in the Bahamas through 22 Jan­u­ary.) On 11 March he board­ed the Majes­tic in New York and sailed home. His New Orleans appear­ance would like­ly have been around Feb­ru­ary 18th-22nd, or just after the 23rd when he was in Atlanta, since train sched­ules would have had him in both cities with­in a day or so of each oth­er.…

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