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But left him alone with his glory - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
But left him alone with his glory

[The funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, 30 January 1965]

‘Upon the mighty Thames, a great avenue of history, move at this moment to their final resting place the mortal remains of Sir Winston Churchill.’ The date was 30 January 1965. The speaker, General of the Army Dwight D Eisenhower USA, GCB (Hon.) OM (Hon.), late Supreme Allied Commander Europe, late President of the United States, on this day in cold, misty London to bid farewell to an old and cherished friend.

The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill KG OM CH TD PC DL FRS, Royal Academician, honorary citizen of the United States, Nobel Laureate in Literature, twice Prime Minister, twice First Lord of the Admiralty, late Chancellor of the Exchequer, late Home Secretary, late Minister for Defence, late President of the Board of Trade (the King – Edward 7th – had presented him with a stick, upon the silver band ’round which was engraved, For My youngest Minister), late Leader of the House, late Minster of Munitions, late Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, late Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, late Secretary of State for War, late Secretary of State for Air, late Secretary of State for the Colonies, late Leader of HM Loyal Opposition, late Leader of the Conservative Party, for four-and-sixty years almost without interruption a Member of Parliament – for Oldham, for Manchester North West, for Dundee, for Epping, for Woodford –, late Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, late Father of the House, late Oldest Member, late Elder Brother of Trinity House, was gone to God, with all due honour in the land of old and just renown.

I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me, is another matter.

He had died on 24 January: seventy years to the day from the date of his father Lord Randolph’s death. By Command of HM the Queen, he was being accorded a State Funeral, the first for a commoner since that of the duke of Wellington on 18 November 1852.

His body had lain in state in Westminster Hall for three days; around the bier gleamed the candles last used for the lying in state of the Iron Duke, a century and more before.

Now, upon a grey, foggy, and bitter day, his funeral was held, at St Paul’s Cathedral: a dreary, hollowed-out day in the grey, dreary, hollow Britain of the colourless, hapless Harold Wilson. The great dome of Wren’s cathedral rose, iconic, above the mists and fogs and smokes, as it had famously risen above the fires of the Blitz; as Churchill, whether below the gangway or upon the Front Bench, had, in any office and in none, towered thus roundly and Baroque above his colleagues and opponents.

He had saved his country in 1914, as Kitchener had known: ‘There is one thing, at least, they can never take away from you. When the war began, the Fleet was ready’; he had saved it again in 1940 – and after. Retiring PMs were commonly awarded an earldom; the Queen had meant to offer Winston a dukedom: that of London (which should have been one in the eye for his cousin Bendor – Hugh, 2d duke of Westminster – had he lived to see it, for Bendor had been an arch-appeaser and indeed sympathetic to Hitler at least to the outbreak of war). Winston, a House of Commons man to his fingertips, had declined.

The gun carriage which bore his remains, his coffin covered with the Union flag and his honours, was pulled by Naval ratings: the former First Lord’s body was being taken to St Paul’s. Never again, in a crisis, should the Admiralty receive the welcome signal, ‘Winston’s back’; never again. Never again.

It was 30 January 1965: the man who had died upon the anniversary of his father’s death was being buried upon the anniversary of the birth of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: the Feast of Charles 1st, King and Martyr.

The slow procession made its way past St Margaret Westminster, the parish church of the House of Commons, where Pepys had married, and Macmillan had married, and where Winston had married Clemmie in 1908. It passed the Palace of Westminster – Big Ben’s voice, in the Clock Tower, stilled for this day, from the procession’s start until midnight, in tribute to another, greater voice now stilled – and No. 10, past the Admiralty, past Fleet Street which had reported him and had taken him in as a war correspondent. Pacing beside the gun carriage, solemn, slow, the Guards party and the escort of the Few processed beside all that was mortal in Sir Winston.

They were young men who should carry the coffin, the weight of history on their shoulders. They were old men, in the main, who should be the honorary pallbearers.

The Right Honourable the earl Attlee KG OM CH PC FRS was old and frail, now. But he had been once Major Attlee, the last man save the divisional commander to leave the beach of failure at Gallipoli; and between 7 and 10 May 1940, even as Hitler had commenced his long-awaited invasion of France and the Low Countries, it had been Major Attlee MP, with others who had been at Gallipoli and seen that the failure there was not in the planning by the First Lord but in the timid half-measures of the commanders in the field – men such as the late Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes, Member for Portsmouth North, afterward baron Keyes, and Col. Josiah Wedgwood, Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, afterward baron Wedgwood – and Hon. Members such as the Liberal Leader, Sir Archie Sinclair, Member for Caithness and Sutherland, afterward viscount Thurso, who had served as Winston’s 2i/c in the trenches, with 6th Bn the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1916, who had torn Neville Chamberlain from his place and made Winston PM – and Clem his Deputy Prime Minister.

Harold Macmillan – not yet earl of Stockton – had been PM until October 1963; but he was, on this day, altogether Captain Macmillan, old soldier of the Great War, late MP for Stockton-on-Tees, one of the anti-appeasement backbenchers of the 1930s, the Glamour Boys who rallied at last around Winston in May 1940 to save the world.

Their leader before that rallying had been Captain (late temporary Major) Eden MC, who had resigned the seals of office as HM Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in protest at appeasement. He had as PM – Macmillan’s predecessor; Winston’s heir – thrown all into confusion and clouded his own prior accomplishments; but the earl of Avon, as he now was, was here on this day in right of his actions in the Thirties, his staunch service in Winston’s Cabinets, and his being the great man’s nephew by marriage.

Sir Robert Menzies KT CH FAA QC MP, the Australian prime minister who had led that great Dominion into war in 1939 and been after 1941 a regular advisor to Churchill’s War Cabinet on imperial defence, now once again prime minister of Australia, remained fighting fit at the age of one-and-seventy years; but he felt the cold.

Winston’s Cabinet Secretary in the war years was also amongst the honoured few: the Rt Hon. the Lord Bridges KG GCB GCVO MC PCFRS, son of the Poet Laureate and grandson, through his mother, of the architect Alfred Waterhouse RA FRIBA: an apt sort of civil servant to serve the artist and the bricklayer of Chartwell.

With him stood the Rt Hon. the Lord Normanbrook GCB PC, who as Sir Norman Brook had been Winston’s Cabinet Secretary in his postwar Ministry, with his plain, Wolverhampton-bred common sense and his startling efficiency so needful to govern Winston’s racing engines.

Pug, also, was there, Winston’s old military staff chief, afterward Commonwealth Secretary and Secretary General of Nato: General the Rt Hon. the Lord Ismay KG GCB CH DSO PC, tough and passing wise.

So also was the late Governor-General of Australia, GOC 14th Army in Burma, old soldier of the Dardanelles campaign, the Rt Hon. the viscount Slim KG GCB GCMG GCVO GBE DSO MC KStJ, the unforgotten commander of the Forgotten Army.

There stood also Marshal of the Royal Air Force the viscount Portal of Hungerford KG GCB OM DSO & Bar MC, Chief of the Air Staff in the war.

There also stood the late Vice-Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the late High Commissioner in Malaya who had steadfastly beat back the Emergency, late GOC-in-C Eastern Command, the late intelligence chief and head of the German Directorate of the Special Operations Executive, the father of modern counter-insurgency responses, Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer KG GCB GCMG KBE DSO.

There also stood the late postwar Governor-General of Canada, GOC-in-C in Burma, the Middle East and North Africa, and Allied Armies in Italy, FM the Right Honourable the Earl Alexander of Tunis KG GCB OM GCMG CSI DSO MC CD PC PC(Can), urbane and indomitable.

And there stood also in his cherished splendour the Last Viceroy and first Dominion Governor-General of India, the refulgent Dickie, late Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia and all the rest of it: that former Serene Highness of Battenberg, Admiral of the Fleet the Rt Hon. the earl Mountbatten of Burma KG GCB GCSI GCIE GCVO DSO PC FRS, Chief of the Defence Staff.

All were overshadowed by the man now dead, at whose command they had brought fire and sword against the enemy upon land, at sea, and in the air, had kept the home fires burning, had set occupied Europe ablaze. There was no Force of which he had not been a notable ornament, from the Army to the Naval Division at Antwerp to the development of the tank to his early days as a pilot and eventual ministerial responsibilities for the RAF; no tactic from armour to intelligence to fleet operations to infantry to the last days of the cavalry he had not known; no theatre of war unfamiliar to him.

At his lying in state, three hundred thousand people had filed past his catafalque. A million people lined the route of the procession. St Paul’s could not hold that number; but there were some six thousand souls there to honour him who had saved them, amongst them six sovereigns and fifteen heads of state; and 350 millions, one in ten of the world’s population, who watched on the telly. On the next day, Sunday 31 January, and the days after, in Bladon churchyard, some 125,000 mourners were to file past the newest grave.

Every nation save China had sent a delegation to the funeral. De Gaulle was there, and Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Stepanovich Konev; President Lyndon Johnson was not, forbidden by his doctors to fly the Atlantic, allegedly owing to a bad cold but almost certainly owing to a recurrence of his old heart trouble, which it was impolitic to mention. It was a Saturday, the Sabbath; and David Ben-Gurion, late premier of Israel, the state over whose rebirth Winston had presided as a leading midwife from the inter-war period on, walked to the cathedral from the Savoy.

Breaking with precedent and precedence, HM the Queen and the Royal party, preceded by the Lord Mayor bearing the Sword of Mourning, entered before the coffin, Her Majesty and Princess Margaret and HM the Queen Mother dressed in mourning as at the obsequies of HM the King thirteen years prior, when the Queen, the Queen Mother, and Queen Mary had been the subjects, all in black grief, of a famous photograph, the ‘three queens in mourning’.

The hymn rolled out: Who would true valour see....

The Archbishop of Canterbury – craggy, massy Dr Ramsey, regal in vestments – took the service, the old, authentic service from the Book of Common Prayer.

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept....
Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.

A grey and cold and lowering day it was, for all the funeral pomp, for all the hymns. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord....

The National Anthem followed. God save our gracious Queen.... A generation raised on Housman, as Winston had been in the days of the Queen-Empress Victoria, could hardly help but to recall the poet’s answer:

Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
Be you the men you’ve been,
Get you the sons your fathers got,
And God will save the Queen.

A trumpeter played the Last Post. Silence fell. Then a single trumpet answered, in defiant affirmation, with the Rouse, the reveille.

The honorary pallbearers were men no longer young. Lord Attlee, who had not stumbled in office, staggered a trifle on the cold steps; the young Guardsmen, the actual pallbearers, bearing the weight of oak and lead and history, had all they could do not to stumble also and to let the coffin fall. Yet they held on. ‘The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go,’ had Winston once said.

Sir Bob Menzies spoke to the Commonwealth and to the world from the crypt of St Paul’s.

As this historic procession goes through the streets of London to the Tower Pier, I have the honour of speaking to you from the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. I do this in two capacities. One is that I, Prime Minister of Australia, happen to be, in point of time, the senior Commonwealth Prime Minister, and therefore speak on behalf of a remarkable world organization which owes more that it can ever express to our departed leader, Sir Winston Churchill. He is one of the famous men whom we thank and praise.
My second capacity is more personal and more intimate. I am sure that you, most of you, have thought about Sir Winston Churchill a great deal, and with warmth in your hearts and in your recollections. Some day, some year, there will be old men and women whose pride it will be to say: ‘I lived in Churchill’s time’. Some will be able to say: ‘I saw him, and I heard him – the unforgettable voice and the immortal words’. And some will be able to say: ‘I knew him, and talked with him, and was his friend’.
This I can, with a mixture of pride and humility, say for myself. The memory of this moves me deeply now that he is dead, but is gloriously remembered by me as he goes to his burial amid the sorrow, and pride, and thanks, of all of you who stand and feel for yourselves and for so many millions.
Many of you will not need to be reminded, but some, the younger among you, the inheritors of his master-strokes for freedom, may be glad to be told that your country, and mine, and all the free countries of the world, stood at the very gates of destiny in 1940 and 1941 when the Nazi tyranny threatened to engulf us, and when there was no ‘second front’ except our own. This was the great crucial moment of modern history. What was at stake was not some theory of government but the whole and personal freedom of men, and women, and children. And the battle for them was a battle against great odds. That battle had to be won not only in the air and on the sea and in the field, but in the hearts and minds of ordinary people with a deep capacity for heroism. It was then that Winston Churchill was called, by Almighty God, as our faith makes us believe, to stand as our leader and our inspirer.
… There have been, in the course of recorded history, some men of power who have cast shadows across the world. Winston Churchill, on the contrary, was a fountain of light and of hope.
As I end my talk to you from the crypt of St Paul’s, with its reminders of Nelson and Wellington, those marvellous defenders of long ago, the body of Winston Churchill goes in procession through the streets of London; his London, our London, this most historic city, this ancient home of freedom, this place through which, in the very devastation and fire of war, his voice rang with courage, and defiance, and hope, and rugged confidence.
His body will be carried on the Thames, a river full of history. With one heart we all feel, with one mind we all acknowledge, that it will never have borne a more precious burden, or been enriched by more splendid memories.

The coffin passed out from St Paul’s and into history. To Tower Pier it passed, and thence to the teak and oak MV Havengore for its journey down the Thames.

Ike described the scene.

As I, like all other free men, pause to pay a personal tribute to the giant who now passes from among us, I have no charter to speak for my countrymen – only for myself. But if, in memory, we journey back two decades to the time when America and Britain stood shoulder to shoulder in global conflict against tyranny, then I can presume – with propriety, I think – to act as spokesman for the millions of Americans who served with me and their British comrades during three years of war in this sector of the earth.
To those men Winston Churchill was Britain: he was the embodiment of British defiance to threat, her courage in adversity, her calmness in danger, her moderation in success. Among the Allies his name was spoken with respect, admiration, and affection. Although they loved to chuckle at his foibles, they knew he was a staunch friend. They felt his inspirational leadership. They counted him a fighter in their ranks.
The loyalty that the fighting forces of many nations here serving gave to him during that war was no less strong, no less freely given, than he had, in such full measure, from his own countrymen.
An American, I was one of those Allies. During those dramatic months, I was privileged to meet, to talk, to plan, and to work with him for common goals.
Out of that association an abiding – and to me precious – friendship was forged; it withstood the trials and frictions inescapable among men of strong convictions, living in the atmosphere of war.
The war ended, our friendship flowered in the later and more subtle tests imposed by international politics. Then, each of us, holding high official posts in his own nation, strove together so to concert the strength of our two peoples that liberty might be preserved among men and the security of the free world wholly sustained.
Through a career during which personal victories alternated with defeats, glittering praise with bitter criticism, intense public activity with periods of semi-retirement, Winston Churchill lived out his fourscore and ten years.
With no thought of the length of the time he might be permitted on earth, he was concerned only with the quality of the service he could render to his nation and to humanity. Though he had no fear of death, he coveted always the opportunity to continue that service.
At this moment, as our hearts stand at attention, we say our affectionate, though sad, goodbye to the leader to whom the entire body of free men owes so much.
In the coming years, many in countless words will strive to interpret the motives, describe the accomplishments, and extol the virtues of Winston Churchill – soldier, statesman, and citizen that two great countries were proud to claim as their own. Among all the things so written or spoken, there will ring out through all the centuries one incontestable refrain: Here was a champion of freedom.
May God grant that we – and the generations who will remember him – heed the lessons he taught us: in his deeds, in his words, in his life.
May we carry on his work until no nation lies in captivity; no man is denied opportunity for fulfilment.
And now, to you Sir Winston – my old friend – farewell!

The winter sun was pale amidst the mists and scudding cloud. Bishop Andrewes and TS Eliot knew such days:

It was no summer progresse. A cold comming they had of it, at this time of the yeare: just the worst time of the yeare, to take a journey, and specially a long journey, in. The waies deep, the weather sharp, the daies short, the sun farthest off in solstitio brumali, the very dead of Winter....

Nineteen guns for a head of government. The massed pipers at Tower Hill. The coffin transferred aboard Havengore at Tower Pier, and vanishing upriver into the mists.

Out of a sullen sky, sixteen English Electric Lightning fighters of the RAF streaked past in final tribute. The dockers’ cranes, with whatever emotions old men now variously claim, dipped in salute as the vessel passed.

At Festival Pier, the troopers of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars, which as the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars had been young Winston’s first regiment, took charge of the honours for their late Colonel-in-Chief.

With his corse, they travelled Westwards, towards the sunset. The funeral train was drawn by the Battle of Britain Class steam locomotive No. 34051 Winston Churchill; the van was the former Southern Railway van, S2464S. The train passed through Barnes and Twickenham, Virginia Water and Ascot, Wokingham and Reading, Didcot and Oxford, to Long Hanborough and at last to Hanborough station hard by St Martin Bladon: out of the Home Counties, into the shires, to Oxfordshire on a Winter’s afternoon, through the sweet English landscape Winston had saved. At every station, level crossing, and halt, in the fields and streets and on the hills and downs on which he had been resolved if necessary to fight and never to surrender, the way was lined with mourners, thousands of mourners, a family of grief and love and loss.

In Bladon churchyard, the family gathered alone for the commital.

Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.
I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: even so saith the Spirit: for they rest from their labours.
O merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally; who also hath taught us, by his holy Apostle Saint Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him: We meekly beseech thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him, as our hope is this our brother doth; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight; and receive that blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world: Grant this, we beseech thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

There were, by firm decision, but two wreaths placed upon the grave.

To my darling Winston.
– Clemmie;


From the Nation and Commonwealth. In grateful remembrance.
– Elizabeth R.

These sufficed. A man so great as to merit every imaginable mark of memory bears a greatness too large to be in want of any. For it was as it has ever been and ever shall be, as Thucydides records Pericles as stating with Churchillian force:

For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war.

Or as the First Lesson at second Evensong of the Feast of All Saints puts it, from Ecclesiasticus, the Forty-Fourth Chapter, beginning at the first verse,

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions: … All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times. There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported. And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them. But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten. … their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore. The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise.

Here endeth the Lesson.

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froganon From: froganon Date: January 31st, 2015 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)


Thanks for this one. Much appreciated.

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