Published on January 24th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw
Sir Winston Churchill Remembered
In 2015, we as a nation marked 50 Years Since the Passing of an Iconic Leader, Sir Winston Churchill, a monumental figure in British history and politics.
Today is the anniversary of this death. So, we mark this key event with a look back to that day in 1965 and to the man himself.
Winston Churchill was born into the family of the Dukes of Marlborough, a branch of the Spencer family. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a charismatic politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer; his mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American socialite. Two years before his death, in 1963, Churchill became the first of only eight people to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.
Just last week, Churchill was remembered when Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America. Within hours of moving into the Oval Office, President Trump honoured his pledge and returned the bust of Sir Winston Churchill. The Jacob Epstein sculpture had originally been presented to President George W Bush by Tony Blair.
Churchill: The War Years
At the forefront of politics for fifty years, Churchill held many political and cabinet positions. During World War One, he was the First Lord of the Admiralty. This was until the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign which caused his departure from the government.
He rose back into political prominence during the 1920’s, serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924 until 1929. Churchill then disappeared from front line politics during the 1930’s as his popularity waned.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Then, following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister.
His rousing speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult days of 1940–41. At this time, the British Commonwealth and Empire stood almost alone in its active opposition to Adolf Hitler. He subsequently led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.
He lost the 1945 General Election, but became Prime Minister again following the 1951 election. However, he retired as Prime Minister due to ill health in 1955, although he remained a Member of Parliament until 1964.
The Death of Winston Churchill
On 15th January 1965, Churchill suffered a severe stroke. He later died aged 90 on the morning of Sunday 24th January, 70 years to the day after his own father’s death.
Yet, his funeral plan had actually been initiated 22 years earlier in 1953 after he suffered a major stroke. The plan was under the name ‘Operation Hope Not’. Its purpose was to commemorate Churchill, ‘on a scale befitting his position in history,’ Queen Elizabeth II declared.
Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen in history. There were 112 representatives from 112 nations, only China did not send an emissary.
In Europe, 350 million people, including 25 million in Britain, watched the funeral on television. Only the Republic of Ireland did not broadcast it live. The funeral train of Pullman coaches that carried his family mourners was hauled by the Battle of Britain steam class locomotive No. 34051 Winston Churchill. As the train passed by fields and stations, thousands stood in silence to pay their respects.
At Churchill’s request he was buried in the family plot at St. Martin’s Church, Bladon, near Woodstock. This is not far from his birthplace at Blenheim Palace. His funeral van (former Southern Railway van S2464S) is now part of a preservation project with the Swanage Railway. It was repatriated to the UK in 2007 from the US, to where it had been exported in 1965.
Later in 1965, a memorial to Churchill, was also placed at Westminster Abbey.
Sir Winston Churchill has been named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll. He is widely regarded as being among one of the most influential people in British history. He consistently ranks well in opinion polls of the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom.
His name and legacy are remembered in a series of collectible coins and stamps available to buy from the Post Office Shop.
The 50th Anniversary of the Death of Sir Winston Churchill £5 Coin is a fitting tribute to this great man. Churchill is the only statesman to be honoured twice on Britain’s coins. The first coin, a crown, was produced in 1965 when he died. This 50th anniversary Brilliant Uncirculated £5 coin features a memorable portrait of Churchill to reflect his true stature.
The Winston Churchill Quotation Four Coin Set contains four Brilliant Uncirculated Coins to reveal Churchill’s own story. Combining famous quotes from his speeches and stunning imagery, including a poignant phoenix rising from the ages, this is a unique collection for collectors and fans of historical memorabilia.
The Prime Ministers Stamp Cover also features Sir Winston Churchill. The 10 Downing Street Stamp Cover shows ten of our most famous Prime Ministers including Robert Walpole, William the Pitt, David Lloyd George and Margaret Thatcher.