The Sir Winston Churchill Society of Edmonton
The Society maintains a central storage and work area for a large collection of Churchill works and memorabilia. A large cabinet in the Edmonton LRT “Churchill Station” currently displays a number of these items. The Society owns an original of the famous Karsh Portrait of Churchill. The Churchillian, the society’s newsletter, is published three times a year to keep members abreast of activities.
It all started on 25 January 1964. Arthur Cload and his good friends Dr. H.T. “Tom” Southwood and Dr. A.H. “Arnie” Lane had attended the annual Burns Club dinner. It had been another pleasant dinner, with Bill Newbigging as the current chair. Alan Macdonald was past chairman and Sandy Mactaggart the incoming chair. The Scottish bard had been dead some 165 years and the Edmonton club had held their dinners every year on January 25 since 1920.
After dinner, the three friends adjourned to the hotel lounge for a ﬁnal nightcap when Arthur observed that there was a man, still living, who was a giant in his time and who well deserved similar recognition. And so the seed was planted and they assembled a group of like-minded gentlemen: Basil Dean, publisher of the Edmonton Journal; John Flint, owner of a printing business; Cameron Steer, lawyer and later judge; and Dr. H.D.M. MacPhee, physician.
The ﬁrst decisions the men made were (1) that there be an annual dinner, and that they would seek out men who had worked with and knew Churchill to deliver a Memorial Address, (2) that the dinner be patterned after a military mess dinner, and (3) that it would be an all male society. With the basics in place, Arthur Cload wrote a letter to Churchill seeking permission to form a society in his name.
The committee applied to the Province of Alberta for society status, which was duly approved, and Arthur mailed Churchill photocopies of the documents. Churchill’s private secretary thanked him and added, “he [Churchill] bids me to send you his good wishes.”
Douglas Walker-Brash, Head of Post, British Government Office in Edmonton, was instantly enthusiastic. He used his consular contacts and lo and behold, Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherington, who had achieved fame as the commander of the Desert Rats, agreed to deliver the ﬁrst Memorial Address to 625 gentlemen at the Hotel Macdonald on 10 May 1965.
It had by this time become evident that a great deal of planning would be involved, so Brigadier Bob Bradburn was asked to be executive secretary for the newly-formed Society. Bob was more than equal to the task: he called Air Canada, who provided free ﬁrst-class air travel; he prevailed on his friend, Brigadier Leach, who was head of Western Army Command to provide a staff car and driver, a helicopter as well as a Military Band to provide music at the dinner.
During the planning process, Douglas Walker-Brash came up with the idea of having a toastmaster. The ﬁrst person to perform that duty was Bandmaster Fisher, resplendent in his mess kit and with a splendid moustache—complete with waxed ends extending several inches on either side of his face. He got the audience’s attention by pounding his drum-major’s staff on a sounding board and announcing in his best parade square voice: “My Lords and Gentlemen! Pray, silence…!” Thus a tradition was born and it remains as one of the unique features of the Annual Dinner.
Prior to dinner, Lord Harding was asked to choose a song that could be sung at the end of the meal. He immediately said “Land of Hope and Glory” because he knew that Churchill would have approved. And so a second tradition was born.
Lord Louis, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, resplendent in his full-dress Admiral’s uniform, delivered the second Memorial Address on 11 April 1966. All who were present still speak of that evening. Following the dinner, Lord Louis was asked if he would consider becoming the patron of the Society. He graciously accepted, and the Society’s future was assured.... Read More
Churchill: A Chronology
1874, Born at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England, to the grandson of the Duke of Marlborough, Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill (Jennie Jerome).
1880, His brother John (Jack) Strange Churchill is born in Dublin.
1882, WSC begins school at St. George’s School, Ascot.
1888, Churchill attends Harrow School
1893, Attends Royal Military College, Sandhurst, subsequent to having tried his entrance three times before successfully passing.
1895, Lord Randolph Churchill dies at the age of forty-five. WSC commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 4th Hussars. Visits the United States for the first time en route to Cuba to observe the rebellion against Spain. It is during this trip he begins his first journalistic work, sending despatches to the Daily Graphic.
1896, Arrives in Bombay, India with the 4th Hussars. Stationed at Bangalore.
1897, While on leave, he makes his first political speech to the Primrose League at Bath, England. Upon his return to India WSC travels to the Northwest Frontier and is attached as a war correspondent for the Daily Telegraph to the 2nd Brigade of the Malakand Field Force. On September 16 he sees his first action as a combatant, saving two wounded individuals from certain death at the hands of Afridi forces.
1898, Publishes his first book, The Malakand Field Force. He is attached to the 21st Lancers in Egypt. Participates in cavalry charge on September 2 at the battle of Omdurman.
1899, Defeated in by-election as a Conservative candidate in the riding of Oldham (Lancashire). Arrives in Cape Town, South Africa as a war correspondent for the Morning Post to cover the Boer War simultaneously seeking attachment to British forces in the field. On November 15, 1899, the Boers capture him during an attack on the armoured train he is travelling on. Imprisoned as a P.O.W. in Pretoria. He escapes captivity to Durbin on December 12 and becomes a celebrity for his experiences and reporting from South Africa. Publication of The River War, Savrola (his only novel) and London to Ladysmith.
1900, Takes a commission in the South African Light Horse in January. He returns to England and to politics on July 7. In October he is elected to the House of Commons as Conservative member for Oldham. Begins his first North American lecture tour on December 8, spending his Christmas in Ottawa as a guest of the Governor General, The Earl of Minto. Publication of Ian Hamilton’s March.
1902, Queen Victoria dies, January 22. WSC is in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Publication of Mr. Broderick’s Army.
1904, Opposes barriers to free trade and crosses the floor of the House of Commons to join the Liberal Party over the issue of Tariff Reform.
1905, Appointed Under-Secretary of State at the Colonial Office on December 4 as the Liberals form the Government under Campbell-Bannerman.
1906, Elected as the Liberal candidate for North-West Manchester in a Liberal landslide. Publication of the first volume of Lord Randolph Churchill. (2 Vols.) and For Free Trade.
1908, Enters cabinet as President of the Board of Trade in Asquith’s government. In April, he runs for and is defeated as Liberal member for Northwest Manchester in a by-election required as a result of his appointment to the cabinet. In May, he successfully wins a seat in Dundee, Scotland. Publication of My African Journey. Marries Clementine Hozier, September 12.
1909, Birth of first child, Diana, July 11. Publication of Liberalism and the Social Problem
1910, Appointed Home Secretary. Publication of The People’s Rights.
1911, Inaugural meeting of the “Other Club” on May 18. WSC is a founding member. Appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Birth of second child, Randolph, May 28.
1914, Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated on June 28 in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Germany ignores Britain’s ultimatum to respect the neutrality of Belgium. On August 4, Britain is officially at war with Germany. Third child, Sarah born, October 8.
1915, Forced to resign as First Lord of the Admiralty after the debacle of the Dardanelles Campaign. Appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He takes up painting. He resigns from cabinet on November 11. A week later he returns to active military service in France as a major in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars.
1916, Churchill receives command of the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers, with rank of Lieutenant Colonel January 4.Serves with them on the Western Front. Battalion is amalgamated on May 3 and he is granted leave to return to London. He resigns his commission and returns to political life. Prime Minister Asquith resigns December 16, and is succeeded by Lloyd George. Publication of The Fighting Line.
1917, Returns to cabinet as Minister of Munitions. The United Sates enters the war in April.
1918, Cease-fire is declared November 11.ending the First World War. Fourth child, Marigold, is born November 15.
1919, Becomes Secretary of State for War and Air.
1920, Appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies.
1921, His mother, Lady Randolph Churchill dies in June. Daughter, Marigold, nearly three, dies in August.
1922, Fifth and last child, Mary, is born in September 9. The same month WSC buys Chartwell Manor, Westerham, Kent. He is operated on for appendicitis in October. The coalition government breaks up and Bonar Law becomes Prime Minister. In General Election in December, WSC, still very weak is defeated in Dundee. This is the first time he has been out of Parliament in 22 years. Bonar Law heads minority Conservative Government.
1923, Bonar Law resigns in May and is succeeded by Stanley Baldwin. In the General Election in December, WSC fails to get elected in West Leicester. Baldwin is elected Prime Minister of a minority government. Publication of the first volume of The World Crisis, (5Vols.)
1924, In January Baldwin’s government is defeated in the Commons. Baldwin resigns and Ramsay MacDonald forms a Labour Government. In March WSC unsuccessfully stands as an independent in a by-election in Westminster. IN October a conservative government under Baldwin is elected. WSC stands and is elected as a ‘Constitutionalist’ at Epping. He is appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and returns to the Conservative Party.
1929, The Conservatives are defeated in the General Election; WSC retains his seat but is out of office. MacDonald’s Labour Party is in power. In August, he travels to North America. Starting in Quebec City, he travels by private railway car and speaks in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, with stops in Calgary and Banff. He visits Los Angeles, Hollywood, and is in New York for the Great Crash of the New York Stock Market on October 29. WSC loses a substantial amount. From now on his views and opposition to the government’s policies on Indian Independence, disarmament and the threat of National Socialism in Germany leaves him virtually isolated for the entire decade.
1930, Publishes My Early Life.
1931, The Labour government is dissolved in August. MacDonald forms a new ‘National Government’ made up of politicians from all parties. In the October general election, MacDonald’s coalition is returned with the support of a majority of conservative members. WSC Publishes India.Churchill arrives in New York on December 11 to begin a lecture tour.
1932, Between January 28 and February 21 he visits and lectures in nineteen American cities. It is during this tour he is struck down by a car in New York and severely injured. On May 8 he makes his first radio broadcast to the United States. Publishes Thoughts and Adventures andAmid These Storms.
1933, Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. WSC publishes the first volume of Marlborough: His Life and Times.
1935, MacDonald’s retires as Prime Minister due to ill health and Baldwin succeeds him. The Conservatives win the General Election.
1936, Hitler remilitarizes the Rhineland in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles.
1937, The Abdication of Edward VIII. Neville Chamberlain succeeds Baldwin as Prime Minister on May 26. in December. WSC publishes Great Contemporaries.
1938, Hitler invades Austria, threatens Czechoslovakia; The Munich Agreement is signed on September 29.
1939, Germany invades Poland on August 31. The British send an ultimatum to Germany on September 3, giving the Germans two hours to halt their advance into Poland. The ultimatum is ignored and Britain is at war with Germany. WSC is appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Correspondence between President Roosevelt and Churchill starts. Publishes Step by Step.
1940, Germany invades Holland, Belgium and France. Chamberlain resigns. Churchill becomes Prime Minister and forms a Coalition Government.
1941, On December 27, Japan attacks the American fleet at anchor at Pearl Harbour Hawaii. The Unites States enters the war against Japan. Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. WSC publishes Into Battle/Blood Sweat and Tears. (collected speeches).
1942, WSC is in Washington with Roosevelt when he learns of the fall of Tobruk in June. Publishes The Unrelenting Struggle. (speeches)
1943, Roosevelt meets with Churchill at Casablanca, Morocco on January 14. The policy of unconditional surrender is formulated. Sicily is invaded July 3. Mussolini resigns on July 25. August 29 WSC arrives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and there boards a train to Quebec City for the first Quebec Conference with Roosevelt hosted by Mackenzie King. Roosevelt and Churchill set the course for the cross channel assault on German forces in France. He takes a short respite from the war to fish in the Laurentians with Clementine and his daughter Mary. Italy signs armistice on September 3. Churchill meets again with Roosevelt in Cairo for the “Cairo Conference” on November 26. On November 28, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin meet at Teheran to discuss war strategy and the plans for ‘Operation Overlord’, the cross-Channel landing. They also discuss post-war reparations and compensation. December 10, he is taken ill with pneumonia en route to Carthage to meet with Eisenhower and nearly dies. He recovers and flies on to Marakech for convalescence. Publishes The End of the Beginning. (collected speeches).
1944, Allied forces land in Normandy, June 6, “D-Day”. September 10, arrives again at Halifax to board train for second Quebec Conference with Roosevelt on September 12. Publishes Onwards to Victory. (collected speeches).
1945, Churchill meets with Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta and the “Yalta Declaration” is issued on February 4. Churchill takes farewell of Roosevelt aboard the American cruiser, “Quincy”, at Alexandria, February 15. This will be last time they meet before Roosevelt’s death. Observes first hand the crossing of the Rhine by British troops under the command of Field Marshall Montgomery, on March 24. On April 13. Churchill learns of Roosevelt’s death. Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States. Announces the end of the war in Europe in a radio broadcast, May 8. He tenders his resignation May 23, ending the Coalition Government. He becomes Prime Minister of a (conservative) caretaker government until a General Election is held. Meets Truman for the first time in Berlin on July 26, there for the “Potsdam Conference” with Stalin. Churchill and the Conservatives are defeated in a landslide victory for Labour. Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister and travels to Berlin replacing Churchill at the conclusion of the Potsdam Conference. WSC remains the Conservative member for Woodford becoming the leader of the Opposition. On August 6, the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Japan surrenders on August 15. Publishes The Dawn of Liberation. (collected speeches).
1946, Awarded the Order of Merit by King George VI. March 6, at Truman’s invitation he travels to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and gives his famous “Iron Curtain” address. PublishesVictory, War Speeches 1940 –1945 and Secret Session Speeches.
1948, Publishes the first volume of The Second World War, Painting as a Pastime and The Sinews of Peace (collected speeches).
1949, WSC visits New York, Washington and Boston.
1950, Attlee and Labour win a slim majority in the General Election. WSC celebrates the 50thanniversary of his first election to parliament on October 1. Publishes Europe Unite. (collected speeches).
1951, Conservatives under Churchill are returned to power and Churchill serves as Prime Minister until 1955. Publishes In the Balance
1952, Churchill meets with Truman in Washington on January 5, to argue the case for a summit of the major powers and to discuss the Korean situation. During this trip he travels to Ottawa to give an address at a banquet in his honour. King George VI dies January February 6. Succeeded by Queen Elizabeth II. Eisenhower is elected President of the United States on November 4.
1953, Meets privately with Eisenhower 7, in advance of his inauguration. Churchill again urges a summit with Stalin. This is a prime objective of Churchill’s until his retirement but Eisenhower never agrees. Stalin dies on March 5. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth on June 2. June 24 WSC sustains a major stroke that is not made public. He is out of action until October. December 1, WSC travels to Bermuda for the Bermuda Conference. The meeting is between Churchill, Eisenhower and French Prime Minister Laniel regarding European affairs, Russia and the Korean War. Appointed Knight of the Garter. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. PublishesStemming the Tide, Second World War (Vol1 and2).
1954, Makes his last visit to Canada on June 29 following a visit to Washington. His 80th birthday on November 30, is marked by a joint Parliamentary Presentation in Westminster Hall.
1955, He resigns as Prime Minister on April 5 and is succeeded by Anthony Eden. The Conservatives win the General Election the following May.
1956, Publishes Volumes 1 and 2 of A History of the English Speaking Peoples
1957 Anthony Eden resigns due to ill health on January 9 and is succeeded by Harold MacMillan. Publishes Volume 3 of History of the English Speaking Peoples.
1958, WSC is very ill with pneumonia while staying in the South of France in February and cancels a planned visit to the United States. Receives the Croix de la Liberation, in Paris, on November 6 from French President Charles de Gaulle.
1959, Flies to Washington in May and stays as a guest of President Eisenhower in the White House. In the general Election on October 3, He contests his seat in the Commons for the last time and is re-elected in another Conservative victory.
1961, Publishes The Unwritten Alliance.
1963, Proclaimed the first Honourary Citizen of the United States by President John F. Kennedy. His daughter, Diana (Sandys), takes her own life in October.
1964, He makes his last appearance in the House of Commons on July 27. He celebrates his 90thbirthday on November 30.
1965, Churchill dies on January 24. More than three hundred thousand pay homage while his body lies in state in Westminster Hall. His funeral is the first State funeral for a commoner since the Duke of Wellington. It is attended by six thousand people, six sovereigns, and fifteen heads of state. He is buried at St. Martin’s, Bladon near Blenheim Palace.