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#80 - ICS Canada News and Views Autumn 2023

Dear Fellow Canadian Churchillians:


Welcome

To our newest Friends of Winston Churchill – John Anthony, David Crawford, Jordan Katz, Gary Norris, Hans Zachery Syme and Moe Vyas.


In celebration of the 2022 Holiday season, several of our supporters generously gifted subscriptions to the Finest Hour, to their special friends and family members, bringing new Churchillians to ICS Canada.    For those recipients who were not familiar with the intricacies and complexities of Sir Winston, the Finest Hour is a wonderful introduction.  

 

If you would like to dedicate or honour another person by giving a donation in their name, without the receipt of the Finest Hour subscription, tax receipts will be issued for amounts in excess of $50. 



We again would like to thank those of you who took the opportunity to do so in previous years and encourage our 'Friends” to consider doing the same for the 2023 Holiday season.

 

Winston Churchill, himself a student of history, in a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, rephrased George Santayana's words (1905), saying “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

 

Many of the recipients of this newsletter are accomplished authors, editors, historians, educators etc. If you have written articles, contributed to a blog, given lectures or have book excerpts related to Churchill and or a Churchillian-like message, please feel free to send them to either Myra Dodick or Terry Reardon for review, with the intent of posting them to either our new website or Facebook Group:



Finest Hour #203 Churchill and Leadership


ICS Canada subscribers will have received   their copy of FH #203:  Churchill and Leadership within the past few weeks.  If you have not yet received it, please contact us and we will arrange to have a copy sent to you.  


To our supporters who inadvertently join, renew or donate to ICS (USA) utilizing the envelope insert in your Finest Hour magazine or through their website, ICS Canada does not, at the present time, have an arrangement with regards funds being transferred back to ICSC.  If you think you may have unintentionally joined the US entity, please contact us.

 

Changes to your contact information or questions relating to your subscription, should be either sent to Myra or addressed through our website.



In Search of Churchill by Martin Gilbert 




An essential volume for anyway who wants to know the “real” Churchill.


The volume traces Martin Gilbert’s journey to produce his definitive biography of the Great Man.


Initially as one of Randolph Churchill’s team and then with his death, taking over the mantle in full.


While most books on Churchill are third hand, the “Search” contains the result of Gilbert meeting with people who knew Churchill and were anxious to recall their impressions. Gilbert travelled the world to Churchill sites to understand their context.


A new paperback issue of this book has just been released. This book cannot be recommended highly enough!


Additional reading by ICS Canada’s dear friend, Richard Langworth:


“In Search of Churchill,” by Martin Gilbert: An Appreciation by Richard Langworth  https://richardlangworth.com/in-search-churchill          


Pure Gold: Martin Gilbert’s “In Search of Churchill” https://winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu/gilbert-search-churchill

Winston Churchill Under Attack


As our Toronto Friends will already know Toronto City Council, two years ago, voted to remove the name Dundas from the street and subway stations. While the legitimacy of the accusations against Henry Dundas is highly questionable, the new Mayor, Olivia Chow, has stated that she wants to push ahead with the name change. The initial estimated cost was $6 million, and this has now ballooned to $8.6 Million. The work involves replacing 739 street signs, changing 129 signs and 35 info pillars in the city’s wayfinding system, and renaming three parks and two subway stations. In addition is the disruption to the 97,000 residents and the 4,500 businesses on the street.


Our special interest in this decision is that city staff have identified some 60 streets “that no longer are reflective of the city’s contemporary values.” Those names include “Churchill.”


At the outset, we had expressed our concerns with the “slippery slope” should the Dundas change go ahead. We also made a similar approach to the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Mississauga, to the west, which pleasingly declined to make the change in their Dundas Street.

 

Toronto, “Friends” are encouraged to e-mail/telephone, their City Councillors to express opposition to the change.

 

A detailed list of Toronto council members will be attached to the adjoining email, or you can access the information below:


Hugh Segal


The obituary for Hugh, who left us on August 9, was succinct and fitting – “Hugh was a great Canadian.”

 

Canada knew Hugh as an advisor for five decades to former Ontario Premier Bill Davis; as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; as later as a candidate for the leadership of the then Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.


Hugh was recognized by, his province, his country and academia. A member of the Order of Ontario, an officer of the Order of Canada, and being the recipient of multiple honorary doctorates.


At ICS Canada, we knew Hugh as a long time Friend of Winston Churchill; as a brilliant speaker - many times at our annual dinner (the last time in 2015); at the Atlantic Charter 75th anniversary event in Newfoundland in 2016, and at the Atlantic Charter Plaque Dedication in Toronto City Hall square in 2017.


For those of you would like to read or learn more about Hugh Segal:


A sample chapter from his book Bootstraps NEED Boots     https://www.ubcpress.ca/asset/29571/1/9780774890472_Excerpt.pdf


National Post: Note the video where he talks about leaving politics and going to Massey College - https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/hugh-segal-former-conservative-senator-and-longtime-politicodead-at-72

 

Yes – “A Great Canadian” and a “Great Man.”

Winston Churchill’s Visits to Canada 

The Great Man’s Fourth Visit (in Two Parts). Second Part August 11th to August 18th, 1941. 


To Placentia Bay, Newfoundland (although at the time not actually part of Canada).


 (Excerpts taken from “Atlantic Meeting” by H.V. Morton, published in 1943)]


Monday August 11th was scheduled for conferences between the two leaders and separate ones between the two staffs, and these were held on the President’s cruiser.


As the two reporters were not invited, they expressed the desire “to see what Newfoundland was like.”  As there was a rule that no one was to leave the ship, in order to prevent any leakage of information, it took a request to Churchill, who gave his assent.


They landed in Argentia which was occupied by an American sea-plane base. Morton wrote, “The place was a pleasing confirmation of my idea of an Alaskan town during the gold boom. Tough-looking men wearing check shirts of irreconcilable colours strode about or came splashing through the mud in ancient Fords, their trousers held up by leather belts; and there was not a woman or child to be seen. I had often seen Argentia on the films. I thought it was only a question of time before we met the sheriff, the doc. and the local blonde, and only a matter of time before some one fired a sixshooter. But I was wrong!”


Morton and the other reporter, Howard Spring, hired an automobile and “as soon as we passed outside the fence we were in a British possession and we changed over to the left of the road…The country was melancholy and not at all unlike the Hebrides or the Shetlands.”

 

The “little town of Placentia, with a population of about three thousand, is an ancient one. Its site was sold to the French by Charles ll in 1600. However, one of the articles of the Treaty of Utrecht obliged the French to surrender all territory of Newfoundland which they did in 1713.”


President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill seated on the quarterdeck of HMS PRINCE OF WALES.

After a “feast” in the Hospitality Café, the reporters returned to the Prince of Wales and were informed that there was to be a guest night. “When dinner – time arrived, about eighty British and American officers sat down at the long tables. Candles were lighted in sconces and, as the guests took their seats, the band of the Royal Marines played them in to dinner.”  Morton went on to comment that “it has always been a custom in the Royal Navy that when the formality of a guest night begins to melt in port (which had gone round four times!), the younger members of a ward-room scent a ‘rag.’ I waited, wondering what would happen. There was not long to wait. Without warning came a number of shattering explosions, accompanied by a smell of explosives, and, for a moment perhaps, some of our guests may have thought that we had been torpedoed, for they looked round anxiously and eventually detected two young lieutenants who had flung thunder-flashes under the table. The band plunged into a merry tine, and the port went round again.”


The following day, August 12th was again occupied with conferences, with the participation of Lord Beaverbrook who had just arrived. Morton wrote, “As afternoon approached, there were many signs of our impending departure…Meanwhile in the Augusta the President and Mr. Churchill were concluding their conversations…  


Churchill's edited copy of the final draft of the Atlantic Charter.

The great men ended their discussions with a pleasing little ceremony. Mr. Churchill had brought with him from England several illuminated copies of the Longfellow verse O Ship of State which Mr. Roosevelt had sent written in his own hand by Mr. Wendell Willkie in the dark days of the Blitz. These copies were signed by both men, the President kept one, and Mr. Churchill the other. Then the President and the Prime Minister exchanged autographed portraits.”


That evening the anchors came up, and the Prince of Wales commenced the return voyage. Morton stated, “I viewed our return voyage with some trepidation…the following morning, August 13th, those of us not already awake were roused by the voice of the captain magnified by loudspeakers all over the ship. He told us that the meeting between the Prime Minister and the President had certainly become known in Germany, and that probably it was known that the meeting had taken place off Newfoundland. He said that the danger of submarine attack was imminent and as we approached home, the danger of air attack must not be overlooked.”


At this time Morton and all but senior officials had no idea what had transpired at the Anglo/American meetings. Accordingly, as Morton writes, “All those officers not on duty assembled in the wardroom to hear a broadcast by Mr. Attlee from London. He began by saying that the President and the Prime Minister had met somewhere at sea, a remark which inspired loud voices of ‘No!’ ‘We don’t believe it!’  Then we heard, point by point, the clauses of the Atlantic Charter. I have since been told that in clubs, and places where people gathered to hear the broadcast, faces grew long with disappointment. Curiously enough, precisely the same scene took place in the wardroom of the Prince of Wales. What we had all subconsciously hoped for, and not entirely subconsciously, was a declaration that America was coming into battle with us; the only thing that seemed to justify the dramatic encounter in the Atlantic between the two statesmen. In comparison with that, words, no matter how admirable, were a disappointment.”


The voyage home included a stop in Iceland, and “There was a tremendous roar of cheering as Mr. Churchill stepped ashore…From the balcony of the Icelandic House of Parliament, Mr. Churchill, addressed a large gathering and promised during the war Britain and America would defend Iceland, and after the war would guarantee her independence.”


The last full day at sea was August 17th and the following morning the battleship anchored in Scapa Flow. Then on to the train to return to London.


Morton finished his account of the historic meeting that had occurred with an extract from Churchill’s broadcast six days later. “This was a meeting which marks for ever in the pages of history the taking up by the English-speaking nations amid all this peril, tumult and confusion, of the guidance of the fortunes of the broad, toiling masses in all the continents, and our loyal effort, without any clog of selfish interest, to lead them forward out of the miseries into which they have been plunged back to the broad high-road of freedom and justice. This is the highest honour and the most glorious opportunity which could ever have come to any branch of the human race.”


(The next issue will include details of Churchill’s fifth visit, in December 1941, to Ottawa).


For those of you who are interested, the article below celebrates the 80th anniversary of Churchill’s stop in Iceland. August 16th, 1941.  The multiple pictures within the article, brings his visit to life.


80 Years Since Churchill Charmed the Icelandic Nation


We welcome your suggestions/comments - please e-mail, Terry Reardon – reardont@rogers.com.   


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