Britain marked 50 years on Friday since the state funeral of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, with the boat which carried his coffin under the dipping dockside cranes in 1965 retracing its journey along London's River Thames.
Britain's current leader, David Cameron, began the remembrance events at a ceremony in parliament, laying a wreath at a statue of Churchill, a man he described as a great Briton who should never be forgotten.
A full fifty years since his funeral when the cranes along the Thames dipped low and the streets were lined with vast silent crowds, the sheer brilliance of Winston Churchill remains undimmed, he said.
He left a Britain more free, more secure, more brave and more proud, for that we will always be grateful to him.
Churchill, whose inspirational leadership and dogged spirit are widely credited with having saved Britain from invasion by Nazi Germany, died on Jan. 24, 1965 aged 90.
Queen Elizabeth granted him the rare honor of a state funeral and more than 320,000 people filed past his coffin to pay their respects during three days of lying in state.
His funeral was the world's largest at the time, attended by leaders from more than 100 countries, as well as the queen, another unusual tribute for a prime minister.
The procession began at parliament, with the chimes of Big Ben silenced for the rest of the day, and the coffin was taken to St Paul's Cathedral for the funeral service. He was buried in Bladon, Oxfordshire, in central England.
On Friday, the Havengore, the boat which carried the coffin along the Thames after the service, retraced the 1965 journey, with Tower Bridge being raised to honor the occasion.
The day's events concluded with a ceremony at London's Westminster Abbey.
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!
CHURCHILL IN HIS OWN WORDSJan 31st, 2015 - 02:52 pm 0
(During first World War): “Perhaps the next time round the way to do it will be to kill women, children and the civilian population.”
Churchill on defending the morality of bombing from the air: “Now everyone’s at it. It’s simply a question of fashion – similar to that of whether short or long dresses are in.”
“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.”
Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919.
“It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.”
Commenting on Gandhi’s meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931.
“I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place.”
Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937.
“The choice was clearly open: crush them with vain and unstinted force, or try to give them what they want. These were the only alternatives and most people were unprepared for either. Here indeed was the Irish spectre – horrid and inexorcisable.”
Writing in The World Crisis and the Aftermath, 1923-31.
“The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate… I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed.”
Churchill to Asquith, 1910.
“One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our countr
@1. So?Jan 31st, 2015 - 03:28 pm 0
I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.
We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day.
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
You should remember all those words. And think what they say about the British people.
Oh, the jealousy. We have a great war time leader Churchill, leading the world to defeat fascism and at the same time Argentina has Peron, a fascist fanatic idolising Mussolini and welcoming the fleeing Nazis (as long as they paid).Jan 31st, 2015 - 03:46 pm 0