Churchill’s signature from the Paris Peace Conference in May, 1919

In a 2013 interview by the Churchill Centre I was asked: What story from your experience dealing in Churchill books stays with you?” I replied: “What intrigues me most these days are the speculative fractions of a story that emerge from some of the objects we handle. The story I don’t fully know…”

CropWe had the opportunity to catalogue just such an item recently – an item that intrigues me as much for what I will never know about it as for what I do know.

This compelling little piece of history is a British War Cabinet Document Receipt from the Villa Majestic, Paris, signed by Winston Churchill on 17 May 1919 during the Paris Peace Conference.


003451The receipt measures roughly 5 x 4 inches, printed and stamped in purple ink on plain white stock, with autograph in both pencil and red.  The words “RECEIVED from –“ and “ADDRESSED to –“ as well as a line for “Signature” are printed in purple and the upper right corner bears the oval stamp, also in purple, of the “BRITISH WAR CABINET * VILLA MAJESTIC, PARIS *” date stamped “17 MAY 1919”.  In pencil below “RECEIVED from –“ is “B.E.D. Notice” (“B.E.D.” being the abbreviation for “British Empire Delegation”).  In pencil beside and below “ADDRESSED to –” is “The Rt Hon Winston Churchill, M.P.”  On the signature line, in red, Churchill signed “WS CHURCHILL”.

003451_2Tantalizingly, the receipt’s upper blank verso retains a fragment of the document to which it was ostensibly affixed as a receipt.

During the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the British government delegation resided at the Hotel Majestic.  In May 1919 Churchill was serving as Secretary of State for War and Air.  Only in his mid-40s and still two decades away from becoming Prime Minister, he was nonetheless already a polarizing national figure who had held several important Cabinet positions and been a political force since the turn of the century.  In the First World War, Churchill remarkably served both in the Cabinet and at the front, nearly losing his political life in the former and his corporeal life at the latter.  Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, but was scapegoated for the Dardanelles tragedy and the slaughter at Gallipoli and forced to resign.  He would spend part of his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches.

By the war’s end, he was exonerated and rejoined the Government, initially as Minister of Munitions.  In January 1919, Churchill became Secretary of State for War and Air – the same month that the Paris Peace Conference convened.  On 17 May 1919, Churchill arrived in Paris at 2:00 am.  His meetings in Paris that day included Field Marshal Sir Henry Hughes Wilson (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), Lord Alfred Milner (Secretary of State for the Colonies), Edwin Samuel Montagu (Secretary of State for India), General Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh, and Edward George Villiers Stanley (Lord Derby, British Ambassador to France).  Issues commanding his attention ranged from occupation of Jellalabad, to who would be British Military Attache in Paris, to his exhaustive efforts to secure support for anti-Bolshevik factions in Russia.

We do have a snapshot of Churchill’s disposition on the day, which might be aptly characterized as quintessentially Churchillian; Winston was described on 17 May 1919 by Sir Henry Wilson as being both “in good form” and “very mulish.”  (Diary of Sir Henry Wilson, Gilbert, CV IV, Part I, p.654)

Churchill is standing in the front row, third to the right of David Lloyd George. Sir Henry Wilson is immediately behind and to the right of Churchill.

Churchill is standing in the front row, third to the right of David Lloyd George. Sir Henry Wilson is immediately behind and to the right of Churchill.

Churchill expressed profound – and ultimately prophetic – reservations about harshly punitive terms in the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 28 June 1919, six weeks after Churchill signed this receipt.  On 7 July 1921, Churchill would tell the Imperial Conference in London: “The aim is to get an appeasement of the fearful hatreds and antagonisms which exist in Europe…”  Advocating a policy of reconciliation, Churchill wanted Britain to be both “the ally of France and the friend of Germany” to mitigate “the frightful rancour and fear and hatred” between France and Germany which he warned “if left unchecked, will most certainly in a generation or so bring about a renewal of the struggle of which we have just witnessed the conclusion.”

Churchill’s argument did not prevail.  The triumphant army of a bitterly resurgent Germany would set up its headquarters in the ex-Hotel Majestic after France’s conquest in June 1940, a month after Churchill became wartime Prime Minister.  The fascinating historical irony lends poignance to this humble receipt.

This item comes to us from the collection of former British book collector and book seller David B. Mayou, known for his knowledge and collection of Churchill material. Churchill’s biography literally sets a world record for length and comprehensiveness. The man led a conspicuously public life and most stories – from famous quips to great events – are already known and exhaustively discussed. Mayou’s passing without imparting any further information he may have known about this receipt means that – along with the glue and document fragment – a little mystery adheres to this receipt and it can continue to intrigue us, for which I’m strangely grateful.

Churchill’s Second World War – A Unique Inscribed Set

We recently had the privilege to catalogue a compelling, inscribed set of Churchill’s history of the Second World War. This set belonged to the pilot who flew Churchill to England from Madeira in a flying boat on 12 January 1950 for the run-up to the February 1950 General Election.


Captain Andrew Cannon Treyer Evans (1923-2000) was an RAF pilot during the Second World War.  Evans enlisted at age 18 in 1941, earned his wings on 25 March 1942, and was demobilised with the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 25 July 1946.  During the Second World War he trained in Airspeed Oxford bombers, flew anti U-Boat patrols and gave instruction in Catalina flying boats, and flew Liberators used in troop transport.

One of the planes that Evans flew – the B-24 Liberator – was designed and built by Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego, only a few short miles from where his inscribed books now sit in our library. Of course the connection is only tangential, but that does not keep it from kindling some imagination and reflection. About the constantly changing tides of human endeavor. About the things which endure, the many which do not, and the role of chance in separating the former from the latter.

More than 18,000 Liberators were built during the war. There are reportedly only two still flying today. Happily, this set of books has also endured, and is a truly unique collection of signatures that physically connect to one of the many pivotal moments in Churchill’s long life.

Before this set passes from view into the hands of a collector, it seemed fitting to share. Hence this post.


003280_18Volume I is inscribed in five lines in black ink on the front free endpaper: “Inscribed for | Captain Evans | by | Winston S. Churchill | 1950”.

Volume II is signed by Churchill on the front free endpaper in black ink.

003280_25Captain Evans’ original flight log book is signed by Churchill in blue ink on the page logging his 12 January 1950 flight with Evans.

003280_21A typed presentation letter on Chartwell stationery conveying the two signed books to Captain Evans is dated “28 March, 1950” and signed by Churchill’s private secretary, Cecily Gemmell. Also included with the set is an original 13 January 1950 newspaper clipping with quotes from both Captain Evans and Churchill about the flight.




The exceptional fine binding is newly commissioned by us from a highly skilled binder. The entire set is finely bound in full red morocco with gilt decoration and print, raised spine bands, contrasting morocco title and author panels, top edges gilt, and marbled endpapers. All seven volumes are housed in two red cloth slipcases.

003280_12Volume I is the edition available at the time of presentation – that being the first printing of the second (revised with Churchill’s many corrections) edition, published November 1949. The signed Volume II, as well as the additional four volumes comprising the set, are British first edition, first printing.

A seventh “volume” is a clamshell case housing the signed flight log book, presentation letter, and newspaper clipping.

003280_8We had Captain Evans’ book plates carefully recovered from the original pastedowns of the two signed volumes and affixed to the new pastedowns. We also had protective tissue covers tipped in preceding the inscribed Volume I page and signed Volume II page.




The overall aesthetic is lovely but, more important, should ensure that the books comfortably outlast many collectors yet to come.





After the war Evans flew commercially for the British Overseas Airways Corporation, The British European Airways Corporation, and Aquila Airways Limited.

Captain Evans was piloting a flying boat for Aquila Airways on 12 January 1950 when he flew Churchill back to England from the Portuguese island of Madeira.

“Churchill had intended to stay in Madeira for several weeks, hoping to make considerable progress on the fourth volume of his war memoirs.  But while he was away, Attlee announced that a General Election would be held on February 23.”  Hence Churchill cut short his trip, leaving his wife in Madeira while he returned to London.  (Gilbert, Volume VIII, p.500)

003280_23The flight proved nearly as dramatic and uncertain as the election itself.  Poor visibility due to fog threatened to divert the landing site and caused a scramble for the reception party on the ground.

Walking ashore at the Southampton Marine Airport, Churchill told reporters: “I heard there was going to be a general election, so I thought I had better come back in case I was needed!”

The next morning, Churchill telegraphed his wife “We were lucky yesterday with fog which obligingly lifted for half an hour.”  (Gilbert, Volume VIII, p.500)  The press quoted Captain Evans: “Providence was on our side all the way, and the fog lifted at just the right time.”  Providence was not so partisan with the election, which left the Labour-led Government with a thin, five-seat majority.  Not until the next General Election, in October 1951, would Churchill’s Conservatives return to majority and Churchill himself to 10 Downing Street for his second and final premiership.

Despite the uncertainties of both the flight and the election that awaited, Churchill reportedly – and characteristically – enjoyed the journey.  The press reported that “On the journey Mr. Churchill ate a hearty breakfast and lunch” and “chain-smoked cigars most of the time.”

Churchill signed Captain Evans’ personal flight log book at the time of the flight.  Two and a half months later, on 28 March 1950, Churchill’s Private Secretary, Cecily “Chips” Gemmell (Private Secretary from 1947-1951) sent a presentation letter and signed copies of the first two volumes of Churchill’s The Second World War (the third volume would not be published until July 1950) to Captain Evans.  Gemmell’s typed, signed letter on Chartwell stationery reads:

28 March 1950.

Dear Captain Evans,

I am sorry you have not received these books before, but as you may imagine Mr Churchill has been extremely busy during the past few months.  But he has now been very pleased indeed to inscribe your two copies of his War Memoirs, as you requested, and I return them to you with his good wishes.

Mr. Churchill still recalls with pleasure his comfortable flight back from Madeira in your aircraft.

Yours Truly,

Cecily Gemmell

Private Secretary.

Captain A.C. Treyer Evans.


The Second World War is Churchill’s history of the epic 20th Century struggle that was so indelibly stamped by his leadership. The six volumes of the British first edition were originally published between October 1948 and April 1954.

Seldom, if ever, has history endowed a statesman with both singular ability to make history and singular ability to write it. As with so much of what Churchill wrote, The Second World War is not “history” in the strictly academic, objectivist sense, but rather Churchill’s perspective on history. In his March 1948 introduction to the first volume, Churchill himself made the disclaimer, “I do not describe it as history… it is a contribution to history…” Nonetheless the compelling fact remains, as stated by Churchill himself, “I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office… I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty’s government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books.” Certainly The Second World War may be regarded as an intensely personal and inherently biased history. Nonetheless, Churchill’s work remains seminal, iconic, and a vital part of the historical record. Richard Langworth calls the six-volume epic “indispensable reading for anyone who seeks a true understanding of the war that made us what we are today.”

Publication of The Second World War became known for a rather dizzying array of corrections and what Churchill called ‘Overtake Corrections’ (still arriving after the electroplates of the first edition had been made and thereafter accumulating in anticipation of a later edition).  This second edition of Volume I of the British edition – denoted on the copyright page as “New Edition, revised and reset” – was published in November 1949, only five months after the second volume was published and more than eight months before the third volume was published.  Hence, the first printing of the revised edition of Volume I was the edition readily available when Captain Evans received his inscribed copy.

The Truth About Hitler – Churchill’s original, unexpurgated profile of Hitler in November 1935

Article_Header_CropA powerful argument can be made that Adolf Hitler is the reason why Winston Churchill is so iconic.

During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note – Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, implacable wartime foe, conciliatory advocate of peace and transnational unity, combative cold warrior, painter, Nobel Prize winner. So even without the Second World War, one could argue that Churchill’s extraordinary life and endeavors would remain remarkable.

Remarkable perhaps, but certainly less remarked upon. Churchill without the Second World War would be far less well-known. Churchill’s preeminence as a historical figure owes most to his indispensable leadership during the Second World War. And Hitler bears more responsibility for that war than any other single figure.

Hence, what the one man had to say about the other is fascinating. Neither man was known for a strong inclination to self-censorship.

Particularly fascinating is what Churchill had to say about Hitler in an article titled “The Truth About Hitler” published in The Strand Magazine in November 1935.


This article is fascinating not just for what it said, but for how it was considerably expurgated and tamed when published less than two years later in October 1937 in Churchill’s well-known book, Great Contemporaries. There, in the form it has become known to most readers, it was retitled as “Hitler and His Choice”.

Cover_CroppedThe unexpurgated “The Truth About Hitler” in The Strand Magazine was the headline, featured article. The title and author appeared prominently in bold yellow letters within a red banner across the upper front cover. Within, the article spanned pages 10 -21 and included 24 photograph illustrations.

The opening paragraphs of this fuller, 1935 version contain an entire paragraph about the question of whether “history will pronounce Hitler either a monster or a hero. It is this which will determine whether he will rank in Valhalla with Pericles, with Augustus, and with Washington, or welter in the inferno of human scorn with Attila and Temerlane. It is enough to say that both possibilities are open at the moment.” This paragraph, excised from the 1937 version, concludes: “If, because the story is unfinished, because, indeed, its most fateful chapters have yet to be written, we are forced to dwell upon the dark side of his work and creed, we must never forget nor cease to hope for the bright alternative.”

003441_12Other small details are altered or excised, but by far the primary difference between the 1935 and 1937 versions is removal of the final six paragraphs of the former from the latter. Churchill spends four of these six paragraphs describing and excoriating the horror of Hitler’s bloody “Night of the Long Knives” purge (30 June 1934) in emotionally evocative detail, concluding: “Adolf Hitler took upon himself the full responsibility…. I call the slaughter of a human being in peace without trial murder…”

Churchill’s closing paragraphs about Hitler clearly echo the defiant, combative, and unyielding Nazi foe Churchill would become as wartime Prime Minister less than five years after this article was published. But in 1935, Churchill was still a political outcast, out of power and out of favor. So it is all the more remarkable that The Strand Magazine would have not just printed, but overtly solicited this piece from Churchill. On 15 May 1935 Strand editor Reeves Shaw wrote to Churchill asking specifically for “an article entitled ‘The Truth About Hitler’” and specifically requested “…be as outspoken as you possibly can in your appraisement of Hitler’s personality and ambitions, and absolutely frank in your judgement of his methods.” (Gilbert, Vol. V, C.V. 2, p.1175)

003441_13Perhaps most surprising is Churchill’s harsh criticism of the German people for their complicity in Hitler’s reign. Throughout the Second World War, Churchill’s speeches are noteworthy for distinguishing the inherent virtues of peoples from the deficiencies and vulgarities of their leaders. But in the final two paragraphs of “The Truth About Hitler” Churchill extends his indictment of Hitler to the German people themselves: “But the astounding thing is that the great German People, educated, scientific, philosophical, romantic… have not only not resented this horrible blood-bath, but have endorsed it and acclaimed its author with the honours not only of a sovereign but almost of a God. Here is the frightful fact before which what is left of European civilization must bow its head in shame, and what is more to practical purpose, in fear.” Churchill’s final paragraph asks: “Can we really believe that a hierarchy and society built upon such deeds can be entrusted with the possession of the most prodigious military machinery yet planned among men?”

“The Truth About Hitler” is perhaps a window into the deep outrage and genuinely fearful concern of a quintessential man of action both caged and provoked, rattling the bars of his cell to call attention. The Churchill of 1935 had full, even prescient knowledge of the imminent danger to his country, but remained confined to the political exile of his “wilderness years” with his voice substantially relegated to the parish pulpit of periodicals rather than the bully pulpit of national leadership. The comparatively tamed and truncated version of Churchill’s profile of Hitler published in Great Contemporaries in 1937 is a marked contrast. Ironically, Churchill’s 1937 version can be seen as a more conciliatory and restrained appraisal of Hitler, perhaps reflecting Churchill’s earnest desire to avoid the war that he would fight with such ferocious resolve only a few years later.

We will provide scans of all pages of “The Truth About Hitler” in the November 1935 issue of The Strand Magazine upon request.

Now Offering Limited Edition T. E. Lawrence Publications Direct From Castle Hill Press

The folks at Castle Hill Press may know more about T. E. Lawrence than anyone on the planet.  So imagine how happy we are to announce that we will be offering Castle Hill Press Limited editions.


For a quarter century, Jeremy Wilson (Lawrence’s authorized biographer) and his wife, Nicole, have edited and published scholarly editions of Lawrence’s works and correspondence, as well as works about Lawrence’s life.  Editions published by Castle Hill Press are praised for both superlative production quality and substantive contributions to the Lawrence canon.  Churchill Book Collector is honored that Castle Hill Press invited us to offer many of their limited editions.

The fame of T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) derives from his remarkable odyssey as instigator, organizer, hero, and tragic figure of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, which he began as an eccentric junior intelligence officer and ended as “Lawrence of Arabia.”  This time defined Lawrence with indelible experience and celebrity, which he would spend the rest of his famously short life struggling to reconcile and reject, to recount and repress.  This time also led to the tortured writing and tortuous publication of Lawrence’s masterwork Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Castle Hill Press has of course produced bibliographically unique and compellingly beautiful editions of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, prized by both scholars and collectors, but as the full scope of Castle Hill Press publications testifies, Lawrence’s literary and intellectual reach far exceeded the world and words of Seven Pillars.

Of Lawrence, his friend and admirer Winston Churchill said:  “Lawrence had a full measure of the versatility of genius…  He was a savant as well as a soldier.  He was an archaeologist as well as a man of action.  He was an accomplished scholar as well as an Arab partisan.  He was a mechanic as well as a philosopher.  His background of somber experience and reflection only seemed to set forth more brightly the charm and gaiety of his companionship, and the generous majesty of his nature.”  (Great Contemporaries, p. 166)

Lawrence’s published works span crusader castles and ancient Greek translation to technical manuals on high speed boats.  His published volumes of correspondence reveal his engagement with an incredibly diverse array of foremost intellectual and political luminaries of the early twentieth century.

Within the pages of Castle Hill Press limited editions is found the fullest literary measure of this “versatility of genius” consistently presented with both scholarly integrity and the aesthetic sensibilities of a fine press publisher.  Working with Castle Hill Press, Churchill Book Collector looks forward to bringing Castle Hill publications to your shelves.

Churchill in Chicago – 10 January 1901

We recently discovered a wonderful first edition inscribed during Churchill’s first lecture tour of the United States and Canada. This book has never been offered for sale and was unknown to the collecting community.

This is the U.S. first edition of Churchill’s fifth book, inscribed by Churchill for noted impresario F. Wight Neumann in Chicago on 10 January 1901. The signature, in black ink in four lines on the upper half-title, reads: “Winston S. Churchill | to | F. Wight Neuman Esq. | 10.1.1901”



Unlike so many signed copies, we have provenance going back to the time of signing. The book remained in Neumann’s family for more than a century, until 2003, when ownership transferred from Neumann’s grandson, Sterling E. Selz, to his friend and fellow collector John Patrick Ford, from whom it was acquired by Churchill Book Collector. 

In 1900, Churchill had won his first seat in Parliament partly on the strength of his celebrity as a Boer War hero, having been captured and made a daring escape. Churchill’s lecture tour of the United States and Canada was intended to improve his finances at a time when MPs received no salary.  Churchill arrived in New York on board the Lucania on December 8, 1900.

German-born F. Wight Neumann (1851-1924) was a Chicago-based impresario, “one of the most noted impresarios in America” and “friend of virtually every prominent musician in the country” who “brought all of the great artists of the world to Chicago.”  (Chicago Daily Tribune, 23 October 1924 Obituary)  Neumann emigrated to America in 1877, originally training for a banking career. He came to Chicago in 1884.


Circa 1923, the photo shows, from left to right, F. Wight Neumann, Mrs. Neumann, Sterling Selz, Gladys Selz, and Austin Sell

In addition to an incredible stable of musicians, vocalists, opera companies, orchestras, and conductors, also appearing under Neumann’s management in Chicago were select authors and lecturers, among them the young Winston Churchill.


Arriving in Chicago on the morning of 10 January 1901, Churchill lectured that evening on “The Boer War as I Saw It” at Central Music Hall and was entertained after his lecture by “forty members of the University Club at an informal reception in the club grillroom.”


Churchill’s lecture tour had faced challenges and disappointments, among them smaller audiences and profits than anticipated, a frustrating tour manager, and the “strong pro Boer feeling” among “almost half” of some of his audiences.  (21 December 1900 letter from Churchill to his mother)  By the time of his Chicago lecture, Churchill had apparently found ways to deal with this last problem.  When he displayed an image of “a typical Boer soldier” a gallery spectator hurrahed the Boers and “the cry was taken up by a large part of the audience,” followed by hisses from pro-British listeners.

Churchill deftly responded: “Don’t hiss.  There is one of the heroes of history.  The man in the gallery is right.  No true-hearted Englishman will grudge a brave foe cheers.”  This “put the audience in good humour” and gave Churchill “the considerate attention of his audience.”  (The Chicago Tribune, 11 January 1901)  Churchill’s lecture “was much interrupted with the applause of an audience which comfortably filled the hall.”  At his reception following the lecture, “Mr. Churchill was called on for a speech and replied in a witty recital of the many bonds of union which exist between the English and Americas.”  (The Chicago Tribune, 11 January 1901)

Churchill left the United States for England on 2 January aboard the SS Etruria.  In a lecture tour that had proven both challenging and exhausting, Churchill had met President McKinley, dined with recently elected Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt, and been introduced by Mark Twain.  He had taken his first full measure of the tenor and spirit of the nation that would prove his – and Britain’s – vital partner in the two world wars to come.  While Churchill was abroad, Queen Victoria died, and the end of her 64-year reign also closed Churchill’s Victorian career as a cavalry officer and war correspondent adventurer. Churchill took his first seat in Parliament on 14 February 1901 and began a 60-year career as one of the 20th Century’s great statesmen.

The Edition

Ian Hamilton’s March is Churchill’s fifth public book and the second of Churchill’s two books based on his dispatches sent from the front in South Africa.

In October 1899, the second Boer War erupted in South Africa between the descendants of Dutch settlers and the British. As an adventure-seeking young cavalry officer and war correspondent, Churchill swiftly found himself in South Africa with the 21st Lancers and an assignment as press correspondent to the Morning Post. Not long thereafter – on 18 November 1899, Churchill was captured during a Boer ambush of an armored train. His daring escape less than a month later made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career.

Churchill’s first Boer War book, London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, contained 27 letters and telegrams to the Morning Post written between 26 October 1899 and 10 March 1900 and was published in England in mid-May. Ian Hamilton’s March completes Churchill’s coverage of the Boer War, comprising 17 letters to the Morning Post, spanning 31 March through 14 June 1900.

While London to Ladysmith via Pretoria had swiftly published Churchill’s dispatches in the wake of his capture and escape, for Ian Hamilton’s March “the texts of the originally published letters were more extensively revised and four letters were included which had never appeared in periodical form” (Cohen, A8.1.a, Vol. I, p.105). Churchill effected these revisions while on board the passenger and cargo steamer Dunottar Castle which was requisitioned as a troop ship, en route home to England.

Churchill arrived on 20 July 1900 and spent the summer campaigning hard in Oldham, capitalizing on his war status and winning his first seat in Parliament on 1 October 1900 in the so-called “khaki election.”

The narrative in Ian Hamilton’s March includes the liberation of the Pretoria prison camp where Churchill had been held and from which he had famously escaped. The title takes its name from General Sir Ian Hamilton’s campaign from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Churchill would maintain a life-long friendship with Hamilton, who would be involved in the Gallipoli landings and to whom Churchill would sell his first country home.

The U.S. first edition saw only a single printing. The number sold is unclear, but seems to be fewer than 1,500. Published on 26 November 1900, the U.S. first edition was thus available for sale when Churchill arrived in New York on 8 December 1900 for his first North American lecture tour.

Like the U.S. first edition of Ladysmith, the U.S. first edition of Ian Hamilton’s March is bound in pebble grain red buckram which proved durable yet susceptible to blotchy wear and discolouration, particularly on the spine.


003371_3The excellent condition of this copy would make it collector-worthy, independent of the author’s signature.

The red cloth binding remains unusually clean and tight, with sharp corners, and bright gilt and only trivial wear to extremities. The spine toning and uneven coloration endemic to this edition is mild. The spine retains excellent color and vivid gilt, with only a barely discernible hint of uniform toning and modest instances of the typical discoloration.003371_6

The contents remain uncommonly bright and crisp. A trace of spotting is confined to the frontispiece tissue guard and the fore edge. The top edge gilt remains bright. Other than the author’s inscription, the sole previous ownership marks we find are a half dozen illegible, tiny pencil script letters at the upper left rear pastedown that we have refrained from erasing just in case some future owner may be able to decipher them.003371_4

The inscription remains clear and bright, with minimal age spreading on a bright and otherwise unmarked half title page. The date is written with European, rather than U.S. precedence, with the month “1” following the day “10” making the date of inscription 10 January 1901. It is interesting to note that Churchill omits the second “n” at the end of Neumann’s name and it appears as if he initially misspelled the name as “Newman, with a bit of extra ink at the “um” transition seeming a possible attempt to correct the spelling error as it was being inked.


Churchill Book Collector becomes a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA)

Joining a trade association is not usually a stimulating and exciting event.  No parades and press announcements.  Nonetheless, Churchill Book Collector is quite excited to announce that we have been invited to join the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA).


The ABAA is the oldest association of professional booksellers in America and not only includes some of the most distinguished names in the book trade, but also supports an admirable array of preservation, education, research, and networking endeavors.

Along with becoming a member of the ABAA, we are now affiliated with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), which links like-minded national bookseller organizations, representing an impressive array of professional booksellers from 32 different nations.

That’s well and good, but why are we so excited?  A few reasons:

First, the high professional and ethical standards we seek to uphold are admirably supported by the ABAA and shared by its members.  You may read more about the mission of the ABAA HERE and the ABAA Code of Ethics HERE.  As any collector knows, there are few things more disappointing than laboring to find and fund just the right acquisition, only to have the experience marred by an inexperienced, unprofessional, or unscrupulous seller.  ABAA members have – and the organization upholds – the highest standards in the book trade.

Second, with ABAA membership we further enhance our ability to serve our customers.  Our inventory of material by and about Winston Churchill is one of the world’s most extensive, with offerings ranging from some of the rarest material offered – including fine first editions and inscribed copies – to reading copies and works about Churchill’s life and time.  We have the good fortune of an excellent reputation in this specialty and a discerning, global clientele.  However,  both our own collecting interests, and those of our customers extend to authors and eras beyond Churchill.  Our inventory has begun to reflect this collecting diversity and will continue to do so in the future.  Our ABAA membership will enhance our ability to help our customers acquire rare and collectible books beyond the Churchill canon.

To those of you who read our blog, our thanks for sharing our passion for the printed word.  To those who have chosen us to help us build your own collections, we look forward to continuing to help worthy books find your shelves.


The Second World War, inscribed in all six volumes to Churchill’s cousin

003275Churchill Book Collector is pleased to present a unique full set of British first editions of The Second World War.

What makes this set unique is that each volume is inscribed to the same recipient – Churchill’s first cousin, Captain Oswald Moreton Frewen. Four of the volumes are inscribed in the year of publication. Moreover, the set includes three letters about the books addressed to Oswald from two of Churchill’s private secretaries on both Chartwell and 10 Downing Street stationery. Oswald not only requested the inscriptions, but cheekily made corrections to this signed set of his books and sent emendations to his cousin.

This is our latest offering from the incredible Frewen family collection. To read more about the collection, please see our January 12th blog post. This post provides full images and details about this set.

The Volumes and Inscriptions

Volume I, The Gathering Storm

The British first edition, first printing. The five line inscription in blue ink on the half title recto reads:

Vol._I_inscription_CropInscribed for

Oswald Frewen


Winston S. Churchill


Beside his own name, in pencil in Oswald’s wrote: “King’s Harbour Master | Scapa Flow | March ’39 to Sept ’42” and beside Churchill’s signature “First Lord of the Admiralty | & | Prime Minister of Britain”. Oswald also made pencil annotations to pages 92 & 582, referencing these annotations on the half-title verso.

Volume II, Their Finest Hour

The British first edition, first printing. The five line inscription in blue ink on the second free endpaper recto reads:

Vol._II_inscription_CropInscribed for






Volume III, The Grand Alliance

The British first edition, first printing. The five line inscription in black ink on the second blank endsheet recto reads:




Winston S. Churchill




Laid in at the Volume III half-title, on Chartewell letterhead, is a letter to Oswald from Churchill’s Private Secretary Cecily Gemmell dated “4 August 1950” (two months after publication):


“Dear Captain Frewen, Mr. Churchill would like to thank you very much for your letter of August 1, and to say how glad he was to inscribe your copy of THE GRAND ALLIANCE, which he has now asked me to return to you.”

Volume IV, The Hinge of Fate

The British first edition, first printing. The five line inscription in black ink on the second blank endsheet recto reads:





Oct 12. 1952



Tipped onto to the first free endpaper is an October 16, 1952 letter on 10 Downing Street stationery from Jock Colville to Oswald:


“You may be interested to know that your two suspected misprints in Volume IV of the Prime Minister’s book have been identified as being big howlers! I have been asked to thank you for spotting them and to tell you that the matter will be investigated and put to right before the next edition.”

Affixed to the front pastedown is the original franked envelope in which the letter was posted to Oswald.


Volume V, Closing the Ring

The British first edition, first printing. The five line inscription in black ink on the second free endpaper recto reads:








On the second blank endsheet verso Oswald copied his lengthy February 17, 1953 letter to Jock Colville, which begins:


“Dear Colville, Emboldened by your charming letter on the “misprints” I noticed in Winston’s Vol. IV I venture, from the worm’s eye view, to remark on Vol. V, but don’t want to bother Winston himself about them:”

Oswald then enumerates a number of emendations, concluding with a complimentary paragraph about the “stimulus on the fighting personnel of his presence” imparted when Winston made “a personal visit to the Front”.

Colville’s reply to Oswald, dated February 18, 1953 and typed on 10 Downing Street stationery, is tipped onto the half title:


“Many thanks for your letter about Volume V. I shall pass on your observations to those who help Mr. Churchill with the preparation of his book and I have no doubt whatever that they will be as much welcomed as were your last comments. It is a great help to have an unpaid but benevolent and rigorous critic!”

Oswald also made annotations in pencil to pages 68, 484, 518 & 551.

Volume VI, Triumph and Tragedy

The British first edition, first printing. The three-line inscription in black ink on the second blank endsheet recto reads:








The Association

Oswald_naval_uniformOswald Moreton Frewen (1887-1958) was first cousin to Winston Churchill.  His mother Clara (1851-1935) was the eldest sister of Churchill’s mother, Jennie (1854-1921).  Oswald was the youngest of three children born to Clara Jerome Frewen and Moreton Frewen.

While Churchill was serving as First Lord of the Admiralty during the First World War, Oswald served in the Navy and was present at every naval engagement in the North Sea. In 1939, the same year that Winston returned to the Government as First Lord of the Admiralty, Oswald returned to the Navy, becoming King’s Harbour master of Scapa Flow. Oswald held this post from March 1939 to September 1942, also playing a role in the Algiers and Normandy landings and finally retiring from the Navy in 1945 with the rank of Captain.

For a fuller biography of Captain Oswald Frewen, please see our January 23rd blog post.

In his retirement years, Oswald read and annotated cousin Winston’s history of the First World War (as detailed in our January 23rd blog post) and kept in touch with his cousin, closely following the publication of Winston’s history of The Second World War.  In 1949, Oswald and his sister Clare were Christmas guests at Chartwell.  (Gilbert, Volume VIII, p.498)   On 22 August 1950, Churchill wrote to Oswald about trying to complete the fourth volume: “I have had to give up all my holiday,” he complained, and stated “Volume IV is a worse tyrant than Attlee.”  (Gilbert, Volume VIII, p.548)  As this set attests, Oswald chose to congratulate Winston on his completed volume by sending him corrections!

Oswald had a childless marriage late in life. These books remained within the Frewen family until now, passing eventually to his great-nephew, from whom they came to us.


 “I am one of those horrible readers who deface their books with marginal comments…”

Oswald wrote these words on in the copy of Closing the Ring that is part of this set. Oswald’s comment aptly indicates the condition of this, his remarkable set of The Second World War. This set is exceptional for content rather than condition.


All six original bindings are sound and tight, but scuffed and a bit worn, consistent with the fact that they were diligently read by Churchill’s cousin.  The contents bear modest spotting, mostly confined to page edges.  Top edges are sunned to various shades of pink.  The only remnant of the original dust jackets is the front flap text of the Volume III jacket, affixed to the Volume III front pastedown.  We find no previous ownership marks in the set other than the aforementioned author inscriptions, comments by Oswald, and correspondence from Churchill’s private secretaries.

The set is housed in two stout, dark red cloth slipcases.

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The World Crisis, inscribed by Churchill to his Aunt and annotated by his Cousin

“This is not journalism; it is falsification of History. 

Winston has very obviously made history in two wars,

made mistakes, made successes, made history,

but as a writer of history he is unreliable, partisan & distortionist.”


Churchill’s first cousin, Captain Oswald M. Frewen,

excerpt from annotations to 1916-1918, Part I., page 157


Churchill Book Collector is pleased to present an extraordinary set of The World Crisis, Churchill’s history of the First World War. Each of the five books (the 1916-1918 book was issued in two volumes) is inscribed in the year of publication by Churchill to his Aunt Clara. The books passed to Clara’s son and Churchill’s first cousin Captain Oswald Frewen, a career naval officer who served under Churchill’s leadership as First Lord of the Admiralty during both the First and Second World Wars. Of note to both collectors and scholars, Oswald added extensive, expert, and highly critical annotations to the set, focused on the Battle of Jutland and naval and civilian leadership.

This is our latest offering from the incredible Frewen family collection. To read more about the collection, please see our January 12th blog post.

Of course only one collector or institution will be able to purchase this set, but its singularity warrants sharing with a broader audience. Hence this lengthy post, which includes details about the inscriptions, the annotations, edition, and condition, as well as biographical sketches of Churchill’s Aunt Clara and Cousin Oswald.

The Volumes and Inscriptions

Volume I, 1911-1914

The first edition, second printing. The second printing was actually ordered before publication of the first printing (April 10, 1923) and printed only three days after publication of the first printing (on 13 April, 1923). The four-line inscription in black ink on the second free endpaper recto reads:1911-1914_inscription_CROPPED

 To Aunt Clara



June 1. 1923

Volume II, 1915

The first edition, first printing, inscribed three days prior to publication (October 30, 1923). The five-line inscription in black ink on the second free endpaper recto reads:1915_inscription_CROPPED





With best love

Oct 27. 1923.

Volume III, 1916-1918, Part I.

The first edition, first printing, inscribed two days prior to publication (March 3, 1927). The five-line inscription in black ink on the second free endpaper recto reads:1916-18_Part_1_inscription_CROPPED




With best love.


Volume III, 1916-1918, Part II.

The first edition, first printing, not inscribed, as Parts I & II were published together as a single book in two volumes.

Volume IV, The Aftermath

The first edition, first printing, inscribed six days prior to publication (March 7, 1929). The five-line inscription in black ink on the second free endpaper recto reads:Aftermath_inscription_CROPPED





1 Mar 1923

Volume V, The Eastern Front

The first edition, first printing, inscribed early in the month of publication (November 1931, specific day of publication unknown). The five-line inscription in black ink on the half-title recto reads:Eastern_Front_inscription_CROPPED





Nov 6. 1931

Captain Frewen’s Annotations

“Passed to her son Oswald Frewen, navigating officer of HMS COMUS, Fourth Light Cruiser Squadron, at Jutland, and in 1919 principal assistant to Capt. J. E. T. Harper, the author of the Jutland Report. Harper was chosen as a senior officer, specialised in navigation, who had served directly neither under Beatty nor Jellicoe, so as to preclude bias…. fearing the worst, I have left the book unread on my shelves for 20 years, & have only tackled it after renewal of my 1919-acquired knowledge of the Battle in further study.


                                                Sept. 3rd ’47”

This excerpt is taken from the incredible 500+ word prelude to Captain Oswald Frewen’s annotations that immediately follows the author’s inscription to his Aunt (and Oswald’s mother) in the first 1916-1918 volume.1916-18_Part_1_inscription_&_Annotations_CROPPED

Captain Frewen’s extensive annotations appear throughout the two 1916-1918 volumes and run to thousands of words. These annotations are remarkably informed and informative, sharply critical, and compellingly interesting.

Showing throughout all of his annotations is Captain Frewen’s clear and partisan admiration for Jellicoe and dismissive loathing of Beatty. At points, Captain Frewen’s critiques of Winston’s assertions echo the traditional derisiveness of one service branch for another (Frewen a career Naval officer, Churchill’s military career spent in the cavalry and then briefly as an infantry Lieutenant Colonel in the trenches during the First World War). One sample among many: “I am afraid, even from the calm cool armchair, obscured by nothing more than cigar smoke, Winston emerges as a very 8th rate Admiral whatever he may have been as Lieut. of Horse or Col. of Infantry.” Moreover, some of Oswald’s sarcasm and sniping can easily be attributed to the jealousy of a cousin toward the relentlessly eclipsing lodestar that was Winston Churchill.1916-18_Part_1_Frewen_notes_Close_Cropped

Nonetheless, Oswald participated in every naval engagement in the North Sea during the First World War, after the war helped the Admiralty prepare the official history of Jutland, and during the Second World War he served as King’s Harbour Master of Scapa Flow. His annotations are, at points, remarkably specific and appear highly informed.

Oswald’s comments are not without some expressed admiration for his Cousin Winston’s gifts – both literary and as a leader. And tempering the sharp criticism is the knowledge that Oswald actively sought – and received – his Cousin’s Winston’s inscriptions in books that Oswald read and annotated until Oswald’s death in 1958. The Frewen collection includes the entire six-volume history, The Second World War, (published between 1948 and 1954) inscribed to Oswald with his suggested edits, as well as volumes of Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (published between 1956 and 1958) inscribed to Oswald.

Page_133 Page_141

A final consideration is the fact that, according to the Frewen family, Oswald’s own 1916 diary “is considered to be part of the United Kingdom’s national archives because of his description of the Battle of Jutland,” with a claim upon the volume made by the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, England.

In sum, it would seem inappropriate to dismiss Captain Frewen’s annotations as simply partisan or jealous. They make this set not just a prized association copy, but also a relevant and unique piece of history.

In recognition of that significance, we have transcribed the entirety of Captain Frewen’s annotations. The verbatim transcription, location description, and context of each comment within the text runs to 22 typed pages. We will provide this transcription upon request to interested parties, including scholars and prospective buyers.

The Associations

We include biographic sketches of both Churchill’s Aunt Clara, to whom the volumes were originally inscribed, and her son, Churchill’s first cousin Oswald, who inherited and annotated the set.

Clarita Jerome Frewen

ClaraClarita “Clara” Jerome Frewen (1851-1935) was the eldest of the three famous Jerome sisters. Middle sister Jeanette “Jennie” Jerome (1854-1921) became Lady Randolph Churchill and mother to Winston Churchill. Youngest sister Leonie Blanche Jerome (1859-1943) became Lady Leslie, wife of Sir John “Jack” Leslie, an Anglo-Irish baronet.

Clara’s father, Leonard Jerome (1817-1891), was a wealthy New York stock speculator, sportsman, and patron of the arts. Clara’s mother, Clarissa Hall, was an orphaned heiress who in the 1860s quitted New York to take her daughters to Paris, where they spent formative years at the court of Napoleon III. Blond, blue-eyed Clara made her debut before the Franco-Prussian war sent the Jerome women to England. There Jennie and Clara caused sensation, wearing matching gowns to society parties, playing after-supper piano duets, and acquiring a reputation for wit and beauty.Clara_&_Jennie_in_matching_dresses

Jennie’s marriage in 1873 to the son of the Duke of Marlborough both produced Winston Churchill and introduced sisters Clara and Leonie to aristocratic England, from which their own marriages would ensue.

In 1881, Clara, described as “dreamy” and “fey,” married Moreton Frewen (1853-1924), “a dashing, handsome sportsman from a distinguished Sussex family” and “a younger son with no money” who “tried relentlessly but unsuccessfully to translate his good looks and riding prowess into a fortune.” (Kehoe, Fortune’s Daughters, p. xxi) Moreton was undeniably brave, magnetic, and even visionary, but expensive tastes and wild schemes were his undoing; he would amass a lifetime of financial failures, earning the family nickname “Mortal Ruin.”

It was Uncle Moreton who famously edited Winston Churchill’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force, with the same diligence and good fortune he applied to his finances. The result was a profusion of spelling and detail errors that incensed his nephew and resulted in later states of the work bearing lengthy errata slips.

Clara_with_her_three_childrenThree children were born to Clara and Moreton – Hugh (1883-1967), Clare (1885-1970), and Oswald (1887-1958).

Despite a “fluttery appearance” and penchant for living a lifestyle her means could never support, Clara “could display a mule-like determination” and seemed to genuinely love her husband. Clara found a form of peace at Brede Place, her and Moreton’s home in East Sussex, which they managed, barely, to keep afloat, partly via loans exacted by Moreton from their children.Brede_Place_&_garden_crop

It is a measure of Clara’s odd social grit and the financial charade of her and Moreton’s life that when bailiffs came to Brede Place in 1908 she paid one of them “ten shillings to answer the door and polish the mirrors.” (Kehoe, Fortune’s Daughters, p.255) In that year, Clara saw her personal possessions auctioned to pay creditors, and it was only the largesse of family and friends that saw some purchased and returned to her.

After a lengthy illness and infirmity, Moreton died in 1924. Clara would remain at Brede Place – despite the terrible financial pressures it imposed on her and her family – until an August 1933 heart attack forced her into a nursing home, where she died on 20 January 1935.

Upon her death, the notice in the Peterborough column of the Daily Telegraph said of Clara: “Mrs. Frewen never took quite the same prominent place in society as her more brilliant sisters. She was, however, a well-known figure in the political and social circles of her time.”

Her nephew, Winston, was “ever considerate to his aunt.” At his mother’s funeral, even in distress Churchill showed kindness to Clara; he “sought her out in the train, made sure that she was given precedence on arrival, and later took the time to show her round the gardens at Blenheim.” In May 1930, Churchill came to tea at Brede Place and “to Clara’s delight, planted a tree in her ‘celebrity’ tree grove.” (Kehoe, Fortune’s Daughters, p.354-5)

The day before she died, Clara wrote to Churchill: “Darling Winston, I want to tell you I did so love your dear letter and know it was your own hand – & know it was your very own right hand that touched that paper. My old heart goes out to you. I have loved you ever since you were a baby and my blessing and peace be upon your darling head.” (Gilbert, Companion Volume V, Part 2, p.1035-6) Churchill wrote to his wife on 23 January 1935: “Poor old Clara died at 82 last Friday. Advised in time by Oswald, I wrote her a letter of affection which reached her on her last day… She was a vy good woman, who had much unhappiness; she was devoted to my Mamma & hence to me.” (Gilbert, Companion Volume V, Part 2, p.1042)

Winston Churchill dutifully inscribed first edition copies of his books to Clara over the course of three decades, from his earliest works into the 1930s, just prior to her death.

Captain Oswald Moreton Frewen

Oswald Moreton Frewen (1887-1958) was first cousin to Winston Churchill (1874-1965). His mother Clara (1851-1935) was the eldest sister of Churchill’s mother, Jennie (1854-1921). Oswald was the youngest of three children born to Clara Jerome Frewen and Moreton Frewen.

Oswald shared many attributes with his famous cousin – among them a vigorous individualism, a deep-seated contrariness, humor and charm, a sense of adventure, courage, and a great facility for words. Where he differed was in either a dislike or discomfort with society, “excusing his reluctance with a kindly contempt for its vanities.”

Midshipman_Oswald_Frewen_1906These similarities and differences play out in the relative trajectories of Oswald and Winston. Winston began as a military officer and war correspondent, which he parlayed into historic careers in politics and as an acclaimed author. Oswald was “a naval officer first and a barrister second, and by inclination an independently minded square peg who moved with great charm and courage from one round hole to the next…” Oswald “employed his own considerable talents with the pen principally by writing a diary” which ran to a remarkable 55 volumes over the course of his life. (Sailor’s Soliloquy, Preface by G.P. Griggs, p.9) In fact, Oswald’s obituary in The Times described him as “the most indefatigable diarist of his generation.”Oswald's_1910_Diary

Oswald himself observed the “streak of pertinacity and persuasiveness in the Jeromes which at crisis accomplishes much” and noted that this streak “became apparent to the world… in… Winston.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, p.18) Oswald and Churchill may have shared a “disregard for any conventional method of going about things” but where Churchill met disappointment and opposition with willful defiance, Oswald was less compelled to impose his own will and more inclined to “look at the funny side of things and laugh at a world which won’t always laugh with me.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, p.14)

This pervasive perspective of the outsider is echoed in Oswald’s own comments about his famous cousin: “One of my earliest recollections is of a visit to Banstead manor near Newmarket which my Aunt Jennie had taken. She invited us three children to go and stay with her two, Winston and Jack. My brother Hugh, three years older than I, palled up with the Churchills, and these three elders herded apart and referred to my sister Clare and me, slightly and condescendingly, as ‘the little ones’. In my infant eyes Winston’s dozen years’ excess of life over mine made him seem avuncular rather than cousinly, a kind of early hall-mark which I have never been able to eradicate.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, p.13)

Oswald attended Eton and then joined the Royal Navy in 1902, his “first and only love in the realm of vocation.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, Concluding Note by Leigh Holman, p.246) Oswald would be present in every naval engagement in the North Sea during the First World War and, after the war, serve for a period at the Admiralty assisting preparation of the official naval history of the war. Nonetheless, Oswald’s naval career was perhaps limited by “an instinctive mistrust of all those in authority in the Service, Lords Charles Beresford and Jellicoe excepted.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, Concluding Note by Leigh Holman, p.246)

Oswald left the Navy as a Commander in 1922 to pursue careers variously in the law and journalism. When Oswald decided to apply for the Bar, Winston was asked to provide a character reference. “Oswald had left a section of his reference form blank and, to his delight, Winston added the statement: ‘He is my first cousin & I have been in close touch with him continuously. He was a good officer in the Royal Navy and present at several actions, writes well, & has shewn himself a good & devoted son.’ (Fortune’s Daughters, Elisabeth Kehoe, p.347)

Nonetheless, the law was a bust for Oswald. Consistent with his streak of restless Frewen contrarianism, the law’s “daily grind of doing long and boring pleadings for his Master… had no charms for him.” His close friend Leigh Holman later wrote of Oswald: “His four years at the Bar were lean indeed for him, but a glorious light relief to the rest of us in the Chambers who were trying to work but always willing to be entertained.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, Concluding Note by Leigh Holman, p.246)Oswald_&_Clare_on_motorbike

Journalism perhaps suited Oswald’s adventurous side and his interest in “the failings and shortcomings of all those in authority, particularly if they were public concerns.” (Sailor’s Soliloquy, Concluding Note by Leigh Holman, p.245) Perhaps most notably, Oswald was able to combine his sense of adventure, his love of motorbikes, and his close bond with his turbulently flamboyant sister Clare, during a 1924 trip across Europe to Russia, with Clare in his sidecar. Nonetheless, adventure did not translate to a reliable career. Oswald “managed to generate some income through his writing, but it was insufficient to run the household.” (Fortune’s Daughters, Elisabeth Kehoe, p.352)

Oswald would notably return to active service in 1939. The same year that Winston returned to the Government as First Lord of the Admiralty, Oswald returned to the Navy as King’s Harbour Master of Scapa flow, a post he held from March 1939 to September 1942, also playing a role in the Algiers and Normandy landings and finally retiring from the Navy in 1945 with the rank of Captain.

The_SheephouseThat same year, Oswald married Lena Marson Spilman (1902-1988). They would spend the rest of Oswald’s life at his beloved home, “The Sheephouse” in Brede, East Sussex, an old sheep barn on 100 acres that he purchased in 1928 and converted into an Elizabethan half-timbered cottage. (It was in this house as Oswald’s guest that Laurence Olivier proposed to Vivian Leigh, who, along with her previous husband, was a friend of Oswald.) Oswald died in 1958.

The Edition

 The World Crisis is Churchill’s history of the First World War, originally published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931.

The first four volumes comprise the history of the war years 1911-1918 and were published between 1923 and 1927. Two supplemental volumes followed in 1929 and 1931. These were The Aftermath, covering the years 1918-1928, and The Eastern Front, which Churchill initially proposed as “separate from but supplementary to our five volume history”, intended to describe in greater detail “the course of events in the Eastern theatre” (Cohen, Vol. I, p.234).

Of The World Crisis, Frederick Woods wrote, “The volumes contain some of Churchill’s finest writing, weaving the many threads together with majestic ease, describing the massive battles in terms which fitly combine relish of the literary challenge with an awareness of the sombre tragedy of the events.” Churchill was in a special position to write this history, having served both in the Cabinet and on the Front.

Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, but after the failure in the Dardanelles and the slaughter at Gallipoli, he was scapegoated by his peers, betrayed by his Prime Minister, and hounded by the Conservatives. Churchill would go from the Cabinet to the Front, serving as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches.

By the war’s end, Churchill was exonerated by the Dardanelles Commission and rejoined the Government, but the stigma of the Dardanelles would linger. Churchill wrote his history of the First World War in part to clear his name and reputation, but the six volume masterwork he produced far exceeds this purpose.

The U.S. is the true first edition, as U.S. publication of Volume I (6 April 1923) preceded the British (10 April 1923). Nonetheless, the British first edition is prized. The British first edition was more uniform in appearance, with identical dark blue cloth bindings. Many consider the British edition aesthetically superior to the U.S., with its larger volumes and shoulder notes summarizing the subject of each page. There were multiple printings of each volume of the British first edition, with various small differences to bindings, content, and dust jackets.


 “I am one of those horrible readers who deface their books with marginal comments…”

Oswald wrote these words on February 17, 1953, on the first free endpaper of his copy of Winston’s fifth Volume of The Second World War. Oswald addressed his comments to Jock Colville, Churchill’s Private Secretary, to whom he was sending the book both with suggested edits and in order to receive it back with his cousin Winston’s signature. Winston obliged.

This comment from Oswald aptly indicates the condition of this remarkable set of The World Crisis he inherited from his mother, and subsequently read and heavily annotated.

Spines_CroppedThis set is in sound, original, unrestored condition, with the original bindings all firm and intact, but is certainly well short of fine and is obviously to be prized far more for provenance and content than for condition.

Five of the six volumes are first edition, first printing (most having been inscribed by the author to his Aunt Clara prior to publication. Volume I, the 1911-1914 volume, is first edition, second printing. As noted above, the second printing of Volume I was actually ordered before publication of the first printing (April 10, 1923) and printed only three days after publication of the first printing (on 13 April, 1923).

The blue cloth bindings are all square and tight, but show some of the scuffing endemic to the smooth navy cloth and slight wear to extremities. Additionally, we note the following: very slight outward warping to the 1915 volume boards; a pull and some minor fraying at the head of the 1915 volume spine; minor blistering of The Aftermath cloth (to which this particular volume was prone) on the upper front cover and lower right of the spine; some minor discoloration spots to The Eastern Front front cover and a wrinkle (binding error rather than blistering) in the upper rear cover cloth.

Page_Edges_CroppedThe contents of all six volumes show the spotting to which this edition proved vulnerable. Spotting is substantially confined to the page edges and first and final leaves, the heaviest instance within the set observed on the inscribed page of the 1915 volume. We note no previous ownership marks beyond the author’s inscriptions and Captain Frewen’s annotations.

The set is housed in a navy cloth slipcase with gilt print and decoration on the right side.

DSCN1385Bibliographic reference: Cohen A69.2(I).d, A69.2(II).a, A69.2(III-1).a, A69.2(III-2).a, A69.2(IV).a, A69.2(V).a.; Woods/ICS A31(ab), Langworth p.105

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Please inquire with us about availability and terms, or for a full transcription and additional information about the remarkable annotations.


Churchill Book Collector

A stunning collection of Churchill inscriptions to family members, never before offered to collectors

Clara_with_her_three_childrenChurchill Book Collector is pleased to announce that we will begin offering items from the incredible Frewen family collection.

The Frewen collection features inscribed copies of Churchill’s books spanning more than half a century, from 1906 to 1958, and three generations of Churchill’s relatives on his mother’s side, including his Aunt Clara and her descendents.  The collection is noteworthy not only for inscribed first editions, but also for accompanying correspondence and annotations.

The collection has remained in the Frewen family until now, providing both sterling provenance and a unique opportunity for collectors.

Individual family members to whom volumes are inscribed include the following:

  • ClaraChurchill’s Aunt Clara.  Clarita “Clara” Jerome Frewen (1851-1935) was the eldest of the three famous Jerome sisters.  Clara married Moreton Frewen (1853-1924), who earned the family nickname “Mortal Ruin” for his lifetime of financial failures.  Churchill collectors may also recognize Moreton as the famously slipshod editor of Churchill’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force.  Clara’s sister Jeanette “Jennie” Jerome (1854-1921) became Lady Randolph Churchill and mother to Winston Churchill.  Youngest sister Leonie Blanche Jerome (1859-1943) became Lady Leslie, wife of Sir John “Jack” Leslie, an Anglo-Irish baronet.
  • Clare_SculptingChurchill’s first cousin Clare Sheridan.  The tempestuous and talented sculptress and writer Clare Consuelo Frewen Sheridan (1885-1970) was “the nearest thing to a sister that Winston ever had.”  Clare was the middle of three children born to Clara  and Moreton.  Clare was the only girl among the eight children born to the three famous Jerome sisters.
  • Midshipman_Oswald_Frewen_1906Churchill’s first cousin Oswald Frewen.  Career naval officer, sometime journalist, and prolific diarist Captain Oswald Moreton Frewen (1887-1958) was the youngest of three children born to Clara and Moreton.  Oswald was present for every naval engagement in the North Sea during the First World War, helped the Admiralty prepare the official naval history of the First World War, and served as King’s Harbour Master at Scapa Flow during the Second World War.
  • Lena Frewen, wife of Churchill’s first cousin Oswald Frewen.  Lena Marson Spilman Frewen (1902-1988) married Oswald Frewen in 1945.  They would spend the rest of Oswald’s life at his beloved home (“The Sheephouse”) in Brede, East Sussex.
  • Roger_FrewenRoger Frewen, Churchill’s godson and first cousin once removed.  Roger d’Hauteville Moreton Frewen (1914-1972) was the son of Churchill’s first cousin, Hugh Frewen (1883-1967) who was the eldest child of Clara and Moreton Frewen. Roger served the Foreign Office before, during, and after the Second World War.

Here are some highlights from the Frewen collection:

  • Lord Randolph Churchill, the British first edition of Churchill’s biography of his father, inscribed in the year of publication to Churchill’s Aunt Clara in the first volume and signed in the second volume.
  • The World Crisis, a full set of six British first editions, each inscribed in the year of publication to Churchill’s Aunt Clara, and having passed in turn to Clara’s son and Churchill’s first cousin Captain Oswald Frewen, bearing his quite extensive and highly critical annotations on Churchill’s interpretation of the Battle of Jutland and naval leadership, including Admiral Jellicoe.
  • My Early Life, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s autobiography, inscribed and dated to Churchill’s Aunt Clara six days prior to publication.
  • My Early Life, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s autobiography, inscribed and dated in the year of publication to Churchill’s godson, Roger Frewen.
  • The Gathering Storm, the U.S. first edition (and true first edition, preceding the British) of the first volume of Churchill’s history of The Second World War, inscribed and dated less than a month after publication to Churchill’s first cousin Clare Sheridan.
  • The Second World War, full set of British first editions, each inscribed and dated by Churchill to Oswald, bearing several instances of correspondence between Oswald and Jock Colville referencing Oswald’s suggested corrections to the text of several volumes (included as annotations in the volumes which he cheekily sent to Churchill for signature and then received back, inscribed).
  • A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s sweeping four-volume history and last great work, signed by Churchill in the first two volumes with correspondence from both Churchill and Churchill’s Private Secretary to Oswald Frewen, Churchill’s first cousin, as well as a gift inscription to Oswald from his wife.
  • Painting as a Pastime, the U.S. first edition, first printing, inscribed by Churchill to his first cousin Oswald’s wife, Lena.
  • Winston S. Churchill: Youth, 1874-1900, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s Official biography, inscribed by the author Randolph S. Churchill to Roger Frewen.
  • My Early Life and Great Contemporaries, finely bound marriage gifts from Churchill to Roger Frewen inscribed and dated to him “on his marriage.”

We will be offering items from this singular collection over the next several months; watch for our forthcoming emails. If you are not on our confidential contact list, now would be a good time to join. Click HERE.

Please note that a number of items from the Frewen collection will also be featured by us at the Pasadena Book Fair held on January 31 and February 1 at The Pasadena Center in Pasadena, California.  If you are able to attend, please ask us for complimentary tickets.

We look forward to making this wonderful collection available to Churchill enthusiasts, collectors, and scholars for the first time.


An Extraordinary Copy of Churchill’s First War Speeches Volume

Recently we were privileged to acquire a truly singular copy of the U.S. first edition of the first volume of Churchill’s war speeches. This copy is signed by fifty-one individuals, including the former King of England, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, Clementine Churchill, a who’s who of British Wartime leadership, and dozens of wartime pilots of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and Royal Air Force (RAF) who piloted the aircraft bearing these and other British leaders during and following the Second World War.


We are pleased to offer this book for sale. However, the story of this remarkable book is far too long to tell in a simple listing description. And it is a story we just have to tell. So we are writing about this wonderful book in this *very* long blog post, complete with dozens of images. We hope you enjoy learning about this book as much as we have.

The signed book is accompanied by a framed photo of former King Edward signing this very book, as well as a number of documents attesting to provenance, including vintage photographs and newspaper clippings, correspondence, notes, a calendar page, and a receipt.

We provide an extensive description of the book, its provenance, and its accompanying documents, as well as biographic information on each of the noteworthy signatures identified.

The signatures

There are a total of fifty-one signatures on four different pages within the book. Among them we have identified thirteen noteworthy wartime figures. Presumably many of the remainder are BOAC pilots. Likely there are more as-yet undeciphered names of historic significance among the fifty-one.

The earliest dated signature is December 1941, the month of the attack on Pearl Harbor and formal entry of the United States into the Second World War. Correspondence accompanying the book indicates the final signature occurred in January 1953.

On the frontispiece:


  • Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, Prime Minister 1955-1957
  • Baroness Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill
  • Sir Winston S. Churchill, Prime Minister 1940-1945 & 1951-1955
  • Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alamein
  • Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Cotesworth Slessor

On the title page:


  • Former King Edward VIII, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor
  • Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
  • Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell, Viceroy of India
  • Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill
  • Air Marshal Sir Roderic Maxwell Hill
  • Air Marshal Sir Robert Owen Jones
  • Sir Albert Henry Self
  • Colonel Sir Edmund Vivian Gabriel
  • Twenty three additional signatures, one dated December 1941, two dated 1944, many, if not all, ostensibly those of pilots.

On the second half-title, following the Introduction:


  • Fourteen signatures, ostensibly those of pilots, two specifying “R.A.F.”

On the rear pastedown:


  • Arthur C. V. Hostler, with “B.E.F. Sept 1914 – May 1917.” directly below in the same hand. Ostensibly, “B.E.F.” is British Expeditionary Force, indicating Hostler’s service in the First World War.

Collection of the signatures

Arthur C. V. Hostler, M.B.E. (Civil Division, appointed 18 December 1945) was the original owner of this book and collected the remarkable array of signatures therein. Hostler was in a special position to be in contact with such a great number of wartime leaders and pilots.

During the Second World War, Hostler was a member of the British Air Commission, serving the Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP) in Washington D.C. The British Air Commission delegation to Washington was charged with arranging purchase of American aircraft and aircraft components to fulfill Royal Air Force needs.

After the War, Hostler was employed by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in New York. The BOAC was formed in 1939 and, throughout the Second World War until 1946, was the nationalized airline of Great Britain. BOAC operated under the direction of the Secretary of State for Air, with no requirement to act commercially. After the War, between 1946 and 1974, BOAC operated all long-haul British flights. Hence, during the Second World War and for a number of years thereafter, it was common for British civil and military leaders to travel on BOAC flights.

Hostler’s BOAC business card is stapled to the front free endpaper. The documents accompanying the signed book include a copy of a 20 January 1953 letter from Hostler to Elizabeth Gilliat, Secretary to Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, thanking Ms. Gilliat for securing Churchill’s signature of the book. Hostler wrote:


Dear Miss Gilliat;

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness in offering to present my book “Blood, Sweat and Tears” to the Prime Minister for autographing.

I was more than pleased when the book was returned to me by Mr. Charles Clayton with the information that the Prime Minister had autographed this book.

If and when the opportunity arises, I shall be grateful if you will, on my behalf, thank the Prime Minister for honoring me with his signature as I now feel this book is complete and will remain a great memento of my service with the British Air Commission (M.A.P.) in Washington during the war years when I had the pleasure of seeing the Prime Minister on two occasions when he visited Washington.

Anytime you are on this side of the Atlantic and I can be of service to you in any way, please do not hesitate to communicate with me.

I am,

Sincerely yours,

Arthur C. V. Hostler

Indications are that the book was signed in January 1953 during Churchill’s visit to the United States and Jamaica via a request made by Hostler to Miss Gilliat. See further documentation below.

Documents accompanying the book

In addition to the copy of the letter to Churchill’s Secretary, documents accompanying the book include the following:

  • A British Overseas Airways Corporation receipt originating at “N.Y. Int’L A’port” and dated “Jan. 23 1953” for the letter sent to Churchill’s Secretary, Elizabeth Gilliat.


  • A double-sided daily journal page apparently in Hostler’s hand from Thursday , January 22 and Friday, January 23, 2953, reading in part:

[Thursday, January 22, 1953] “…Had to get “Constellation” | ready for Churchill in | Montego Bay. | Got curtains from [indecipherable] | Roll away cots from | Seymour Hotel & had Asher | help put up curtains, etc.


[Friday, 23 January, 1953] “Winston Churchill & Mrs. Churchill | & Capt & Mrs. Soames arrived | 7:30 am from Montego Bay. | Came in office & then left by motorcade with British | Ambassador & Consul General | for the “Queen Mary” sailing | today. | Everything smooth – good | trip etc. | Saw Miss Gilliatt again & | bought [indecipherable] for her & | sent them to Jones [indecipherable] | to forward.”


Note: Churchill left Britain aboard the Queen Mary on December 31, 1952, accompanied by his wife, daughters Sarah and Mary as well as Mary’s husband, and Sir Roger Makins, newly appointed ambassador to Washington. Queen Mary docked in New York on the morning of January 5, 1953. By January 7, 1953 Churchill was in Washington to meet with Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles. On January 8, 1953 Churchill departed Washington on a flight (presumably BOAC) to Jamaica. On the morning of January 23, 1953, Churchill departed Montego Bay for New York via another BOAC flight (referenced in the calendar page above) for New York, departing that afternoon on the Queen Mary.

  • A September 3, 1954 postcard (picturing Churchill in regalia) from Hostler to his wife, Alice.


  • A 1954 Christmas card to “Jeanette” (Jeanette Hostler, wife of Arthur Hostler) from “Alice” (Alice Makins, nee Alice Brooks Davis) the wife of British Ambassador in Washington Roger Makins. The cover features a photo of Churchill and Sir Roger Makins at the British Embassy, Washington, taken on June 29, 1954, by “Leading Aircraftsman J. A. Davis.” The autographed note from Alice to Jeanette, apparently alluding to the trip on which Hostler’s postcard to Alice was sent, reads in part:

Dear Jeanette, | Thanks for the Card & note. | How interesting about Arthur’s | visit to England. Wish I | had known he was going….”


  • A photograph of Hostler on a dock with a BOAC flying boat in the background. Inked on the back of the photo is: “B.O.A.C. | Baltimore | 1947 | A. C. V. Hostler.”


  • A photo of Churchill on the Washington, D.C. British Embassy steps. Inked on the back of the photo is: “May 1943”. In pencil below is: “on Embassy steps | Wash DC”.


  • A typed “Speech by Field Marshal Sir John Dill to the Overseas Press Club of America at New York on 26th February 1942.” The speech is 10 numbered pages, age-toned and brittle, fastened by a rusted and clearly contemporary paperclip that has stained the pages. Just two months prior Dill had been sacked as Chief of the Imperial General Staff by Churchill and narrowly escaped political exile by becoming head of the joint staff mission and senior British member of the combined chiefs of staff, as well as personal representative of the minister of defense, in Washington, D.C.


  • A handwritten partial list on lined paper, apparently in Hostler’s hand, naming twenty-two of the fifty individuals who signed his copy of Blood Sweat and Tears


  • A photograph of former King Edward VIII, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, holding a book and flanked on the right by an unidentified figure in uniform and an unidentified civilian on the left. The back of the photograph is printed: “Photograph by | Sidney Barnett 1651 Fuller St. | Washington DC.”


  • A photograph of former King Edward VIII, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, speaking, flanked on either side by seated civilians. The back of the photograph is printed: “Photograph by | Sidney Barnett 1651 Fuller St. | Washington DC.”


  • Various contemporary newspaper clippings.

The framed photograph

Accompanying the book is a framed photograph of former King Edward VIII, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor signing this copy of Blood Sweat and Tears. Edward is centered in the photo, his right hand holding a pen and resting on the title page where he signed. The lower right of the photo states “copyright Oct. 1943” and the surrounding mat is hand captioned “H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor | Washington D.C. Oct. 1943.”


Both the title page and frontis page are visible, indicating that some of the title page signatures preceded that of Edward, while all of the frontis page signatures came later.

The matted photograph measures 9.25 x 7.25 inches. The sealed frame appears contemporary to the photograph and measures 13 x 11.75 inches. As indicated on the frame’s rear backing, the framing was done in Baltimore. The unexceptional frame is black wood with gilt inner edge, the mat tan.

The edition

Blood Sweat and Tears is the first volume of Churchill’s famous war speeches, containing speeches from May 1938 when Churchill was still out of favor and out of power, to November 1940, six months after Churchill became wartime Prime Minister.

Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill’s war speeches were published in seven individual volumes. Of Churchill, Edward R. Murrow said, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” In this first war speeches volume the great battle of the Twentieth Century and Churchill’s life begins.

In his first speech to Parliament as Prime Minister on 13 May 1940, Churchill stated plainly, as he had told his Cabinet earlier that day, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” This is the famous phrase from which the U.S. first edition takes its title. Published in England as “Into Battle”, this is one of the few Churchill first editions for which the U.S. edition bears a different title than the British.

The U.S. first edition is bound in smooth navy cloth with red banners and silver print and red-stained top edge in the same style as the preceding U.S. first editions of Great Contemporaries (1937), While England Slept (1938), and Step By Step (1939), with the addition of the Marlborough arms stamped in blind on the front cover, lower right.

Bibliographic reference: Cohen A142.3, Woods/ICS A66(b.1), Langworth p.207

Condition of the Book

Condition of the book is very good, impressive given that it was handled and signed by fifty-one individuals over more than a decade. The binding remains square and unfaded, with only minor wear to extremities and trivial scuffing to the lower spine.


The contents remain bright with no spotting. The front free endpaper is twice stapled at the top, securing Hostler’s BOAC business card and we note what appears to be glue staining (but no scarring) to a rectangular section below the business card, perhaps where a previous bookplate was affixed and fell off.


The rear pastedown shows differential toning, consonant with possible transfer browning from news clippings that may once have been laid in. The red-stained top edge is clean and uniformly sunned to dark pink. The untrimmed fore edge and the bottom edge are notably clean, showing only a hint of age-toning.

Biographies of non-BOAC signatories (in order of the appearance of their signatures)

Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon


Signature on the frontis page, centered below Churchill’s image

(1897-1977) Anthony Eden was Prime Minister from 1955-57, succeeding Winston Churchill. Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, Eden served on the western front 1915-1918 and was awarded the Military Cross. He served as a Conservative Member of Parliament from 1923-1957. His posts included Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign Office (1931-1933), Lord Privy Seal (1934-35), Minister for League of Nations Affairs (1935), and Foreign Secretary (1935-38, 1940-1945, and 1951-1955). Eden famously resigned his Foreign Secretary post on 20 February 1938 in protest to the Government’s appeasement policies. Of Eden’s resignation, Churchill wrote: “…on this night of February 20, 1938… sleep deserted me… There seemed one strong young figure standing up against long, dismal, drawling tides of drift and surrender, of wrong measurements and feeble impulses… he seemed to me at this moment to embody the life-hope of the British nation… Now he was gone.” (The Gathering Storm, pp. 257-8) Eden’s premiership, long-delayed while waiting for Churchill to relinquish the premiership, was fraught with challenge, including the Suez Crisis, and revealed Eden prone to reveal “irascibility, his inability at times to delegate, and his touchiness in the face of criticism.” Nonetheless, the passage of time sees Eden “increasingly recognized as a serious and patriotic figure who worked under the most appalling pressure for nearly three decades at the front line of British and world politics.” (ODNB) Eden was appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1954 and created 1st Earl of Avon in 1961. Many honors accrued to Eden, and he was an active chancellor of Birmingham University for nearly three decades.

Baroness Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill

NPG x6145; Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill

Signature on the frontis page, below and to the left of that of Anthony Eden

(1885-1977) Clementine Churchill, nee Clementine Hozier, was the wife of Winston S. Churchill. She first met Winston at a ball in 1904, where he made a poor impression. In March 1908 she was placed next to Winston at a dinner party, where he apparently made a better impression; they married on 12 September 1908. Their marriage brought five children: Diana (b. 1909); Randolph (b. 1911); Sarah (b. 1914); Marigold (b. 1918); and Mary (b. 1922). To their lifelong marriage Clementine brought “a shrewd political intelligence. She supplied balance to Churchill at two levels: her more equable nature ensured that she moderated the depth of his depressions, and her good judgment helped to ward off political mistakes.” (ODNB) Winston Churchill’s life and career were tumultuous and relentlessly eventful, so Clementine’s married life was perhaps inherently not without stress, challenges, and sadness. Nonetheless, their marriage appears to have been a truly effective and intimate partnership. “Throughout their married life, even if separated for only a few days, Clementine and Winston wrote spontaneous and informal letters to one another, intimately affectionate in tone, using their pet names Pug and Kat and reinforced with appropriate animal drawings.” (ODNB) ‘Marriage was her vocation’, said a newspaper leading article at her death (The Times, 13 Dec 1977) Clementine Churchill was appointed CBE (1918), GBE (1946), and created a life peer as Baroness Spencer-Churchill in 1965.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill



Signature on the frontis page bearing his portrait, below and slightly to the right of that of Clementine Churchill

(1874-1965) During his “remarkable and versatile” life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of historical note – member of Parliament for more than half a century, distinguished soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, painter, Nobel Prize winner. But more than anything else, it was Winston Churchill’s leadership during the Second World War that made him a preeminent historical figure. After passing out from Sandhurst he obtained his commission (20 February 1895) as a cavalry officer in the Queen’s Own Hussars. After an adventure in Cuba as a war correspondent, Churchill left England for India in 1896, where he would write his first book on the northwest Indian frontier, cementing the literary inclination that would become a financial, political, and expressive wellspring for the rest of his long life. Churchill would next fight and write in the Sudan, but it was via the Boer War in South Africa that the soldier and war correspondent made the seminal jump to politics. There, on 15 November 1899, Churchill was captured during a Boer ambush of an armored train. His daring escape less than a month later made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. Churchill was first elected to Parliament in October 1900 as a Conservative. He would cross the aisle to become a Liberal in 1904, and by 1908, at age 33, become both a Cabinet Minister and a husband. By 1911 Churchill was first Lord of the Admiralty. In 1915, after the failure in the Dardanelles and the slaughter at Gallipoli, Churchill was made the scapegoat and forced to resign. At the onset of his first political exile at Hoe Farm in Surrey he discovered painting, which would be a passion and source of release and renewal for the remaining half century of his long life. He spent the balance of his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches. Before war’s end, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, a dramatic cycle of political ruin and rebirth that echoed the 1930s to come. In October of 1924 Churchill rejoined the Conservatives, elected to the Epping seat he would hold for the next 40 years, and joining the Conservative Government as Chancellor of the Exchequer. By the early 1930s, Churchill was beginning a decade out of power and out of favor that would be known later as his “wilderness years” substantially characterized by Churchill’s “unceasing struggle in the face of resentment, apathy, and complacency” as he criticized British foreign policy and warned prophetically of the coming danger posed by Nazi Germany. When war came, Churchill was recalled to the Admiralty in September 1939 and became Prime Minister in May 1940. Churchill would remain wartime Prime Minister until July 1945 and then serve as Leader of the Opposition until his second and final premiership from October 1951 to April 1955. In the course of a lifetime Churchill was the recipient of thirty-seven orders, decorations, and medals. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1922, awarded the Order of Merit in 1946, and the Order of the Garter in 1953.

Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alamein


Signature on the frontis page, directly below that of Winston Churchill

(1887-1976) Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC passed through Sandhurst “without distinction but without difficulty also” and began what would be fifty years in the British Army, serving in India from 1908 to 1913. “It was the First World War that changed Montgomery from a bumptious, querulous infantry subaltern, constantly at odds with authority, into a decorated company commander, outstanding staff officer—and trainer of men.” The First World War showed Montgomery ‘that the whole art of war is to gain your objective with as little loss as possible.’ This edict made Montgomery “the outstanding British field commander of the twentieth century.” (ODNB) Montgomery earned his fame in North Africa during the Second World War. In August 1942, Churchill gave Montgomery command of the Eighth Army, where Montgomery famously beat Rommel and oversaw defeat of Axis forces in North Africa. He went on to command the Eighth Army in Sicily and Italy, and Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord. After the war he would rise to Chief of the Imperial General Staff and be elevated to Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. He retired in 1958 as deputy commander of NATO’s European forces. The arrogant, outspoken, and politically inept Montgomery seldom missed either controversy or an opportunity for self-promotion. During the war he was often criticized by Allied commanders for his caution and slowness to strike. Uncharitable accusations made in Montgomery’s postwar memoirs lost him the friendship of President Eisenhower and forced Montgomery to publicly apologize to a fellow Field Marshal whom – ironically and perhaps hypocritically – he accused of being too slow to fight. Montgomery earned further criticism for declaring support for Apartheid after visiting South Africa, and for praising Chinese leadership after a visit to Mao’s communist China.

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Cotesworth Slessor


Signature on the frontis page, lower right.

(1897-1979) Childhood Polio left John Slessor lame in both legs, but through the intervention of a family friend he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps on his eighteenth birthday, where he would spend a distinguished career. Described as “an officer of exceptional ability, charm, and force of personality”, Slessor “was one of that select group of officers who were clearly destined for the highest ranks of the air force.” (ODNB) Slessor held the critical post of director of plans at the Air Ministry from 1937 to 1940. He was appointed air commodore in 1939, air vice-marshal in 1941, air marshal in 1943, air chief marshal in 1946, and marshal of the Royal Air Force in 1950, retiring in 1953. Slessor was awarded the MC in 1916, appointed to the DSO in 1937, and created CB (1942), KCB (1943), and GCB (1948).

Edward VIII, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor


Upper title page, centered between the title and author

(1894-1972) Edward, endowed with the forenames Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David and known to his family as David, was the first child of five sons and was thus groomed from the start to be king. Prince Edward “was early noted for charm and good looks.” He was also observed to be an “intelligent child, with something of his father’s prodigious memory and an innate, wide-ranging curiosity.” (ODNB)Edward was educated at Oxford. He left Oxford at the start of the First World War in 1914 and was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards, serving as vigorously as the imperative to prevent his death or capture would allow.After the war, “His easy manner and innovative hand-shaking sessions (he was the first royal to ‘press the flesh’ in the modern manner) made the prince a star in the Hollywood style then just emerging” and his popular appeal was enhanced by visits to Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and India. (ODNB) The prince met Wallis Simpson (1896–1986) in the home of a then-mistress on 10 January 1931. Simpson was an American citizen married to her second husband, an American businessman then living and working in London. George V died on 20 January 1936 and the Prince of Wales was proclaimed as King Edward VIII. “He was a colourful figure in a drab era. Yet for all his modernity he had given little thought as to how he would behave as king… his ministers quickly realized that he was not seriously engaged in the processes of public business.” Moreover, “The king’s affair with Mrs. Simpson was undisguised… and his informal and sometimes arbitrary behaviour was the despair of his staff.” Neither did Edward enjoy the support of Prime Minister Baldwin’s government. By late 1936, the crisis posed by the King’s evident intention to wed the not-yet-divorced Simpson came to a head. Despite noteworthy intervention and support by Winston Churchill, the King abdicated on 11 December 1936, his reign having lasted just 327 days. In his broadcast that evening, now Prince Edward famously remarked: “You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.” Edward married Simpson on 3 June 1937 and they remained married until his death in 1972. Edward enjoyed a comfortable life, if one substantially isolated from the Royal Family and occupied with less than the responsibilities he sought. “In asserting private before public priorities to the extent of occasioning a constitutional crisis, he undoubtedly went far beyond what the British and imperial establishment found acceptable in a sovereign… the Simpson affair was a symptom of a wider question mark which had arisen over his capacity to be king.” Nonetheless, Edward “behaved after 1936 with dignity and reserve in the face of what he and his wife saw as a deliberate and systematic exclusion.” (ODNB)

Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke


Upper title page, directly below and left of the author’s name

(1883-1963) Alan Francis Brooke was born to a family with a centuries-long and distinguished record of military service to the crown and served as the foremost military advisor to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the coordinator of British military efforts during the Second World War. At the apex of a distinguished and decorated military career, in December 1941, Brooke became chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) “in place of Dill, who had been no match for Winston Churchill. Soon thereafter Brooke became, in addition, chairman of the chiefs of staff committee and effectively the principal strategic adviser to the war cabinet as well as the professional head of the army.” (ODNB) When Brooke accepted Churchill’s appointment to serve as chief of the Imperial General Staff in November 1941, Churchill commented: “He is a combination of wisdom and vigour which I have found refreshing.” Churchill also had a personal connection with Brooke through “his two gallant brothers – the friends of my early military life”, Victor and Ronald. Victor was befriended by Churchill in 1895 and killed during the retreat from Mons in 1914; “Ronnie” was a comrade in arms and friend from the Boer War who also died prematurely in 1925. (Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 233-4) By all accounts, Brooke proved a pivotal part of the British war effort, coordinating, commanding, consensus building, “and, often above all… contriv[ing] that Churchill’s indispensable and magnificent energies were not misdirected towards unsound and erratic strategic schemes.” (ODNB) Brooke was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944 and after the war handed over office to Montgomery, subsequently serving as Chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast, holding various ceremonial posts, among them being nominated Lord High Constable of England and commander of the parade for the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II, as well as holding director of numerous companies and engaging in philanthropic causes. In the First World War, Alanbrooke had been appointed to the DSO and had received the bar and six mentions in the dispatches. In 1940 he was appointed KCB, received the grand cross of both the Bath (1942) and the Royal Victorian Order (1953). He was created Baron Alanbrooke in 1945 and Viscount Alanbrooke in 1946, the year in which he was also created KG and admitted to the Order of Merit.

Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell, Viceroy of India


Upper title page, directly below the author’s name

(1883-1950) Archibald Percival Wavell was a career army officer who proved unfortunate in his commands during the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, despite enduring popularity with both the troops and the public. His early career included South Africa, India, and the First World War, followed by a decade divided between the War Office and staff during which he became known “as an officer untrammeled by convention.” As testimony to the point, “The general public came to associate him with a phrase he used in a lecture: that his ideal infantryman was ‘a successful poacher, cat-burglar and gunman’.” (ODNB) His first significant experience in a 30 year army career came in 1930. In command he became recognized “as an exceptional trainer of troops and a highly creative thinker.” The start of the Second World War found Wavell with the new command of the Middle East. A series of misfortunes not entirely attributable to Wavell’s leadership and competence eroded his position. When the decision was made to evacuate the British Somaliland protectorate (in Wavell’s absence), Churchill disapproved and Wavell defended it, beginning a permanent disaffection. After failure of British forces under Wavell in Greece and against Rommel, Churchill “lost confidence in Wavell” and he was replaced with Sir Claude Auchinleck, whose place Wavell took as commander in chief in India, a post Wavell held from 1941-1947. Here he also proved unlucky, nominated as supreme commander of the ill-fated American, British, Dutch, and Australian (ABDA) command of south-east Asia and the south-west Pacific. Nonetheless, in 1943 Wavell was promoted field marshal, appointed viceroy of India, and raised to the peerage as Viscount Wavell. As viceroy, Wavell “displayed considerable political acumen, sensitivity, and courage” but was severely hampered both by “lack of understanding from London” and political forces beyond his control. Wavell was eventually sacked, replaced by Mountbatten, who “rapidly concurred with Wavell’s diagnosis of the Indian situation” and “presided over the end of the raj” as Wavell had recommended. In his brief retirement before his death, Wavell was created Earl Wavell, indulged a love of literature, and served as chancellor of Aberdeen University. He received numerous decorations from many countries and in his own was appointed CMB (1919), CB (1935), KCB (1939), GCB (1941), and GCSI and CGIE in 1943, the same year in which he was sworn of the privy council.

Field Marshall Sir John Greer Dill


Upper title page, directly below and right of the author’s name

(1881-1944) Sir John G. Dill was Churchill’s first wartime chief of the Imperial General Staff and later head of the British joint staff mission in Washington, maligned for the former role and much praised – at least in America – for the latter. Dill, orphaned at the age of twelve, came from a long line of Dill scholars and ministers. A career military officer, he was commissioned in 1901. His early career seemed to emphasize his character and limitations more than his abilities; “At Sandhurst his conduct was exemplary, his marks uniformly mediocre. Worthiness outbid distinction.” (ODNB) It was a combination of the Staff College and the First World War that launched Dill’s career. He began the First World War as a captain and ended as a temporary brigadier. After the war he became an instructor and commandant at the Staff College and Imperial Defence College, ironically “attracting the epithet ‘intellectual'” as well as a reputation for vigor and drive. (ODNB) It is probable that the onset of the aplastic anaemia which killed him caused a decline in his vigor in the 1930s, even as he faced growing responsibilities. When he was appointed chief of the Imperial General Staff in April 1940, “he was in no condition to do what was both necessary and desirable; that is, stand up to Churchill at home and Hitler abroad.” (ODNB) Churchill called him ‘Dilly-Dally’ and Dill was replaced by his protégé, Brooke, in December 1941. When he was sacked, Churchill intended that he be sidelined as governor of Bombay. However, in December Churchill departed in haste for Washington to confer with Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor and took Dill with him. Dill stayed on in Washington, becoming “not only head of the joint staff mission and senior British member of the combined chiefs of staff, but also, ironically, personal representative of the minister of defence, an office claimed by Winston Churchill himself.” Here Dill distinguished himself and proved crucial as a trusted “guarantor and mediator, fixer and broker”. (ODNB) When his statue was erected in Arlington National Cemetery (a singular honor for a foreigner) the indispensible U.S. army chief of staff General George C. Marshall said of Dill: “He was my friend… my intimate associate through most of the war years… I have never known a man whose high character showed so clearly…” Dill was made KCB in 1937 and GCB in 1942 and, when he died in November 1944, was accorded a memorial service at Washington Cathedral, with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff as his honorary pall bearers.

Air Marshall Sir Roderic Maxwell Hill


Upper right title page, below the author’s name and directly below the signature of Sir John G. Dill

(1894-1954) Unlike many of his military contemporaries, Roderic Hill did not begin with the intention of a military career, but studied to become an architect. However, fascination with flying ultimately drew Hill’s attention, and the diversion was cemented when Hill enlisted in the ranks at the outbreak of the First World War. Wounded and mentioned in the dispatches, Hill joined the Royal Flying Corps and by July 1916 had earned his wings. Hill swiftly became known for “his energy, enthusiasm and skill, and calculated daring as a pilot.” He ended the First World War as a squadron leader with the newly formed Royal Air Force and from 1917 to 1923 oversaw the experimental flying department of the royal aircraft factory at Farnborough. In 1936 Hill received his first senior command, working closely with the army under generals Dill and Wavell. By 1939 he was an air vice-marshal, but he nonetheless characteristically managed to fly the new advanced fighters, the Hurricane and the Spitfire. To Hill’s chagrin, his early war years included non-operational command posts. In 1941 Hill was controller of technical services with the British air commission in the United States and, among other things, played a role in persuading the Americans to make far greater provision for armament, including gun-turrets, in their heavy bombers than they had originally intended. Hill was subsequently commandant of the RAF Staff College in 1942-3. It was only in 1943 that he received the fighter group command he wanted. “So successful was he that only four months later Hill became air marshal commanding air defence of Great Britain, with the main task of defending Britain from German air attack while the Allied invasion of the continent was being prepared.” (ODNB) Here Hill made an impressive impact. When the first flying bombs were launched in June 1944, Hill boldly – and with full knowledge that he would be held responsible for the outcome – initiated “a complete redeployment and segregation of defences” which ultimately “saved London from a far worse bombardment than it received.” In the final year of the war Hill became Air Council member for training and, after the war, principal air aide-de-camp to the king. His final post was as Air Chief Marshal for technical services, after which he retired to become rector of the Imperial College of Science and Technology. Hill was appointed MC (1916), AFC (1918), CB (1941), and KCB (1944).

Air Marshal Sir Robert Owen Jones

Sir Robert Owen Jones

Title page center

(1901-1972) Robert Owen Jones spent his career in the Royal Air Force, beginning as aircraft depot staff in India in 1925, rising to attend the RAF Staff College in 1934, and assuming his first commands thereafter in the mid 1930s. He was transferred to the Technical Branch in 1940 and later served as Head of the RAF delegation to Washington, D.C. After the Second World War, Jones successively served as Head of Planning Staff at the Air Ministry, Air Officer Commanding No 24 (Training) Group, and Controller of Engineering and Equipment, rising to Air Marshal. Jones was appointed AFC (1939), CB (1944), and KBE (1953).

Sir Albert Henry Self

Title page, lower center

(1890-1975) Albert Henry Self was a British civil servant. Before and during the Second World War he arranged purchase of American aircraft to fulfill Royal Air Force needs, serving as Director General of the British Air Commission. After the Second World War he held the post of Deputy Chairman in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Perhaps most notably, Sir Henry Self played a significant role in development of the ubiquitous, essential, and iconic P-51 Mustang fighter. With the outbreak of war in 1939, the British established a purchasing commission to acquire American-produced aircraft. Self initially sought out North America to produce the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. It proved more workable to achieve design and production of a superior fighter than to transition North American’s assembly lines to the P-40. This swiftly resulted in production of the P-51 Mustang. The first production aircraft flew in May 1941 and the Mustang made its combat debut in Britain in May 1942. After the war, Henry became Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Self was appointed KCB (1939) and KBE (1947).

Colonel Sir Edmund Vivian Gabriel


Title page lower left

(1875-1950) Edmund Vivian Gabriel was a descendant of Italian nobility, British civil servant, courtier, and art collector who played noteworthy roles in both the First and Second World Wars. Gabriel served in the Indian Civil and Political Services before being assigned to the Imperial General Staff in London during the First World War, where he was closely associated with Kitchener. He subsequently joined the British Military Mission with the Italian Royal Army, as the head of the intelligence section, and later served as liaison officer to the naval forces in the Aegean. In 1917 he was deployed to Cairo and assigned to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. On 11 December he entered Jerusalem with General Edmund Allenby and was appointed financial advisor and assistant administrator of Palestine but in 1919 was allegedly asked to resign for pro-Arab sympathies. After the war he moved to Britain and maintained his services with the Territorial Army, reaching the rank of colonel. In 1925 he was appointed to King George V’s household as a Gentleman Usher in Ordinary, a title he maintained until his death. During the Second World War, Gabriel was a member of the British Air Commission to the United States of America. Gabriel’s British honors include CSI, CMG, CVO, CBE, and VD. Gabriel was knighted by King George VI in 1937. He was appointed by King Victor Emmanuel III Officer, Order of the Crown of Italy, and Officer, Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. He also was a Knight of Justice of the Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.