Churchill's whereabouts

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by snailer, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Hello,
    Are there any diaries eg his desk diaries or appointments that can pinpoint Churchill's whereabouts during the war.
    I'm trying to find out where he was around the 20th to the 27th September 1942.
    In his book "Lonesome Road", George Harsh, (convicted of murder in 1928, sentenced to hard labour on a Georgia chain gang, pardoned in 1940 after saving the life of a fellow prisoner, joined the RCAF, shot down in 1942 and became the security officer for the Great Escape committee at Stalag Luft III), claims to have been briefed by Churchill prior to a raid on the submarine pens at Flensburg on 23rd Sept 1942 whilst with 102 Squadron at Pocklington. The Squadron Orbs and the Station Orbs make no mention of a visit by Churchill nor are there any photo's or accounts by other airmen there at the time to suggest he ever visited. There are however locals who remember seeing Churchill in the area but unfortunately cannot recall exactly when they saw him, it is known that one of Churchill's relatives had a stately home in the area and he is thought to have visited him from time to time
    Having explored all the official history at the Pocklington end and coming up with nothing I wondered if there is anything in any Churchill history that might place him in the area around that time.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    From reports in The Times, Churchill seems to have been incommunicado after his appearance in the House of Commons on September 11th 1942, when he made a statement on India. Mrs Churchill fulfilled some engagements alone on the 21st in London and the 28th in Manchester, but the next definite sighting of the PM is on the 29th, again in the Commons.
     
  3. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Thanks for that Vitesse, at least it doesn't place him at a definite place between those dates, i.e. a conference in another country, which is helpful.
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Had a shuft in Alanbrooke's diaries:

    20th september AB met him at catterick aerodrome. Possibly lunching with him in Richmond that evening.

    23rd - AB summoned to speak/argue, but doesn't say where. As AB is doing COS stuff at the time, the implication is perhaps Whitehall.

    24th - More arguing with AB, does indeed appear to be in London.

    25th - As above, but with Eden present - yes, London - AB mentions St. James's Park & the Carlton.

    Doesn't mean the PM wasn't elsewhere, obviously, busy man, but seems to have been doing the Whitehall grind rather than any of his more active travelling.
     
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    Alanbrooke's diary perhaps gives some clues. On 16th September 1942, he states; "PM sent for me to 10 Downing Street."

    Alanbrooke was grouse shooting in Yorkshire on 19th September 1942 and mentions that he was called to go to the nearest scrambler telephone (which was at Catterick aerodrome) to talk to the PM (but he doesn't say where he was). On 20th September, he called the PM from Catterick again.

    23rd September - "After lunch, PM sent for me..."

    24th September - "After lunch, ran a selection board and was then sent for by PM..."

    25th September - "Expected to be sent for during the morning by the PM, but it was not till after 4 pm that the call came"

    No mention of Churchill over the weekend of 26th / 27th September.

    28th September - "...Cabinet at 5.30, with PM in quite good form...

    Churchill's preoccupations at the time seem to have been Alexander in the Middle East and one of the Norway schemes that Alanbrooke frequently grumbles about.
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Great minds, Rich.
    Great Minds ;).
     
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    Great minds think alike (but some type more quickly !)

    I was looking at the Danchev / Todman edition. Does that explain the difference in emphasis ?
     
  8. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    A quick look at Churchill's own World War Two Vol IV shows he had recently retrurned from meeting Stalin and is busy communicating with the US President over that, as well as the planning for Operation Torch. His communications also show his concern on the situation in the Middle East and he even found time to tell the Minister of Food that the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of ice cream may not have been worthwhile and the step shouldn't have been taken without the Cabinet having an opportunity to express an opinion.


    Sadly for you however, I can find no reference to his physical whereabouts for that week.
     
  9. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    scrambler telephone
    Um, rereading snailer's original scenario, why not just that?
    Why assume they must have met face to face?

    :twocents:, Steve
     
  10. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Cheers Phil

    Rich and Von Poop thanks, can you clarify about the 20th? was Churchill with Allenbrooke at Catterick at some point or did they only converse by phone.

    Would anyone know if he was he likely to have popped into an airfield or wherever at short notice on his way back from other engagements or were they usually arranged weeks/months in advance? And the places he did visit was it always mentioned in the official diaries or Orbs of these places, I suppose I mean was there a policy of not mentioning it. I'm putting two and two together to make five but I'm thinking if he was in the Catterick/Richmond area, and travelling by rail he would have gone through York which is only a short distance from Pocklington.

    Steve, are you meaning Churchill briefing the airmen via scrambler phone? , never thought of that. Harsh does describe Churchill and says: He shuffled in, an unmistakeable figure wearing the ill-fitting uniform of an Air Commodore in the RAF.
    But that's not to say he didn't make that bit up though.
     
  11. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    As I read Alanbrooke, his shooting trip was a private one and he mentions in the notes which he added later that Churchill was frequently annoyed if he was out of contact. The 20th was definitely a phone conversation and if he'd been closer than London then it seems likely he'd have demanded that Alanbrooke visit in person.

    Alanbrooke had the habit of making multiple visits in a day (he had an aircraft at his disposal). I don't know if Churchill did.

    Have you thought about asking the Churchill Archives Centre ?

    Churchill College : Churchill Archives Centre: About Us
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The 20th was definitely a phone conversation
    Quite so - my mistake in scan-reading earlier.
     
  13. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Just to add to the info given by Adam:

    21 September Churchill held a staff conference at Chequers. Eisenhower and all Allied Chiefs of Staff present.
    22 September Churchill sent a letter to Stalin and a 'Most Secret' telegram to Roosevelt (Prime Minister's Personal Telegrams T.1242/2 Prime Minister to President No. 151. Cabinet papers 120/852 (i.e., nothing to indicate that he was absent from London).

    Source: Road to Victory Vol VII Churchill's biography by Martin Gilbert, pages 233-235.
     
  14. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Thanks for the link Rich, and Peter for the info, every little bit helps.
     
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I cannot think Churchill was present for any RAF preoperation briefing..he was far too busy for this.Would RAF security protocols allow an outsider to witness operation briefing for a raid even if he happens to to the PM.

    If it occurred there would be likely to be some evidence of photographs taken.When he visited Oakington on the occasion of the Stiring entering service with No 7 Squadron,it was reported that he paid the visit.Other visits come to mind such as the occasion when he was photographed brandishing a tommy gun.

    Just a small point,it is fact that No 4 Group raided Flensburg on the date stated but although the town was known to have a Kreigsmarine base/academy,it was not a submarine base.A short distance down the Baltic was the Kiel U Boat base which had a pen installation.

    It might be that Churchill's movements are for this period are recorded in the official files at the National Records.
     
  16. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I cannot think Churchill was present for any RAF preoperation briefing..he was far too busy for this.
    I fully agree.

    Would RAF security protocols allow an outsider to witness operation briefing for a raid even if he happens to to the PM.
    Churchill, an outsider? It would have been a bold man to have kept him away. Monty tried it once. :)
     
  17. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Thanks Harry, my thoughts would be that he would have been photographed too. Bomber Harris visited in May '43 and this is recorded on film and in photographs and I would have assumed Churchill would have got the same treatment.
     
  18. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    Just a small point,it is fact that No 4 Group raided Flensburg on the date stated but although the town was known to have a Kreigsmarine base/academy,it was not a submarine base.
    Not a base, but they did build them in the shipyards there. :)
     
  19. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Flensburg shipyard, Flensburger Schiffsbau was very small compared to the main German shipyards which produced the bulk of the U Boat fleet.Its output was less than 30 boats in a total of nearly 1200 boats turned out by German shipyards.

    Surprisingly,Flensburg survived the war with little damage and was never attacked by a large bomber force although being visited a number of times.A look at the film reels taken when the Donitz government was based at the Flensburg Kreigsmarine academy for 3 weeks in May 1945 supports this fact in that in all the frames there is no damage apparent to the infrastucture of the buildings.

    On this particular raid,there is no mention of a specific target other than "Flensburg" in the B.C diaries of Flensburg.I would think that the purpose of the raid in relation to the port area was to interfere with any shipbuilding activities taken place although the author refers to the target as "submarine pens".

    Flensburg was raided in August 1942 with the Pathfinder techique used for the first time but apparently unanticipated prevailing winds caused the target to be missed and Danish territory,north of Flensburg being bombed.Flensburg reported that the town was not hit.

    Passed through Flensburg a couple of times but did have the flexibility to stay and walk the town but I did pick up a bottle of Flensburger Bommerlunder.But that is another story.(For those interested there is a discount booze warehouse on the outskirts of the town and within the German border which seems to attract customers from across the Danish border.)
     
  20. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Steve, are you meaning Churchill briefing the airmen via scrambler phone? , never thought of that. Harsh does describe Churchill and says: He shuffled in, an unmistakeable figure wearing the ill-fitting uniform of an Air Commodore in the RAF.
    But that's not to say he didn't make that bit up though.
    Sorry to field that Q so late but essentially yes - among other possible alternatives to actually meeting such as (wildly brainstorming here) sealed orders or even film a la The Italian Job! ;) Not having read 'Lonesome Road' and thus unaware of anything suggesting WSC's actual presence, I was merely concerned that everyone seemed to be getting stuck into literally answering your question without realising its answer may be irrelevant - I'd hate to see you guys getting stuck in a rut after all ...

    Cheers, Steve
     

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