The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (64 page)

BOOK: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
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C
HAPTER 90:
G
LOOM

“I have taken the decision”
:
Beaverbrook to Churchill, April 30, 1941, BBK/D, Beaverbrook Papers.

“anxious to see the war”
:
Panter-Downes,
London War Notes,
147.

“The hammering must”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:452.

“Personally I am not downcast”
:
Kimball,
Churchill and Roosevelt,
180.

“It seems to me”
:
Gilbert,
War Papers,
3:592.

“We must not be too sure”
:
Ibid., 600.

It was true that the destroyers
:
In the end, the record of the fifty destroyers that Roosevelt gave to Britain was a mixed one. At least twelve collided with Allied ships, five of them American. The Royal Canadian Navy received two of the destroyers and in April 1944 tried to give them back. The U.S. Navy declined.

But the ships did their part. Their crews rescued a thousand sailors. One, the
Churchill,
named for an ancestor of the prime minister, provided escort service for fourteen convoys in 1941 alone. The destroyers brought down aircraft, sank at least six submarines, and helped capture one U-boat intact, which the Royal Navy then commissioned into its own fleet.

As the war progressed, the American destroyers fell out of service. A dozen served as targets to train pilots in maritime warfare. Eight, including the
Churchill,
were transferred to the Russians, along with a ninth, to be scavenged for spare parts.

On January 16, 1945, the
Churchill,
rechristened
Dejatelnyj
—in English,
Active
—was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat while escorting a convoy through Russia’s White Sea. The ship’s captain and 116 members of the crew were lost; 7 survived.

For the best account of all this, see Philip Goodhart’s
Fifty Ships That Saved the World
. The title is hyperbolic, but the story is a good one.

“Mr. President,” Churchill wrote
:
Gilbert,
War Papers,
3:600.

“a world in which Hitler dominated”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:453.

C
HAPTER 91:
E
RIC

“The cold is incredible”
:
Nicolson,
War Years,
165.

“It has a good psychological effect”
:
“World War II Diary,” 56, Meiklejohn Papers.

“Everything is very late”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:454.

“How is it that”
:
Gilbert,
War Papers,
3:596.

“He dictates messages”
:
Fred Taylor,
Goebbels Diaries,
346.

“It was obvious”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:454.

C
HAPTER 93:
O
F
P
ANZERS AND
P
ANSIES

“There is much that I would like”
:
Hansard,
House of Commons Debate, May 6 and 7, 1941, vol. 371, cols. 704, 867–950.

“He sat down”
:
Channon,
“Chips,”
303.

“He hates criticism”
:
Kathleen Harriman to Mary Harriman Fisk, Feb. 10, 1942, Correspondence, W. Averell Harriman Papers.

“I feel very biteful”
:
Pottle,
Champion Redoubtable,
236.

“from the very first moment”
:
Nicolson,
War Years,
164.

“It was the sort of speech”
:
Hansard,
House of Commons Debate, May 6 and 7, 1941, vol. 371, cols. 704, 867–950.

“He thinks it of value”
:
Harriman to Roosevelt, May 7, 1941, Public Service, Chronological File, W. Averell Harriman Papers.

“He is violently opposed”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:483.

“My head is full of plans”
:
Ibid., 465.

“Pretty good”
:
Nicolson,
War Years,
164.

C
HAPTER 95:
M
OONRISE

“But no sign of weakness”
:
Fred Taylor,
Goebbels Diaries,
355.

“How good that a difficult week”
:
Ibid., 358.

“I was relieved”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:457. In his published diary, Colville omits the last two words of the sentence: “of him.” A minor thing, but interesting all the same.

P
ART SEVEN:
ONE YEAR TO THE DAY
C
HAPTER 96:
A
B
EAM
N
AMED
A
NTON

Late on Friday night
:
Richard Collier,
City That Would Not Die,
24–25, 26, 28.

“It has all happened”
:
Soames,
Daughter’s Tale,
194.

In a seeming paradox
:
Basil Collier,
Defense of the United Kingdom,
271.

“Good afternoon, sir”
:
Richard Collier,
City That Would Not Die,
44.

C
HAPTER 97:
I
NTERLOPER

The National Archives of the United Kingdom, one of the most civilized places on the planet, possesses vast holdings on the Hess saga, some opened to researchers only quite recently. These contain all the detail anyone could wish for, but here too, as with the Coventry story, the files will disappoint the conspiracy-minded among us. There was no conspiracy: Hess flew to England on a mad whim, without the intercession of British intelligence. I derived my account from the following:

  • FO 1093/10.

  • “The Capture of Rudolf Hess: Reports and Minutes,” WO 199/328.

  • WO 199/3288B. (Opened in 2016.)

  • AIR 16/1266. (Originally ordered closed until 2019, but opened sooner, by “Accelerated Opening.”)

  • “Duke of Hamilton: Allegations Concerning Rudolf Hess,” AIR 19/564.

  • “Studies in Broadcast Propaganda, No. 29, Rudolf Hess, BBC,” INF 1/912.

“supernatural forces”
:
Speer,
Inside the Third Reich,
211; Stafford,
Flight from Reality,
168.

Hess packed for his trip
:
“Report on the Collection of Drugs, etc., Belonging to German Airman Prisoner, Captain Horn,” FO 1093/10, UKARCH. Horn was the code name temporarily assigned to Hess.

“With your whole
Geschwader

:
Toliver and Constable,
Fighter General,
148–49; Galland,
The First and the Last,
56; Stafford,
Flight from Reality,
135.

At 10:10
P
.
M
. that Saturday
:
Report, “Rudolf Hess, Flight on May 10, 1941, Raid 42.J,” May 18, 1941, AIR 16/1266, UKARCH.

The plane was next spotted
:
Ibid.; Note, “Raid 42J,” Scottish Area Commandant to Commandant Royal Observer Corps, Bentley Priory, May 13, 1941, AIR 16/1266, UKARCH.

“hoots of derision”
:
“Prologue: May 10, 1941,” Extract, AIR 16/1266, UKARCH. This is a lucid, detailed, dispassionate account by the author Derek Wood; a copy is lodged in the Air Ministry’s files.

C
HAPTER 98:
T
HE
C
RUELEST
R
AID

“I was in bed”
:
Richard Collier,
City That Would Not Die,
157.

In Regent’s Park
:
Ibid., 159–60; Ziegler,
London at War,
161.

Hess remembered the advice
:
Stafford,
Flight from Reality,
133.

“All of a sudden”
:
“World War II Diary,” 33, Meiklejohn Papers.

Just after eleven
P
.
M
.
:
Report, “Rudolf Hess, Flight on May 10, 1941, Raid 42.J,” May 18, 1941, AIR 16/1266, UKARCH. In the same file, see “Raid 42J—10/5/1941,” No. 34 Group Centre Observer Corps to Royal Observer Corps, Bentley Priory, May 13, 1941; and “Prologue: May 10, 1941,” Extract. See also “The Capture of Rudolf Hess: Reports and Minutes,” WO 199/328, UKARCH.

“If they cannot catch”
:
“Prologue: May 10, 1941,” Extract, AIR 16/1266.

“No guns, bomb-racks”
:
Report, Major Graham Donald to Scottish Area Commandant, Royal Observer Corps, May 11, 1941, AIR 16/1266, UKARCH. Also, “Prologue: May 10, 1941,” Extract, AIR 16/1266.

“He simply stated”
:
Report, Major Graham Donald to Scottish Area Commandant, Royal Observer Corps, May 11, 1941, AIR 16/1266, UKARCH.

“I do not know if you recognize”
:
Stafford,
Flight from Reality,
90.

“About five
AM
I took”
:
“World War II Diary,” 35, Meiklejohn Papers.

C
HAPTER 99:
A
S
URPRISE FOR
H
ITLER

“Awoke thinking unaccountably”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:457; Fox, “Propaganda and the Flight of Rudolf Hess,” 78.

“Hold on a minute”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:459.

“I became aware”
:
Diary, May 11, 1941, Mary Churchill Papers.

“At that moment”
:
Colville,
Fringes of Power,
1:459.

“Well,
who
has arrived?”
:
Colville,
Footprints in Time,
112.

They gave Hitler Hess’s letter
:
Speer,
Inside the Third Reich,
209.

“My
Führer,

it began
:
Douglas-Hamilton,
Motive for a Mission,
193, 194.

“I suddenly heard”
:
Speer,
Inside the Third Reich,
209, 210.

“BOMBSHELL,” Mary wrote
:
Diary, May 11, 1941, Mary Churchill Papers.

C
HAPTER 100:
B
LOOD,
S
WEAT, AND
T
EARS

“I keep thinking”
:
Feigel,
Love-Charm of Bombs,
151–57.

“Our old House of Commons”
:
Winston S. Churchill,
Memories and Adventures,
19. The Foreign Office undersecretary, Alexander Cadogan, had a different view: “I don’t care about that. I wish it had got most of the Members.” Cadogan,
Diaries,
377.

“I drew back the curtains”
:
Harrisson,
Living Through the Blitz,
275.

“It may be that they”
:
Nicolson,
War Years,
172.

The change was immediately evident
:
“Statement of Civilian Deaths in the United Kingdom,” July 31, 1945, HO 191/11, UKARCH.

“The spirit of the people”
:
Harrisson,
Living Through the Blitz,
274.

“History knows a great many”
:
Boelcke,
Secret Conferences of Dr. Goebbels,
162, 165.

“How am I supposed to believe”
:
Stafford,
Flight from Reality,
131.

“From this distance”
:
Roosevelt to Churchill, [likely date is May 14, 1941], FDR/Map.

“Your Hess guess”
:
Panter-Downes,
London War Notes,
148.

“What a dramatic episode”
:
Lee,
London Observer,
276.

“It is possible that the people”
:
Wheeler-Bennett,
Action This Day,
174–75.

“Only he had the power”
:
Ibid., 236.

“Winston’s speeches send”
:
Toye,
Roar of the Lion,
8.

“I never gave them courage”
:
Cooper,
Trumpets from the Steep,
73.

BOOK: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
10.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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