Finest Hour 100, Autumn 1998
Even though we have to sink to this level, we always have to keep pace with modern improvements,” FH quoted WSC in 1994, inquiring if readers might like a “Churchill Information Service” on the “Information Superhighway” (Internet). Today the Churchill Home Page is a massive resource, managed by John Plumpton and Beverly Carr, for researchers from Australia to Zimbabwe, who visit it by the thousands, and our largest source of new members. Accompanied by the email forum “Listserv Winston,” run by Jonah Triebwasser, it is our most significant new service in a decade. Look it up at www.winstonchurchill.org.
Anniversaries came thick and fast in these years: the Fiftieth Anniversary of VE-Day (FH 86) and the Fulton speech (FH 89); the Centenary of the Malakand Field Force (FH 97) and Battle of Omdurman (FH 99). FH 93 was devoted to Lord Randolph Churchill, refuting the old canard that he suffered from syphilis; FH 98was Lady Randolph’s, with six historical articles and recollections of playing “Jennie” by Lee Remick.
Gemstone articles continued apace. Lady Diana Cooper’s “Winston and Clementine” (FH 87) was unknown even to her son before we published it. Lady Moyne’s scrapbook, with photos of the Churchills on their 1934 journey to the Levant, was equally unknown. The British nation acquired the Churchill archives, and Martin Gilbert reflected on their incalculable value (FH 87). In the same issue, Michael Wardell recounted Churchill’s 1949 stroke and Andrew Roberts explained “Why Children Should Learn About Churchill.” Celia Sandys wrote about taking her children to Chartwell (FH 88). Professor Paul Alkon’s “Winston Churchill and the Scientific Imagination” studded FH 94, while Natalie Adams of the Churchill Archives Centre contributed her research on Lady Randolph as Winston’s political ally (FH 98). Jill Kendall tackled Churchill and Music (FH 96), Jeannette Gabriel the Egerton Cooper portraits. Sir Winston “contributed” “Omdurman: The Fallen Foe” (FH 85), “The Scaffolding of Rhetoric” (FH 94), and his maiden speech at Bath (FH 95).
In 1997 we finally had the opportunity to publish Karsh’s famous photos when Johnny Parker, athletic coach for the New England Patriots, met Karsh and made the request. Karsh photos now mark a series of articles aiming to have Churchill named “Personality of the Century” by Time magazine.
FH had now developed regular contributors. Ron Robbins wrote on John Reith of the BBC (FH 82), Brendan Bracken (FH 86), and Churchill’s Intellect (FH 97). Douglas Hall began a series on “Churchilliana” that may never end, he has sent us so much. Douglas also penned well-illustrated new articles on Chartwell (FH 90), Bletchley (FH 91), John Colville (FH 92), the RAF Memorial Flight (FH 96), and Owen Palmer’s restoration of the funeral launch Havengore (FH 97). To pack all this in, issues were now 48 pages, six times the size with 100 times the word count of FH 1.
In 1995 we reported a new entity, The Churchill Center, founded to promote the study of Winston Churchill’s life and times by people around the world. The Center has since sponsored three symposia: “Churchill as Peacemaker” (now a book), “Churchill in the Postwar Years” (FH 91), “Churchill’s Life of Marlborough” (FH 99); plus the Manard E. Pont Seminar at Stanford (FH 95), bringing North America’s best students together to deliver new insights after reading Churchill, many of them for the first time.
In 1995 over 600 people worldwide each put up $100 or more to launch an Endowment Campaign supported by donors of $10,000 or more: the “Churchill Center Associates.” That campaign continues, but FH 99 announced that it had exceeded $1,000,000.
Finest Hour has truly been a journey worth the taking for all who contribute to its success. To its readers, we owe a debt we can never repay: for your encouragement, enthusiasm, and generous loyalty. Whatever the future holds, FH seems destined to go on: the only publication in the world devoted wholly to Winston Churchill. Thank you for making it possible.