2004 Churchill Covers

 Covers created by Todd Ronnei during 2004 include anniversary covers and first day covers with a Churchill theme.

Birth of Jennie Jerome

Jennie #1 Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston's mother, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1854. This cover marks the 150th anniversary of Jennie's birth, and depicts Jennie in her 20s. It features a Churchill Memorial stamp, a Franklin Pierce "Prexie" stamp (Pierce was president in 1854) and a Brooklyn Bridge Centennial stamp. (The bridge did not yet exist in 1854, but its icon-like status makes it a natural for any cover with a Brooklyn connection.) The Brooklyn NY postmark of January 9, 2004 completes the cover.

A more mature Jennie appears in the cachet of this cover.
Jennie #2

RMS Queen Mary First Day Cover

Queen Mary FDC
In celebration of the 2004 launch of the Queen Mary 2, Royal Mail issued a set of stamps featuring ocean liners. The original Queen Mary, launched in 1936, was the last of the great pre-war ships. During World War II the Queen Mary carried more than 765,000 military personnel and ferried Winston Churchill to conferences. In 1967 she became a floating hotel in Long Beach, California.
The cachet of this first day cover reproduces a 1936 cover of The Strand magazine, which contained Churchill's article about the then-new ship. The first day of issue postmark from Clydebank also features the majestic vessel.

Wilderness Years Begin

When the Conservative Party lost the General Election of 1929, Churchill surrendered his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer. It marked the beginning of what later became known as Churchill's "Wilderness Years," a decade-long period during which Churchill did not serve in a Cabinet-level position. Being excluded from government affairs was frustrating to Churchill, but it also meant he was was not tainted by the failure of appeasement when war with Germany finally came in 1939. In September 1939 he returned to office as First Lord of the Admiralty, and eight months later he was Prime Minister.

This cover marks the 75th anniversary of 1929 election, postmarked in London on May 30, 2004. The 1974 Churchill Centenary stamp franking the cover shows Winston in the 1920s.
Wilderness Years

Crossing the Aisle Centennial

WSC as Liberal When Churchill was elected to the House of Commons in 1900 it was as a member of his father's Conservative Party. The Conservative Party, with its protectionist trade policies, didn't suit the rebellious Churchill very long, and he became gradually estranged from the Tories. On May 31, 1904, Churchill signaled the end of his affiliation with the Conservatives by entering the House and taking his seat among the Liberal benches. His ascendancy in the circles of power was soon underway, as the Liberals gained a majority in the House the following year. Churchill would remain a Liberal until the early 1920s.

This cover marks the 100th anniversary of Churchill's party switch, postmarked in London on May 31, 2004.

D-Day Anniversary

This cover marking the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe features Churchill's words to the House of Commons on June 6, 1944. It is franked with a 1994 D-Day stamp and a 1974 Churchill Centenary stamp, and received a special D-Day anniversary postmark from Portsmouth. (I also prepared companion covers from the U.S. and Canada.)
D-Day cover

Knighthood Installation

Garter installation Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in April 1953 (see the 2003 page for that cover). His formal installation as a Knight of the Garter took place more than a year later, at a ceremony at Windsor Castle. The cachet features a photo of Churchill taken on the day of his installation, and was postmarked at Windsor on June 14, 2004, the 50th anniversary of the ceremony.

Last Visit to Commons

After retiring as Prime Minister in 1955, Churchill remained an MP, winning re-election as member for Woodford in 1959. Age and increasing infirmities, however, limited his attendance at the House of Commons during the 1960s, and in 1964 Churchill reluctantly decided not to run again for re-election. His final visit to the House was on July 27, 1964, during which the House considered a resolution expressing its gratitude to Sir Winston for his more than 60 years of service.

This cover was postmarked in London on July 27, 2004 with a special "Rule Britannia!" postmark in use for just that day.
Final visit to Commons

Battle of Blenheim

Battle of Blenheim The Battle of Blenheim was fought on Aug. 13, 1704, at the village of Blenheim, near Höchstädt, Bavaria. Responding to appeals from Vienna, which was threatened by French and Bavarian forces, the English commander, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, marched his army from the Netherlands to Bavaria and joined forces with the Austrian general, Prince Eugene of Savoy. At Blenheim their combined army overwhelmed the Franco-Bavarian forces. For the first time in two generations the French suffered a crushing defeat, and the results were immediate and far-reaching. Bavaria was conquered and Vienna saved. The territorial ambitions of Louis XIV beyond the Rhine were checked, and France was placed on the defensive.

This cover marks the 300th anniversary of the great battle, postmarked on the anniversary date in Oxford, near Marlborough's Blenheim Palace. Many consider Marlborough, His Life and Times to be Churchill's finest literary work.

Battle of Britain

During a lengthy speech in the House of Commons on August 20, 1940, Prime Minister Churchill paid tribute "to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Battle of Britain Day 2004 saw the use of this special postmark "remembering the few."
Remembering the Few

Churchill Visits Hearst Castle

Hearst #1 After a 28 year absence, Churchill returned to North America in 1929. Among the many noteworthy individuals with whom Churchill spent time was controversial publisher William Randolph Hearst. Churchill and his party were Hearst's guests at his opulent estate at San Simeon, California, known today simply as Hearst Castle. This Hearst Castle postal card, with a Churchill stamp and a Freedom of the Press stamp, was postmarked at San Simeon on the 75th anniversary of Churchill's visit.

Another Hearst Castle cover, this one with a Churchill stamp and a California stamp issued for the 150th anniversary of statehood in 2000.
Hearst #2

Hearst #3 Yet another Hearst Castle cover. Churchill wrote to his wife: "Hearst was most interesting to meet, & I got to like him - a grave simple child - with no doubt a nasty temper - playing with the most costly toys. A vast income always overspent: Ceaseless building & collecting not v[er]y discriminatingly works of art: two magnificent establishments, two charming wives; complete indifference to public opinion, a strong liberal & democratic outlook, a 15 million daily circulation, oriental hospitalities, extreme personal courtesy (to us at any rate) & the appearance of a Quaker elder - or perhaps better Mormon elder."

Churchill Meets Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin #1 Another luminary with whom Churchill associated was actor/director Charlie Chaplin. On the evening of Friday, September 20, 1929, Churchill and his entourage attended a lavish dinner party with Chaplin and other Hollywood stars, including Pola Negri, Harold Lloyd, Billie Dove, Bebe Daniels, and Wallace Beery, among others.

Churchill, in a letter to his wife, discusses Chaplin: "We made g[rea]t friends with Charlie Chaplin. You c[oul]d not help liking him. The boys were fascinated by him. He is a marvellous comedian - bolshy in politics - delightful in conversation. He acted his new film [City Lights] for us in a wonderful way. It is to be his g[rea]t attempt to prove that the silent drama or pantomime is superior to the new talkies. Certainly if pathos & wit still count for anything it is out to win an easy victory."

This cover features a different Chaplin stamp, with a caricature by the famous Al Hirschfeld. Another cover with a different combination of stamps is
Chaplin #2

Churchill on Wall Street

Crash #1 Winston Churchill had the fateful distinction of being at the center of many of history's most important events. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Churchill was on Wall Street during the Crash of 1929. Black Thursday was October 24, and the next day Churchill was walking down Wall Street: "A perfect stranger who recognized me invited me to enter the [stock exchange] gallery. I expected to see pandemonium; but the spectacle that met my eyes was one of surprising calm and orderliness . . ." Traders were "offering each other enormous blocks of securities at a third of their old prices and half their present value . . . finding no one strong enough to pick up the sure fortunes they were compelled to offer."

Churchill also witnessed the tragic consequences of the Crash. "Under my very window a gentleman cast himself down fifteen storeys and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade. Quite a number of persons seem to have overbalanced themselves by accident in the same sort of way."

This cover features a Churchill stamp, a Herbert Hoover stamp, and a New York Stock Exchange bicentennial stamp.

Crash #2

Churchill's Last Birthday

Churchill 90 Sir Winston's final birthday celebration in 1964 saw him become a nonagenerian. Churchill, quite frail by this time, celebrated at his London home with family. As his daughter Mary later wrote, "The house glowed with candlelight and flowers, and we were united yet one more time in drinking first to Winston's health and then Clementine's. But this birthday evening had for us all a poignant quality--he was so fragile now, often so remote. And although he beamed at us as we all gathered round him, and one felt he was glad to have us there--in our hearts we knew the end could not be far off."

On the evenings of November 29 and 30, crowds gathered in front of the Churchill residence to sing 'Happy Birthday.' Sir Winston came to the window each night and greeted the crowds, flashing his trademark V-sign.

Acknowledgments: My thanks to Ian Billings of Norfolk, England, who continues to do a great job in servicing all my British covers, and to Richard H. Knight, Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee, who supplied many of the stamps used in these covers.