2007-2008 Churchill Covers

 Covers created by Todd Ronnei during 2007 and 2008 include anniversary covers and first day covers with a Churchill theme.

Ship of State

cover As Britain struggled alone against Hitler in 1940 and 1941, Winston Churchill continued to seek the aid and support of the United States by direct appeals to President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR did what he could within the restrictions imposed upon him by Congress and public opinion. Shortly after being re-elected to a third term as president, Roosevelt penned a note of encouragement to Churchill in his own hand. The note consists almost entirely of a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1850 poem, The Building of the Ship, which Roosevelt said "applies to you people as it does to us." Churchill was deeply moved, and responded publicly to FDR's note in his radio broadcast of February 9, 1941: "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."

This first day cover for the Longfellow bicentennial stamp, along with Roosevelt and Churchill stamps, was postmarked March 15, 2007.

Privy Councillor

His (or Her) Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the British Sovereign. Its members are largely senior politicians, who were or are members of either the House of Commons or House of Lords. Winston Churchill became a member of the Privy Council on May 1, 1907. His appointment, coming as it did even before he had achieved Cabinet rank, recognized his status as a rising star in British politics.

This cover marks the 100th anniversary of Churchill's appointment, with a period photograph of Churchill wearing the traditional garb of a Privy Councillor.


Port of Call

cover United States Navy Destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill visited the Port of Philadelphia in May 2007. She docked at Penn's Landing and was open to the public as part of Philadelphia Navy Week. 

Fleet Week

After Philadelphia, the Winston S. Churchill sailed on to New York and participated in the Navy's "Fleet Week" celebration, allowing New Yorkers to get an up-close look at some the Navy's finest warships.

In the Cabinet

cover When Britsh Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman resigned due to ill health on April 3, 1908, H.H. Asquith was next in line to be the King's first minister. On April 8, Asquith wrote secretly to Churchill, "With the King's approval, I have the great pleasure of offering you the post of President of the Board of Trade in the new Administration." Asquith also told Churchill that he intended to upgrade the Board of Trade post to Cabinet level on a permanent basis (which Parliament did the following year). The Cabinet was announced on April 12, making Churchill's appointment official.

Strangers in the Night

I take great delight in creating combination covers--first day covers for new stamps that also include older stamps that are in some way related to the new stamp. For the Frank Sinatra stamp issued in May 2008, I managed to find a Churchill connection. Stamps honoring both men were issued on May 13, forty-three years apart. Doing a little bit of digging I also discovered two other stamps with May 13 issue dates--1940 Famous Americans stamps for composers Victor Herbert and Edward A. MacDowell. All four stamps appear on this cover.

Karsh Centennial

coverYousuf Karsh (1908 – 2002) was a Canadian photographer of Armenian heritage, and one of the most famous and accomplished portrait photographers of all time.The story is often told of how Karsh created his famous portrait of Churchill during World War II. On December 30, 1941, Churchill had just addressed the Canadian Parliament and Karsh was there to record one of the century's great leaders. "He was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all that he would allow me as he passed from the House of Commons chamber to an anteroom," Karsh wrote in Faces of Our Time. Churchill marched into the room scowling, "regarding my camera as he might regard the German enemy." His expression suited Karsh perfectly, but the cigar stuck between his teeth seemed incompatible with such a solemn and formal occasion. "Instinctively, I removed the cigar. At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger." The image captured Churchill and the Britain of the time perfectly — defiant and unconquerable.

This first day cover features two of the three Karsh centennial stamps (a third stamp features Audrey Hepburn) as well as the 1965 Churchill memorial issue, which is also based on Karsh's portrait.


On the weekend Churchill became President of the Board of Trade he visited Blenheim Palace, home to his cousin the Duke of Marlborough, where he renewed his prior acquaintance with Miss Clementine Hozier. They wrote to each other regularly over the next few months, and both again visited Blenheim in August. In the late afternoon of Tuesday the 11th, Winston took Clementine for a walk. It began to rain and the couple took shelter in the ornamental Temple of Diana. There Churchill proposed to Clementine and was accepted. They agreed that nothing should be said until she had told her mother. But on the way back to the house they saw Churchill's friend F.E. Smith. Churchill danced across the grass, flung his arms around Smith's neck and blurted out the news.

This 100th anniversary cover features a Blenheim Palace stamp and an Oxford postmark.



cover Winston and Clementine wasted no time in tying the knot. Their marriage was arranged for September 12 at St. Margaret's Westminster, the parish church of the House of Commons. The bride wore a white ivory satin dress with flowing veil of soft white tulle, and carried a bouquet of white tube roses and a prayer book bound in white parchment. She was given away by her bother Bill and was attended by five bridesmaids. The reception was held at Lady St. Helier's house in Portland Place, and the newlyweds honeymooned at Blenheim Palace. Their marriage endured more than 56 years until Churchill's death in 1965.

This 100th anniversary cover has a Westminster, London postmark.

Armistice + 90

The Armistice that ended World War I was signed on November 11, 1918 and came into effect at 11 AM Paris time, for which reason the occasion is sometimes referred to as "the eleventh (hour) of the eleventh (day) of the eleventh (month)". In his history of the conflict, The World Crisis, Winston Churchill wondered whether the peace could endure. Sadly, Churchill's doubts would be proved true.

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