2005 Churchill Covers

 Covers created by Todd Ronnei during 2005 include anniversary covers and first day covers with a Churchill theme.

Death of Churchill

Death 40 Throughout the 1960s, Churchill became increasing frail. On January 10, 1965, 90-year-old Winston Churchill suffered a massive stroke. A few days later his condition was made public, and the worldwide vigil began. Death finally came shortly after 8:00 in the morning on Sunday, January 24, 1965 (the 70th anniversary of his father's death in 1895).

This cover marks the 40th anniversary of Churchill's passing with a St. Paul's, London postmark.

An "enhanced" version of the above cover, with a complete set of the Churchill Centenary stamps and a Churchill pictorial postmark created for the 40th death anniversary.
Death #2

"Let Us Go Forward Together" 

Forward In his first speech as Prime Minister on May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill famously told the House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." The peroration of the speech contained this passage: "But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, 'come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.'" British propagandists seized upon "go forward" phrase and turned it into a rallying cry by way of a morale-boosting poster.

That poster is reproduced as the cachet for this cover, to accompany the Woodstock, Oxford postmark of January 27, 2005 containing the phrase. The purpose of the postmark was publicize new Machin stamp booklets that contained advertising. Why the postmark's sponsor thought that had anything to do with Churchill remains a mystery.

Channel Islands Liberation

Guernsey issued a series of stamps for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands from German occupation. The high value of set is a £1.50 stamp of Winston Churchill displaying his famous V-for-Victory sign. The special Churchill first day postmark on this cover is one not made generally available to the public.

Churchill Retires as PM 

Churchill Retires When Churchill first became Prime Minister in 1940 his task was to win the war. When Churchill's second stint as Prime Minister began in late 1951, his goal was to win the peace. Throughout his second term of office Churchill repeatedly pushed for a "summit meeting" of the former WWII allies. A meeting with the Soviets, Churchill felt, could go a long way towards easing the escalating Cold War tensions. But Stalin died in early 1953, and President Eisenhower was unenthusiastic about Churchill's summit notion. What's more, Churchill suffered health setbacks, including a stroke that sidelined him for many months in 1953. By early 1955, the 80-year-old Churchill was ready to concede that Anthony Eden should finally succeed him as Prime Minister. On the evening of April 4, Churchill hosted a farewell dinner at Number 10, and the next day he went to Buckingham Palace and tendered his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, effective the following day.

This cover marks the 50th anniversary of Churchill's resignation, postmarked Buckingham Palace, London on April 5, 2005.

Death of Roosevelt

As World War II neared its climax, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's health rapidly deteriorated. Everyone close to him knew he was fading, but his sudden death on April 12, 1945 was still a shock. Churchill later wrote, "When I received these tidings early in the morning of Friday, the 13th, I felt as if I had been struck by a physical blow. My relationship with this shining personality had played so large a part in the long, terrible years we had worked together. Now they had come to an end, and I was overpowered by a sense of deep and irreparable loss."

This cover marks the 60th anniversary of Roosevelt's death with a pictorial postmark from FDR's home, Hyde Park, NY. The cachet photo is of Churchill standing over Roosevelt's grave in March 1946, when Churchill was in the United States to deliver the "Iron Curtain" speech.
FDR death

Blenheim Palace, World Heritage Site

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Blenheim Palace was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. Blenheim was a gift from the Crown to John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, for his victory over French and Bavarian forces in the decisive Battle of Blenheim in 1704. 2005 marks the 300th anniversary of the start of Blenheim's construction. Winston Churchill, born at the Palace in 1874, loved his ancestral home and was a frequent visitor.

Britain and Australia jointly issued a set of World Heritage Site stamps on April 21, 2005, and this first day cover for the Blenheim stamp has a special Blenheim Palace postmark.

VE Day

The war in Europe ended on May 7, 1945, and the next day was proclaimed 'Victory in Europe'--VE--Day. Churchill addressed the nation by radio from the Cabinet Room at Number 10 and said, "The German war is therefore at an end." After paying tribute to the Allies, Churchill tempered his remarks: "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued."

This cover marks the 60th anniversary of VE Day, with a St. Paul's, London pictorial postmark. The cachet features a photo of Churchill taken moments before his radio address.
VE #1

VE #2
My second VE Day cover, with a Whitehall, London pictorial postmark.

My third VE Day cover, with a Dover, Kent pictorial postmark.
VE #3

Churchill Memorial Stamp

Scores of nations issued memorial stamps after Churchill's death in January 1965. One of the first to do so was the United States, which issued a stamp less than four months after Sir Winston's death (and beat Great Britain to the punch; its memorial stamps would not appear until July). Like so many others, the U.S. stamp was based on Yousuf Karsh's legendary "Angry Lion" portrait. The stamp was designed by Richard Hurd, lettered by Sam Marsh, engraved by Charles A. Brooks, and printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in a quantity of 125,180,000. The stamp had its first day of issue at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill delivered the "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946. The May 13 issue date was the 25th anniversary of Churchill's "blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech. 773,580 first day covers were serviced.

This cover marks the 40th anniversary of the issuance of stamp, postmarked in Fulton on May 13, 2005.

The Lady Soames LG

In April 2005 Queen Elizabeth II selected Winston Churchill's daughter Mary, The Lady Soames, to receive The Most Noble Order of the Garter. In doing so, Churchill and his daughter became the only non-royal father and daughter in history to receive the Order. The Order of the Garter is the oldest and highest British order of chivalry, and its recipients are chosen personally by the Sovereign to honor those who have held public office, who have served the Sovereign personally or who have contributed in a particular way to national life. The installation ceremony was held on June 13, 2005.

This cover marks the date of installation with a Buckingham Palace, London postmark.

End of World War II Celebration

The United Kingdom formally commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II on July 10, 2005 (approximately midway between VE Day and VJ Day). As a prelude to the day of national remembrance, Royal Mail issued on July 5 a souvenir sheet consisting of 6 stamps; five Machin definitives arranged in a 'V' shape, and a new first class version of a 1995 Victory stamp. Numerous postmarks were made available, and although no postmark actually depicts Churchill, the one most Churchill-like appears on this cover.

Churchill's First Government Post

When the Liberals came to power in late 1905, 31-year-old MP Winston Churchill (a Liberal for just 18 months) looked to advance. Joining the Cabinet was not in the cards, but junior office was made available to him. On December 9, new Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman summoned Churchill and offered him the highest junior office, Financial Secretaryship to the Treasury. Churchill declined the post, asking instead to be Under-Secretary for the Colonies. His request was granted. Churchill reasoned, correctly, that the Colonies post would give him a greater voice and visibility because Colonial Secretary Lord Elgin, being a peer, could not sit in the House of Commons.

This cover marks the 100th anniversary of Churchill's appointment. The cachet reproduces a political cartoon of the era, with Churchill riding the Colonial Office horse, while Lord Elgin trails behind on foot. The cartoon is titled "An Elgin Marble," a clever reference to Lord Elgin's ancestor who brought the Parthenon Marbles to Britain in 1806.

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 some of the stamps used in these covers.

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