J Aaron Churchill Biography & Facts
Sir Winston Churchill died on 24 January 1965, aged 90. His was the first state funeral for a non-royal family member since Lord Carson in 1935, and as of 2021 it remains the most recent state funeral in the United Kingdom. The official funeral lasted for four days. Planning for the funeral, known as Operation Hope Not, began 12 years before Churchill's death. It was initiated after Churchill's stroke in 1953 while in his second term as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. After several revisions due to Churchill's continued survival and as "the pallbearers kept dying" (explained Lord Mountbatten), the plan was issued on 26 January 1965, two days after his death.By decree of Queen Elizabeth II, his body lay in state at Westminster Hall for three days from 26 January. On 30 January, the order of funeral was held at St Paul's Cathedral. From there the body was transported by water along the River Thames to Waterloo station, accompanied by military salutations. In the afternoon he was buried at St Martin's Churchyard at Bladon, the resting place of his ancestors and his brother. Attended by representatives from 120 countries, 6,000 people, and unusually by the Queen, more than 1,000 police and security personnel, involving nine military bands, 18 military battalions, 16 Royal Air Force English Electric Lightning fighter jets, a special boat MV Havengore and a train hauled by Winston Churchill, homage paid by 321,360 people, and witnessed by over 350 million people, it was the largest state funeral in history.
Background and funeral plan
Voted as the greatest Briton in a BBC poll in 2002, Sir Winston Churchill is remembered for leading his country (with the Allies) to victory as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. In June 1953, during his second term as Prime Minister, he had a severe stroke at a dinner party at Downing Street. Unknown to his guests, he collapsed and was left partially paralysed. The family kept the incident secret. Among the few who were informed of the news was Queen Elizabeth II, who had occupied the throne for just a year. She instructed The 16th Duke of Norfolk, who, as Earl Marshal, was in charge of state funerals, to make preparations in the event of Churchill's death that should be "on a scale befitting his position in history". A meticulous and confidential plan titled Operation Hope Not was prepared. Churchill survived the next 12 years, during which necessary modifications were frequently made. The final documents, titled State Funeral of the Late Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, K.G., O.M., C.H., were issued on 26 January 1965, two days after Churchill's death. The documents dictated the entire course of the funeral down to the minutest detail.
Churchill died in the morning of Sunday 24 January 1965 in his home at 28 Hyde Park Gate, London, exactly 70 years after the death of his father. Since 1949, he had suffered eight strokes. The last was on 15 January 1965, from which he never recovered. After the stroke, he was mostly in a coma; his last words were to his son-in-law Christopher Soames: "I'm so bored with it all." His physician Lord Moran first informed the Queen and the Prime Minister Harold Wilson of the death, and then made the announcement at 8:35 a.m. which was given to the press, saying, "Shortly after eight this morning, Sunday, Jan the 24th, Sir Winston Churchill died at his London home. [Signed] Moran." The BBC relayed the news of the death at 9:00 a.m. and continued playing Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven, the opening theme with three short notes and a long note that indicated the letter "V" in Morse code to symbolise Churchill's iconic wartime gesture, two fingers held aloft to show "V" for victory.
The Prime Minister announced:Sir Winston will be mourned all over the world by all who owe so much to him. He is now at peace after a life in which he created history and which will be remembered as long as history is read.On that day US President Lyndon B. Johnson issued an official statement, saying:WHEN THERE was darkness in the world, and hope was low in the hearts of men, a generous Providence gave us Winston Churchill.
As long as men tell of that time of terrible danger and of the men who won the victory, the name of Churchill will live...
He is History's child, and what he said and what he did will never die.The next day, members of the House of Commons paid tribute. In the meeting, the Prime Minister moved a motion that was a request from the Queen regarding the places for lying in state and funeral service, and was resolved as:That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty humbly to thank Her Majesty for having given directions for the body of the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., to lie in State in Westminster Hall and for the funeral service to be held in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul and assuring Her Majesty of our cordial aid and concurrence in these measures for expressing the affection and admiration in which the memory of this great man is held by this House and all Her Majesty's faithful subjects.
J. H. Kenyon Ltd, of Paddington, London, the funeral directors to the Royal Household since 1928, were tasked with preparing Churchill's remains for the funeral. Desmond Henley, the company's chief embalmer, went to Churchill's Hyde Park Gate home to oversee the process. Churchill's body was embalmed in the same room where he had died. When the process was completed, the remains were dressed in his silk pyjamas and dressing robe and placed back into his bed. Churchill would lie in repose in private at his home until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday evening when Kenyon's staff transported his remains to Westminster Hall for public viewing.
Lying in state
The funeral started on Tuesday 26 January 1965. By 8:30 p.m. police and security personnel had taken up their positions in what The Daily Telegraph reported as "the most extensive security operation of this sort ever undertaken in England." At 9:15 p.m. Churchill's body was transported from his London home to Westminster Hall for the lying in state. It was led by Cameron Cobbold, 1st Baron Cobbold, the Lord Chamberlain in the company of family members. He was placed on a catafalque before Lady Churchill and the Earl Marshall. At 9:00 p.m. the first watch was mounted in the hall by the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards. In the subsequent days the Royal Navy and five regiments of foot guards also took turns.The lying-in-state lasted from Wednesday 27 January to 6:00 a.m. on 30 January, during which Westminster Hall was kept open for 23 hours daily. An hour was reserved for cleaning. The queue was most times more than one mile long, and the waiting time was about three hours; 321,360 people came to pay their respects.
Order of service
The funeral service on Saturday 30 January began with the chiming of Big Ben at 9:45 a.m. The clock was muted for the rest of the day. Ninety cannon salutes were fired at Hyd.... Discover the J Aaron Churchill popular books. Find the top 100 most popular J Aaron Churchill books.