I attended Churchill’s funeral and still have clear memories of it. My mother’s cousin and her aunt came over from Paris to pay their last respects. Every Friday my mother would shop at Ridley Road market and the king of the market was a kind man called Major Alf F. He had an obvious toupee and I rather misinterpreted his kindness to us young boys. He gave me an Olympus camera to record the occasion. I can recall standing on the Mall. I used to watch a programme about Churchill called The Valiant Years that venerated the great man. The debunking came later.
One of the great things about Churchill is the variety of stories about him. There are some who have the same vignette that does the rounds and you laugh politely as if to show not having heard it several times already.
My favourite Churchill story is one that I have never heard others recount. Robin Maugham was told by his uncle Somerset that he was going to a house to meet the Greatest Englishman ever. The young Robin wondered around the country house and came a cross a large bedroom. On entering he saw Churchill tucked up in bed, smoking a cigar and working on his papers.
“Are you the Greatest Ever Englishman?” the young boy enquired.
“Yes I am ” came the reply, ” … now bugger off.”