London: British Official Photograph, issued by Photographic News Agencies, Ltd., published by The Daily Telegraph, 21 September 1943. Photograph. This original press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill on 16 September 1943 on board the HMS Renown for his return trip from the first Quebec Conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Churchill is shown wearing ear protection during the gunnery practice performed to mark his daughter, Mary Churchill’s, twenty-first birthday. The gelatin silver print on matte photo paper measures 6 x 8.125 inches (15.2 x 20.6 cm). A paper caption affixed to the verso extends an additional 0.5 inch below the lower edge. Condition is very good minus. The paper is crisp with only light edge wear and pin holes to the four corners contained within the generous margins, and light cockling.
This press photo was once a part of the working archives of The Daily Telegraph and bears their Art Department’s original crop markings. The verso bears a copyright stamp reading “British Official Photograph No.___ Issued by Photographic News Agencies, Ltd.”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated 21 SEP 1943, and handwritten printing notations. The caption on the image’s recto reads, “MR. CHURCHILL, WEARING LEATHER EAR-GUARDS, WATCHES GUNNERY PRACTICE DURING HIS HOMEWARD VOYAGE IN H.M.S. RENOWN.”
Churchill’s first Quebec conference with Roosevelt in August 1943 was code-named “Quadrant”. Churchill was accompanied by his wife, daughter Mary, and a “formidable team” of two hundred, most of whom set sail aboard the Queen Mary in the afternoon of 5 August. (Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and Minister of Information Brendan Bracken arrived later via plane.) En route, Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff discussed every aspect of the war, including the twice-postponed and much awaited cross-Channel invasion, “Overlord”. “It was Churchill’s first opportunity… to learn from his advisers the full details of the ‘Overlord’ plan…” (Gilbert, VII, p.462) Reaching the port of Halifax in the afternoon of 9 August, Churchill travelled by train to Quebec, which he reached on the evening of 10 August.
While in Quebec, Churchill and Roosevelt both lived at the Citadel, the summer residence of the Governor-General, the upstairs floor of which was prepared for Roosevelt “with ramps fitted wherever necessary for his wheelchair.” (Gilbert, Vol. VII, p.468) Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s discussions at both Hyde Park, President Roosevelt’s home on the Hudson River (12-14 August) and in Quebec (17-24 August), included the recent overthrow of Mussolini and battle to subjugate Italy, command of the forthcoming cross-Channel invasion (Churchill conceded to FDR’s choice of Eisenhower, passing over Brooke, to whom command had already been promised), command in South-East Asia, sharing of information on development of the atomic bomb, and relations with Stalin. On 14 September 1943 Churchill boarded the HMS Renown in Halifax, Nova Scotia for his return to England. Churchill spent the five-day journey working on his return speech to Parliament and playing bezique and poker.
Mary Churchill celebrated her twenty-first birthday on board the ship on 15 September. Baroness Mary Soames, nee Mary Spencer-Churchill (1922-2014) was the youngest and longest-lived of Winston and Clementine's five children. She was raised at Chartwell. During the Second World War, Mary joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, serving in anti-aircraft batteries. Later in the war, Mary accompanied her father on several of his journeys abroad, including this journey to Quebec and the Potsdam summit with Truman and Stalin. She demobilized in 1946 and in February 1947 Winston walked Mary up the aisle when she married Arthur Christopher John Soames. The HMS Reknown’s Captain Edward Parry marked the occasion of Mary’s twenty-first birthday with the spectacle of gunnery practice the following day, which Churchill is here photographed watching with the requisite ear protection. The ship arrived safely in England on the 19th and Churchill returned to London by train the following day. Item #005019