An original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill and Clementine Churchill on the beach at Hendaye, France in July 1945, during General Election polling and just before the final Big Three conference of WWII, enjoying their first days of rest since the start of the war
An original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill and Clementine Churchill on the beach at Hendaye, France in July 1945, during General Election polling and just before the final Big Three conference of WWII, enjoying their first days of rest since the start of the war

An original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill and Clementine Churchill on the beach at Hendaye, France in July 1945, during General Election polling and just before the final Big Three conference of WWII, enjoying their first days of rest since the start of the war

London: Copyright The Press Association Ltd., published by The Daily Telegraph, 13 December 1977. Photograph. This original press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and Clementine Churchill on a French beach, Victory in Europe having been secured and the results of the General Election that would remove him from office yet to be made known. This is a later printing of a photograph from 1945. The gelatin silver print on glossy photo paper measures 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Condition is good plus. There is some wear to the photograph’s edges, creases to the upper left and lower right corners, and some scuffing to the photo’s surface. This photograph was once a part of the archive of The Daily Telegraph, whose art department painted crop markings and printing notations on the photo’s surface. The verso bears a copyright stamp of “The Press Association Ltd.”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated 13 DEC 1977, a used stamp dated 6 SEP 1992, a clipping of the caption as it appeared in print, and a typed caption titled, “LADY SPENCER-CHURCHILL AS WIFE AND WIDOW”, and reading, “Mr and Mrs Winston Churchill pose for a photograph on beach before Big Three Conference near Biarritz, in July 1945.”

The General Election of July 1945 was Britain’s first since 1935. Churchill started campaigning with a 26 May visit to his Woodford constituency. Britain had celebrated VE day just eighteen days earlier. Churchill campaigned intensely until Polling Day on 5 July. As there was to be a three-week delay between the casting of the votes and the announcement of the result, Churchill and Clementine had the opportunity to take a holiday, their first break since Churchill became Prime Minister more than five years earlier. The Churchills spent ten days on the beaches of France near the Spanish border where the Prime Minister tried to relax despite the ballot boxes hanging over his head which “had an ugly trick of knocking on the door and peering in at the windows”. He distracted himself with his paints, for when “I had a paint-brush in my hand it was easy to drive these intruders away.” (WSC, WWII, Vol. 6, 531)

After their vacation Churchill had further matters of international import to attend to. Following Germany’s unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945, the three allied leaders, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the new U.S. President Harry Truman, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, agreed to a summer meeting to negotiate postwar reconstruction in Europe. The conference was held in Potsdam, in occupied Germany, from 17 July to 2 August 1945. Having done so much to win the war, Churchill faced frustration of his postwar plans when his wartime government fell to Labour in the General Election on 26 July 1945. Churchill was replaced as prime minister by Clement Attlee, who represented Britain for the rest of the conference. In view of the coming election, on 15 June Churchill had formally invited Attlee to the Conference: “His Majesty’s Government must, of course, bear the responsibility for all decisions. But my idea was that you should come as a friend and counsellor, and help us on the subjects on which we have been so long agreed…”

This invitation turned out to be not only gracious, but practical. Churchill was gracious once again in his 26 July statement from 10 Downing Street: “It only remains for me to express to the British people, for whom I have acted in these perilous years, my profound gratitude for the unflinching, unswerving support which they have given me during my task, and of the many expressions of kindness which they have shown towards their servant.” This defeat, however, did not mean retirement and more time on the beach. Churchill became Leader of the Opposition for more than six years until the October 1951 General Election, when Churchill’s Conservatives outpaced Labour, returning Churchill to 10 Downing Street for his second and final premiership. His final retirement would not come until he resigned on 5 April 1955. Item #005235

Price: $120.00

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