London: Published by The Daily Telegraph, copyright Planet News Ltd., 3 July 1942. Photograph. This original wartime press photograph captures Prime Minster Winston Churchill accompanied by his youngest daughter, Mary, on the steps of 10 Downing Street on 2 July 1942 after his Government survived a No Confidence vote in the House of Commons. The gelatin silver print on heavy glossy photo paper measures 7.5 x 9.5 in (19.05 x 24.13 cm). Condition is very good. The paper is clear, crisp, and free of scratches, with minor edge wear to the corners. This press photo once belonged to the working archive of The Daily Telegraph and the verso bears their stamp dated “3 JUL 1942”, as well as the copyright stamp of Planet News Ltd., handwritten printing notation, and a fragment of an original typed caption, Only the right edge of the caption remains, the fragments of 12 lines reading “MOOD | CONFIDENCE. | h wound | he House | al ‘Vote | 25. | ister | rchill - | liary | heerful | 10 | e of”.
The Churchillian smiles in this image perhaps belie the seriousness of the day and state of the war. A majority vote of No Confidence in the House would have forced Churchill’s resignation. Fortunately for Churchill and for Britain, the strikingly poorly conceived No Confidence effort was every bit as poorly done as Churchill’s alleged prosecution of the war. It began with some of the opposition arguing that Churchill was overruling and interfering with the military command, while others argued that Churchill was not doing enough to overrule the bad judgement of military chiefs. To the suggestion that the Duke of Gloucester be made Commander-in-Chief, “The House roared with disrespectful laughter”. As the debate progressed, some of the opposition asserted that, even if a No Confidence motion directed against the conduct of the war were carried, it would “be a deplorable disaster if the Prime Minister had to go.” In the end, the House defeated the motion of No Confidence by a vote of 475 to 25.
It is interesting to note that “At Half past five that afternoon, Churchill was back at Downing Street, where he met with a young officer (the son of His secretary of State for India, Leo Amery) just returned from Cairo who encouraged Churchill to go to Egypt in order to raise the flagging morale of troops there. (Gilbert, Vol VII, pp.137-140) The next month, Churchill did just that, promoting both General Sir Harold Alexander and General Bernard Montgomery, who together brought victory in North Africa.
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 his 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.
During the first half of the twentieth century, photojournalism fundamentally changed the way the public interacted with current events. Newspapers assembled expansive archives, including physical copies of all photographs published or deemed useful for potential future use, their versos typically marked with ink stamps and notes providing provenance and captions. Today these photographs exist as repositories of historical memory, technological artifacts, and often striking pieces of vernacular art. Item #005294