Item #007783 A 15 March 1952 typed, initialed memorandum on Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill's 10 Downing Street Stationery, black-bordered in mourning for the 6 February 1952 death of King George VI, to Churchill's core research and writing team regarding the final volume of his Second World War memoirs. Winston S. Churchill.

A 15 March 1952 typed, initialed memorandum on Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill's 10 Downing Street Stationery, black-bordered in mourning for the 6 February 1952 death of King George VI, to Churchill's core research and writing team regarding the final volume of his Second World War memoirs

10 Downing Street, London: 1952. Letter. This is a 15 March 1952 memorandum to key members of Churchill’s literary team – known as the “Syndicate”. At the time, Churchill was less than five months into his second and final premiership. He and his team were working to complete the sixth and final volume of his war memoirs. The memorandum is noteworthy in several respects. First, for contradicting Churchill’s false claim that his work on his memoirs was already done when he resumed the premiership. Second, for documenting the essential role played by his literary team during the final push to finish his war memoirs. And finally, for showing Churchill’s attentive engagement in his literary endeavors and their remunerative impact.

The memorandum is initialed by Churchill and typed on his “10, Downing Street” stationery, black-bordered in mourning for the death of King George VI the month prior. The memorandum is addressed to four individuals: “COMMODORE ALLEN”, GENERAL POWNALL”, MR. DEAKIN”, and “MR. KELLY”. At the bottom, Churchill inked “WSC” in red over the typed date “15.3.52.” In two paragraphs, the contents address the imperative of a looming deadline: “We must put in the best possible version by May 1. I shall not be able to read it again before May 1. Before there is any question of publication of course I shall have to read it through. The necessary reprints must be made in time for delivery on May 1. This does not mean that any unnecessary expense should be incurred in reprinting chapters which are good enough. How much has been reprinted and how much more will have to be reprinted?” A check mark beside Commodore Allen’s name indicates that this was his copy.

Condition is fine, a single circular hole punched at the upper left, the document housed in a removable, archival mylar sleeve within a rigid, crimson cloth folder.

Churchill’s literary “hands” were known as the “Syndicate”, Allen, Pownall, Deakin, and Kelly chief among them. In the years following the war, even as Churchill undertook the massive project of writing his war memoirs, he remained intent upon his political obligations and aspirations, which explains why he was “so reliant on his assistants, particularly Bill Deakin, Henry Pownall and Gordon Allen, to provide much of the diplomatic, military and naval background.” (Reynolds, p.498) Five out of six volumes were complete when, on 26 October 1951, the General Election returned Churchill’s Conservatives to parliamentary majority and Churchill himself to 10 Downing Street. Churchill would later claim that the text for the sixth and final volume was also substantially complete. “This claim was completely untrue.” The text was “a far cry from the version eventually published.” (Reynolds, p.429)

“In the first months of his premiership, Churchill had very little time for the book, leaving it to the Syndicate to complete a full revision of the volume during the winter of 1951-2. Known as the ‘First S Revise’, this was intended to meet Churchill’s contractual obligation to submit some kind of text by 1 May 1952 in order to trigger the first £35,000 of the extra payment arranged for volume six. As a result of the push for the May deadline and the fact that during the summer of 1952, Kelly reworked numerous chapters, trying to reduce the documents and tighten the prose”, Churchill “felt able to wind up the Syndicate (and stop paying Allen, Deakin and Pownall) at the end of October.” To express his appreciation, Churchill hosted the three for a dinner at 10 Downing Street on 27 October. (Reynolds, p.432)

Colonel George Roland Gordon Allen (1891-1980) was awarded the DSO and created CBE during his naval career, which included service in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War and, during the Second World War, as senior Naval Officer at Combined Operations Headquarters.

General Sir Henry Royds Pownall (1887-1961) was a British Army officer who saw active service in the First World War and, during the Second World War, held several command and staff positions, including Vice-Chief of the Imperial General Staff. He was knighted in 1945.

Frederick William Dampier “Bill” Deakin (1913-2005) was an Oxford fellow and lecturer who served as Churchill’s research assistant for three years preceding the Second World War, during which Deakin served with Special Operations, notably in Yugoslavia with Tito’s partisans, earning a DSO. Deakin later became the first Warden of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and was knighted in 1975.

Denis Kelly (1916-1990) served during the Second World War in the Indian Mountain Artillery in India and Burma. After the war Kelly joined Churchill’s literary team, first as an archivist, then as a literary assistant, and remained a vital part of Churchill’s literary team for the rest of Churchill’s productive life as an author. Item #007783

Price: $2,700.00

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