He talked on "The River War". Note the high tech graphics in 2005. Muller, of the University of Alaska, was taking a family RV trip across the US. Our first President Gary Garrison (left) talked him into re-routing via Atlanta to address our chapter for its first formal meeting. Dr. Muller is currently the academic advisor for the International Churchill Society.
It was a British-themed luncheon at the Fisher home, complete with Stilton cheese, Whitbread Ale, and a Ploughman's lunch. Craig Horn from NC visited. Here Jim McGarvey looks at photos of Denis' Bristol Beaufighter night fighter.
Denis and Mary Payne became the first "members for life" of our chapter.
It was the first of our many "Battle of Britain Remembrance" events.
It would be the first of three visits by this Professor Emeritus from Rutgers University. He is one of the great experts on the Churchill-FDR relationship. HIs talk this evening was "Pearl Harbor to Yalta: Joined at the Hip". He compiled in three magnificent volumes all of the Churchill -FDR correspondence beginning with Churchill's letter of September 1939, as First Lord of the Admiralty.
John Ramsden is professor of modern history at Queen Mary in the University of London. From 1995-6, he was visiting professor of British history at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri; in 2000 he was a Winston Churchill Fellow in New Zealand, and in 2001 a Distinguished Academic Visitor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of the acclaimed, An Appetite for Power and the general editor of The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. He lives in Woodford Green, where Churchill was for forty years the Member of Parliament.
Jane Fraser's (center) French father-in-law General Raymond Gruss was military governor of Alsace. He once hosted Churchill when he addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The tales of Churchill as a house guest were most interesting. Jane hosted this meeting in her lovely home in Sea Island, GA for our members and some of her Sea Island Churchill admirers, It was our first "out of Atlanta" event, and quite mysteriously, an anonymous bottle of Pol Roger showed up.
The venue was the Atlanta History Center where nearly 30 educators from all over Georgia and East Tennessee assembled to hear why Churchill should be taught more in high schools. In the days of "No Child Left Behind" teachers told us they were only able to describe Churchill in two sentences: about being war leader and Prime Minister, that's all.
President Gary Garrison arranged this with the Churchill Centre then in Chicago.Professor Justin Lyons of Ohio University and Stephen F. Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute spoke.
The Oglethorpe University art museum was the venue for a reception and talk by Winston Churchill's granddaughter Celia Sandys. Here two of our WW2 veterans are chatting about their experiences.. We invited our English Speaking Union colleagues to this, our largest event to date.
Chapter President Bill Fisher looks out over the largest crowd we've ever had. Members of the Atlanta English Speaking Union were invited and they turned out in force.
It was a wonderful event with wine and hors d'oeuvres kindly provided by Board Member Dr. Manning Pattillo, former president of Oglethorpe, University.
Celia Sandys examines the first of what will turn out to be a chapter tradition: a framed rare photo of Churchill's visit to Atlanta in 1932.
"Churchill in Atlanta" tab tells full story.
The venue was Magliano's at Perimeter as Warren Kimball of Rutgers on their friendshi that he wrote about in his excellent book, "Forged in War". He is probably he worlds's foremost authority serving as an advisor to the FDR Library at Hyde Park and sites like the History Channel. Here he is with ourJack Shinneman and Josephine Holt.
Member Todd Van Beck worked in the mortuary industry and had access to sources in the UK. He gave a very detailed description of the planning and execution of what was called "Operation Hope Not". He discussed Churchill's selection of his own funeral music. He noted that the plan was frequently updated as Churchill outlived the pall bearers. The venue was the Dunwoody Tavern.
The venue was Cafe Lily in Decatur for our Birthday Dinner and the Norwich University professsor and author of "Warlord: Winston Churchill at War." was our speaker. Maria Richmond hosted a reception the evening before and Gail and Bill Fisher provided housing. Here he is at the Fishers inscribing books for our chapter, helped by Unix their cat..
He was a delightful person to have as a guest.
The venue was the Dunwoody Tavern and the topic was her NY Tiimes best-selling book about the fascinating story of Churchill's rise to pawer in May 1940.
The venue was more upscale at the Capital City Club. Her topic was her next NY Times best-selling book about the Americans who were the drivers of US support to Britain in the perilous year 1940: Ambassador Gilbert Winant, Harry Hopkins, and Averill Harriman.
Stanley Cloud addressed a birthday dinner on the book that he co-authored with Lynne. We had invited several Atlanta Polish-American groups to this dinner at Rivermont Country Club and had a very good attendance.
The venue was the Dunwoody Tavern. The story was the daring, but ill-fated attempt to take a bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem in Holland.
Bill Fisher planned the discussion and was serving as moderator when he lost control (fortunately) as the veterans took over with their war stories and good-natured jabs that generally began with "if you had only done________"
Carl Beck was a 19-year old paratrooper in the 501st PIR of 101st Airborne.
He jumped into Normandy in the wee hours of D-Day. He later took part in Operation Market on the ground, successfully taking the bridge at Eindhoven to allow the Irish Guards to proceed, albeit too late, to Arnhem.
He prodded Hap about how the B-24's missed the supply drop zones.
Up until his passing in 2015 he was a fixture at schools where he would show up in his jump fatigues and tell stories. After one a 5th grader came up, tugged on his trouser leg, and asked, "Mr. Beck can you explain to me what a Kraut is?"
Hap Chandler was a young navigator on a B-24 and had flown many bombing missions over France an Germany. But for Operation Market Garden his B-24 was converted from dropping bombs to dropping supplies.
Carl Beck remembered well their supply mission commenting about seeing, of all things, a motorcycle dropped from one of the low altitude B-24s, "it was surreal, like a Salvador Dali painting to see this motorcycle tumbling through the air." After the war Hap would be a driving force in the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum at Pooler, GA near Savannah.
In 2015 he would be awarded France's highest honor, Legion d'Honneur, by the French Consul General in Atlanta.
In elementary school Bill Vandlerkloot's class was asked to bring in some artifact from WW2. He brought in an autographed photo of Winston Churchill inscribed "to my pilot, Bill Vanderkloot".
His teacher almost gasped saying, "is this for real?". It was.
Bill, the son, makes documentaries and did one in honor of his dad "Flying the Secret Skies: the story of RAF Transport Command." He told of how the RAF recruited American commercial pilots to fly US-built airplanes from Canada to Britain. His dad became so well known in the RAF that he was selected to fly Churchill's converted B-24 "Commando" taking the great man to Cairo and then to Moscow to deliver the bad news to Stalin about the delay of the second front in Europe to 1944.
The venue was The Dunwoody Tavern.
McMenamin gave one of the most fluid presentations ever to our chapter, describing the little-known role of American politician Bourke Cochran.
Late in life Winston would tell Adlai Stevenson that "It was an American who taught me how to use every note in the human voice". It was a talk that few of us will ever forget. The venue was the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.
Ted is Senior research fellow in The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in the Heritage Foundation. He wove together Churchill's "Painting as a Pastime" and his strategic vision in a remarkable lecture.
Great grandson Duncan Sandys gave what was to be a preview of his plans for an exhibition of Churchill paintings in Atlanta. He talked about Churchill's history with painting and how it was his great relaxation and means of relieving stress. He told the most interesting story about his father Duncan Sandys and Churchill painting the same scene together in Marrakech.
June Hopkins, then professor at Armstrong State University in Savannah spoke to our chapter about her grandfather Harry and his close relationship with Winston Churchill.
June Hopkins as a little girl with her grandfather, FDR advisor Harry Hopkins and Winston Churchill in the White House.
The venue was the Millennium Gate at Atlantic Station where "The Art of Diplomacy" exhibit was arranged by member and Churchill great grandson Duncan Sandys, here inscribing a catalogue.
One of the special treats for us was seeing the paintings uncrated as shown here.
This is the only Churchill painted during the Second World War, at Marrakech after the Casablanca Conference. He later gave it to President Roosevelt. At this exhibit it was on loan from then-owners Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Professor Schneer of Ga Tech spoke on his book "The Balfour Declaration" and how Churchill had been an advocate of creating a homeland for the Jewish people. We had a catered dinner for one of our larger meetings.
Joe told the fascinating story of Canadian William Stevenson who established a British spy ring based in Rockefeller Center, initially aimed at influencing US public opinion. The venue was P.F. Chang at Cumberland.
Jane Fraser's French father-in-law General Raymond Gruss (right) was military governor of Alsace. He once hosted Churchill when he addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The tales of Churchill as a house guest were most interesting.
Member Dick Kimball actually introduced us to Gordon Welchman. We'd known about the more famous Alan Turing but Gordon Welchman was an unknown. What a void in our knowledge about Bletchley Park that would be. Welchman was the great organizer of Bletchley, tuning in into an intelligence factory.
The venue was McCormick and Schmick's in Dunwoody.
Some of our chapter members were asked to view a pre-release screening at a production studio in Atlanta and comment on the scenes.
Later in they year a private screening for our chapter and friends was held at the Regal Perimeter Pointe cinema in Dunwoody. It was a packed house.
Afterwards Joe Wilson and Bill Fisher participated in a question and answer session. Joe Wilson was asked about the London Tube scene and he answered "that some parts were more true than others".
Felix Klos, a leader in the Dutch Democrats 66 Party wrote "Churchill's Last Stand: The Struggle to Unite Europe" about Churchill's long standing desire for "a sort of United States of Europe". He made a convincing case that Churchill also wanted Britain to be a player, not just an observer. He was an engaging speaker and friendly fellow. Here Joe Wilson is presenting him the famous Churchill at Georgia Tech photo.
Based on the lengthy BBC documentary by David Starkey, Bill showed the uncanny comparisons Starkey found between Churchill's writings about his great ancestor the Duke of Marlborough and what Churchill did himself. The venue was Horseshoe Bend Country Club.
Dr. Patrick Allitt is a popular speaker among Atlanta history groups. For our 2018 Birthday Event, which was a brunch rather than a dinner he gave an unusual yet very entertaining talk.
'Who Didn't Like Churchill and Why DIdn't They Like Him" was an interesting change from many talks that honor, if not deify the great man. He discussed a number of Churchill's contemporaries who were not so very fond of him, and told the story behind it. This talk was well received at our Horseshoe Bend Country Club venue.
Chris gave a fascinating talk about this little-known aspect of the air war over Britain 1940-1941: The German use of radio beams to guide their night bombers to their targets and the British scientists who engineered a way to defeat the beams. It is another story of the famous engineer and scientist, R.V. Jones, a name worth Googling for his many contributions to the British war effort.
Bob Ratonyi remembers a childhood scarred by fear, upheaval, hunger and loss. He was six years old when forced to wear a yellow star and face the terrors of war and ghetto life without his parents, both of whom were deported to concentration camps. He grew up under a communist dictatorship and escaped Hungary following the bloody uprising of 1956. A graduate of MIT and Drexel University. He attends our chapter meetings from time to time as well as the Atlanta World War II Roundtable.
Bill Fisher's dad served in Britain in the Second World War. Bill remembers as a teenager asking his father, "how could Churchill have possibly lost the election after saving Britain?" His dad said, "I saw it all coming. The folks in the pubs and the British soldiers were worried about things it didn't appear Churchill was worried about." In this talk, also based on the book "The Road to 1945" Bill brought forth the data behind his dad's observations, and some of Churchill's blunders, so that the upset should have been more predictable than it was.
The pandemic had a tiny silver lining for us. With the world going to Zoom we were able to get speakers unattainable in the in-person world.
The nephew of the great Alan Turing gave us a great history of how the Enigma cypher was actually broken.
It is very well described in his book:
"X,Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken"
He was one of the most engaging speakers we've ever had. We even had Zoom attendees from all over the world, from Kent and Leighton Buzzard in the UK to MIT information technology doctoral students.
Thanks to Jan Slimming for arranging.
Dr. Joel Greenberg did two Zoom lectures for us, including this one about the oft unsung hero of Bletchley Park, Gordon Welchman.
Bill Fisher has an MIT professor friend whose grad students attended. Joel was kind enough to show the Gordon Welchman's syllabus for the first class he taught at MIT after emigrating to US.
Our own Jan Slimming was the chief architect of the Zoom lectures.
She graced us with one of her own based on her book "Code Breaker Girls" about her Mum. Daisy Lawrence worked at Bletchley Park and kept mum about it for the rest of her life. Jan's book is based on intensive research with her Mum's colleagues. She's also written (book on right) about Atlantan Janice Martin Benario who worked in OP-G20 Naval Intelligence on this side of the ocean in WW2. Her latest book is about her dad, who was "Captured at Singapore".
He was born in Warm Springs, GA and lived next to FDR's first home before he built and moved into the famous "Little White House".
He saw FDR many times on his visits to Warm Springs. He also saw what virtually all Americans did not, namely FDR's challenges from polio and how he managed to mask his immobility in public.
Hal serves as an educator on overcoming these challenges. Blessed with a bit of a resemblance he becomes convincing from his observations of FDR, both in motion and speaking. He has an accurate replica of FDR's braces that he wears on the outside of his trousers so observers can see what the President had to deal with.
For the 2021 Churchill Birthday Dinner we put together our version of the "the not quite ready for prime time players" for a portrayal of this famous meeting.
Hal had a ship's rail as on the USS Augusta and we had seats as on the aft deck of the HMS Prince of Wales, complete with hymnals for the Sunday service. Hal Raper played FDR, Founding member Bill Fisher played a much-in need-of a-voice-coach Winston Churchill. Terry Kingery was drafted to be FDR's naval officer son. Joe Wilson was the narrator.
Maria Richmond, as usual, made sure everything happened on time.
Our gang on the Warm Springs Road Trip in front of FDR's "Little White House".
from L to R: Mason Epperly, Tom Martin, Joe Wilson, Kent Sharp, Jan Slimming, Bill Fisher, Jon Reinhardt, Jack Shinneman, and Dr. Hal Raper
Hal took us to the train station and described how FDR's train would arrive, how he would disembark, speak to the crowd that would gather, then be taken to his home.
Being a member of the Warm Springs Foundation Hal was able to take us "behind the scenes" and see the therapeutic pools and equipment that FDR used to build his strength, though never curing him as he had hoped.
Jonathan, as Winston Churchill, did a very animated performance describing the Acadia Conference with FDR.
Just like speakers from Celia Sandys to Dermot Turing, Sriya and Jonathan received the "Churchill at Georgia Tech" photo plus a contribution to each of their respective college funds.
from L to R
Jan Slimming - who "discovered" them
Jonathan, Sriya, and Joe Wilson
Sriya described in great detail the Enigma encryption device and how it was ultimately broken.
Allen Packood, the keeper of the Churchill Archives at Cambridge University addressed us live via Zoom from Cambridge. The topic was "The Power of Words", Churchill's famous oratory. He showed images from the archives of the very notes that Churchill used while speaking. It was an incredible insight to Churchill's tools and techniques.
Very important he told us about the Churchill Archives and their desire to be very accessible, including how to access them online.
Bill Fisher, in his 15th talk for the chapter, spoke on "Decoding, Deception, and Double-Cross" over two presentations in June and July. The story of how three operations in the Second World War fortuitously converged ensuring the successful close call that we remember as D-Day.
Decoding: How the Poles cracked Enigma and how an American beauty managed to pass knowledge of it to the British who built Bletchley Park into an intelligence factory.
Deception: How the British mounted operations to confuse the Germans and get them to do exactly what the Allies wanted. (like Operation Mincemeat)
Double-Cross: How a weird and eclectic group of German agents went over to the Allied side, built credibility with the Nazis, and went on to pass information that caused the German High Command do to exactly what the Allies wanted on D-Day and weeks thereafter.
The talk ended with an "Epilogue" describing what happened to the key players after the war.
Appropriately at nearly the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Don Pattillo discussed the ending of the Great War. The whole story is much more complex than what we were all taught in high school or even university for sure.
Focusing on the end of the war, Don focused on the questions posed by the distinguished historian Niall Ferguson, in his work The Pity of War:
1. Why did they fight
2. Why did they keep fighting
3. Why did they stop fighting
In a joint meeting with the 8th US Air Force Historical Society we repeated our annual remembrance . We were joined by member Edna Berkshire who served the Blitz as a little girl in London. The venue was the 57th Fighter Group at Peachtree DeKalb Airport.
Around September 15 each year, the date of the climactic battle in 1940, we gather to remember the courage, pluck, foresight, and pure luck that were the ingredients to the victory. This was perhaps the most important battle of the war.. Battle of Britain veteran RAF Flt. Lt. Denis Payne was part of two of ours: 2005 at Fisher's home and 2011 Remembrance held at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.
Look at On the Radar for current plans.
Absent a global pandemic and/or withering heat we try to have a summer garden party at a member's home.
In this photo members Janet and MIke Edwards are at Fisher's in 2019 chatting with fellow member Edna Berkshire who survived the Blitz in London as a girl.
Maria Richmond's magnificent garden has also been a venue.
Copyright © 2023 Winston Churchill Society of Georgia - All Rights Reserved.