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February 2019



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We Shall Never Surrender

Seventy years today since Churchill made his famous ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech. Listening to it, tears come into my eyes every time he gets to ‘we shall never surrender.’ The speech was made in the House of Commons.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,

What of the myth that when the speech was broadcast, it was read by Norman Shelley? Robert Rhodes James said it was just that, a myth. I’m more convinced by Rhodes James, a reputable historian, than by David Irving.


Did you know a hefty fee is charged if a writer wants to quote that speech in a commercial text, including kids' history books? Around five hundred quid. We scratch the quotation... So wrong that the copyright holder wants to make money from a speech so important to history.
I had no idea! That's outrageous. I hope no one thinks my journal is a commercial operation :-)
Is the copyright holder his grandson?
I'm none too sure - our permissions department had to go through his literary agents. Another extortionate permissions fee applies to Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech - something else kids should be able to read for free in a textbook, IMO.
It has a huge place in our history and it always brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. Whatever the truth of the matter (and Churchill did make it) it was written with the intention for Churchill to rally the country and to all intents and purposes it was a success!
Quite right!

I was talking once to someone who'd been a schoolboy during the war years. He said he never doubted for a moment that we would win. That's remarkable, considering how close defeat was at times. Although Churchill can be criticised for many, many things, it's amazing that he was able to bear the terrible weight of knowledge of how bad things were, while keeping up spirits with constant talk of eventual victory. Broad shoulders.
Yes, politics aside, he was inspirational during the war years and a strong leader. I feel very proud of our island :)
A case of 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' for sure.
Very true :)