By Mark McConville
STUNNING RETRO pictures of Sir Winston Churchill have been released to mark National Churchill Day on 9th April.
The holiday is celebrated each year to mark the occasion when Churchill was given honorary citizenship to the USA, the first time this had been granted.
The incredible images show United States President John F Kennedy reading the proclamation making Britain’s elder statesman, 88-year-old Sir Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States at a White House ceremony on 10th April 1963, the American passport presented to Churchill in London and Churchill and US Ambassador to Britain David Bruce looking through the proclamation which made Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States of America.
Other striking shots show the WW2 hero enjoying his retirement as he is pictured smoking one of his famous cigars during an outing in Monte Carlo, sitting in a wheelchair overlooking the sea during a visit to Cap D’Ail and enjoying an outing with his wife, Lady Clementime Churchill.
On April 9th 1963, a ceremony for honorary citizenship presided over by President John F. Kennedy, took place for Winston Churchill. Churchill was not present at the ceremony, but his son and grandson were able to attend.
Honorary though his citizenship may be, Churchill can uniquely trace his roots back to Virginia by way of Brooklyn, New York. His mother was American, Jennie Jerome. Her marriage to Lord Randolph Churchill produced two children: John Spencer and Winston.
It was the first occasion in U.S. history that an honorary citizenship was granted. It has only been given seven other times since, and of those, six have been posthumous honours. In 1996, the U.S. granted Mother Teresa the only other honorary citizenship during a person’s lifetime.
Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, his family’s estate. After serving in the army, he entered parliament in 1900 and was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. Held responsible for the failure of the Dardanelles expedition, he resigned in 1915. He saw active service in World War I, before returning to ministerial office in 1917.
As Chancellor of the Exchequer, he returned Britain to the gold standard, which led to the General Strike of 1926. He resigned in 1931, opposing his party’s policy of self-government for India. He consistently opposed appeasement with Hitler, and challenged Chamberlain’s leadership in 1940, succeeding him as Prime Minister to become Britain’s greatest war-time leader.