Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Some comments from readers in response to yesterday's quote by Winston Churchill and the accompanying pics . . . 

From Byter Steve M:
Hello Otto, 
Just to see Winston Churchill heading up your Bytes today filled me with pride. One of the greatest human beings that ever lived. Complex in the extreme, a hypocrite at times (aren't we all?) but certainly the most significant individual to influence the outcome of WW2. A genius with military tactics, learned after his dreadful mistakes in WW1 and the Dardanelles. The decisions he made about people's lives (and deaths) haunted him for the rest of his years. A great man. The greatest of men.  
If you are not familiar with the film 'The Gathering Storm" and you want to see an insight into the beginnings of WW2 and the stupidity / stuffiness / arrogance of British politicians and Westminster at its worst and best, then this film is a must. Mostly it is an important film because it charts the life and times of WS up to the declaration of war and his return as First Lord of the Admiralty. Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave at their brilliant best. 
Thanks for the memory of Winnie.  
Steve M

From Martin S, who checks all my posts, takes me to task if inaccurate and who is also an occasional contributor -
Interesting photo of Winston. 
Wikipedia suggests that the invention of the Siren Suit allows one to go to the air raid shelter appropriately attired, but I suggest it better reflects Winston’s predilection of getting up late…

Here is the article at the above link:

Winston Churchill: Style Icon And Inventor Of The ‘onesie’
16 January 2015 
[The dates at the end of the article about exhibitions etc are now past but I have left them in for completeness - Otto]

The ‘siren suit’, which bears resemblance to the infamous ‘onesie’, is a practical one-piece item of clothing originally designed by Sir Winston Churchill during the Second World War to be quickly slipped over his clothes in the event of an air raid. The great statesman had a variety of siren suits, which he referred to as ‘romper suits,’ including sombre, military style suits, as well as more extravagant pin-striped and velvet versions.

Winston Churchill wearing one of his siren suits.

There are only three original Winston Churchill siren suits known to be in existence, including a green velvet garment created by Turnbull & Asser. Churchill reportedly returned his siren suits to the Jermyn Street shirt-maker for repair on several occasions – damaged not through enemy action but by cigar burns.

It would seem that the former Prime Minister had developed something of a penchant for the outfit, opting to sport it for the most formal of occasions. Churchill wore one of these suits on a visit to the White House, Washington, in December 1941. At a press conference that week, Mrs Roosevelt declared she was having one made for her husband.

Winston Churchill making a BBC broadcast wearing one of his siren suits on 30th November 1942.

After the war, Churchill wore a siren suit again when he sat for sculptor Oscar Nemon in the 1950’s. After the sittings he gave the suit to Nemon as a souvenir. Small splashes of red paint on the trousers suggested Churchill also wore it whilst painting.

Due to Churchill’s rather large proportions, Turnbull & Asser have commissioned a bespoke mannequin to display the unique garment in the Science Museum. Expertly built using a fibreglass frame, the mannequin is covered in padding to mimic the former Prime Minister’s body shape, bringing the siren suit to life.

The pattern for Sir Winston Churchill’s siren suit. 

For those wishing to emulate the British bulldog’s style, Turnbull & Asser are due to launch a Churchill-inspired capsule collection to mark the 50th anniversary of his death this year, celebrating a great man, whose bold style and strong leadership inspired a nation.

You can see the green velvet siren suit on display together with the cigar Churchill smoked on the evening of the 1951 election when he heard he had been re-elected as Prime Minister.

Martin Wise is an archivist at Turnbull & Asser, makers of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous ‘siren suit’. Churchill’s Scientists opens from 23 January 2015 – March 2016. For more information visit our website.

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