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Glorious and triumphant — Iain Macleod on Winston Churchill’s funeral

30 January 2015

9:30 AM

30 January 2015

9:30 AM

Today marks fifty years since the funeral of Winston Churchill. In the 5 February 1965 edition of The Spectator, editor Iain Macleod wrote under the pen name Quoodle about the occasion. 

There has never been such a funeral service I before. There will never be again. It was splendid and solemn, but it was also glorious and triumphant. There was nothing here for tears, for the noblest of all our countrymen had died full of years. Even in St. Paul’s it was a family service. As if the Churchill family had invited the larger families of Britain and the Commonwealth and the world to share their grief and their pride.

The ceremonial was faultless. Everyone felt himself part of the service, and it was the people of London, and not only his comrades in arms, who were his pall bearers. Everyone, too, will cherish his own memories. I remember singing with all my heart the thundering words of the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic.’ I remember listening to the massed pipers playing that saddest of all laments, ‘The Flowers of the Forest.’ I remember the cranes dipping in salute as he rode the Thames for the last time. And then the peace of Bladon in the heart of England. An era ends. But as long as free men walk this earth, so long will the name of Winston Churchill be remembered.

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