Leeds nostalgia: Climax of Churchill’s career

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Winston Churchill, in the words of Reuter’s, reached the climax of his career as Britain’s wartime leader when he took the salute at a march-past of the ‘Desert Rats’, the 7th Armoured Division, in the centre of the Reich capital.

Churchill stood on a dais draped in a Union Jack in the centre of the Charlottenburger Chaussee, just through the battered Brandenburg Gate, the triumphal 18th Century arch which was one of the most widely recognised landmarks in Berlin.

He was there with Major General Lyne, commander of the Desert Rats together with an assortment of British and American personalities.

Later, in an impromptu speech to the ‘Desert Rats’ in the Naafi Club, Churchill said: “I am unable to speak without emotion. Dear Desert Rats, may your glory ever shine. May your laurels never fade. May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage you have made, from Alamein to the Baltic and Berlin, never die - a march unsurpassed, as far as my reading of history leads me to believe, in the whole story of war.”

He added: “Twice in our generation, and in bygone time, the German fury has been unleashed on her neighbours. Now it is we who take out place in the occupation of this country.

“I think I may go as far as to ask Field Marshall Montgomery to signalise the happy event of this great victory by giving all the troops in Berlin today a whole day off.”

In other news, the Methodist Conference passed a motion allowing women to become ministers for the first time.

It also decided men and women in the ministry should have equal status and receive equal training and should receive allowances on the same scale.