June 18, 1940 me and my family were still in France
and Sir Winston Churchill was giving his “their finest hour” speech in the British Parliament:
This is how this time is described in yesterday’s NY Times:
Seventy years ago, on June 18, 1940,Winston Churchill, barely six weeks in office as Britain’s prime minister and confronted with the threat of invasion from Nazi-occupied France, rose in the House of Commons and, in 36 minutes of soaring oratory, sought to rally his countrymen with what has gone down in history as his “finest hour” speech.
The speech — ending with the words “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’ ” — has resonated ever since. On both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, it has been hailed as the moment when Britain found the resolve to fight on after the fall of France, and ultimately, in alliance with American and Russian military might, to vanquish the German armies that had overrun most of Europe.
Me and my family eventually, around June 25, 1940, well after Churchill’s speech and after the armistice was signed by Petain with Hitler’s Nazi regime, left the shores of France for Portsmouth, England. We got back to shores of Canada, via Halifax NS by July 13, 1940 when I officially landed in Canada as testified by a document from Immigration Canada.
I have no living memory of landing in Canada or of leaving the shores of France, but I take something from my feeble connection by place to Churchill’s famous words.
We made our way back to Canada on the MS Batory, which at that time was carrying the gold bullion holdings of the Government of Poland. Needless to say our convoy, which left Greenock, Scotland on July 7 was heavily protected by ships of the Royal Navy.
This is a quote from an earlier post about his convoy:
According to Royal Navy archives on the July 5th, battleship REVENGE met anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE (Captain H. J. Egerton) and troopships MONARCH OF BERMUDA (22,424grt), SOBIESKI (11,030grt), and BATORY (14,287grt). These five ships, which carried $1,750,000,000 in gold and securities from the Bank of England for safekeeping in Canada, departedGreenock at 0545 on the 5th escorted by destroyer GARTH.
The British ships arrived safely at Halifax on the 12th. Troopship BATORY with engine room defects was detached to St Johns escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE which then continued on to Halifax. Troopship BATORY arrived at Halifax on the 13th.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Finest hour (powerlineblog.com)
- Cambridge Journal: Seventy Years Later, Churchill’s ‘Finest Hour’ Yields Insights (nytimes.com)