On January 24 1965, Sir Winston Churchill, the man who led Britain through the dark hours of the Second World War, died aged 90 at his London home. By decree of Queen Elizabeth II, his body lay in state for three days in the Palace of Westminster and a state funeral was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on January 30. Churchill was the first statesman to be given a state funeral in the 2oth century – a funeral that saw the largest assemblage of statesmen in the world until the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005. That day, the BBC reported that “silent crowds lined the streets to watch the gun carriage bearing Sir Winston’s coffin leave Westminster Hall as Big Ben struck 09:45. The procession travelled slowly through central London to St. Paul’s Cathedral for the funeral service.” After the service, his coffin was taken by boat to Waterloo Station, where a specially prepared railway carriage took Churchill to his final resting place at Bladon near Woodstock, close to his birthplace at Blenheim Palace.
This color footage of Churchill’s funeral is narrated by Walter Thompson, Churchill’s former bodyguard.
- A draft script for Winston Churchill’s obituary to be broadcast by the BBC World Service, prepared in 1962
- Churchill’s obituary in the New York Times
- More BBC footage of the funeral
- A selection of Churchill’s most famous quotes
By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.