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.
I flew to London from Chicago to attend the funeral of Sir Winston out of respect to this WWII leader. I traveled without any London hotel reservations. I just got on a plane and went. Fortunately I got a hotel across from the Marble Arch and met the Canadian PM Diefenbacker at the Grosvenor Hotel. I stood in the line for hours to go through Westminster and then took a cab to St Paul’s. As an American I was extremely proud to pay my respect to Mr. Churchill….WD Winston, USA
Having been born only 15 years after WWII, and my late father having fought in Europe, Churchill was something of a heroic figure in our American house. As a child I would put on a record of his speeches, mesmerized by them. How dearly we all could use a person like Sir Winston today, pace the PM and President.
One of the truly great men of the 20th Century.
Truly the greatest pm we have had my grandad was a royal naval guard of honour behind his coffin on that day he alway talked of being honored to take part in the state funeral for a man who deserved it
Next year it will 50 years since he was buried. I still have a sore back from being one of his pall bearers. Worth all the pain.
Mr Perkins could you contact me with reference to WSC’s funeral. I work at Chartwell
I was one of the sailors pulling the gun carriage at WChurchills funeral. Very proud day.
I was taught drill by Nick Wright who was one of the coffin bearers
Nick was RSM at REME HQs Bordon when i knew him. My son served in the TA with Nick.
Would love to know if he is still alive.
D A Butcher
My father was one of the Honor guards standing guard of his coffin. Very Proud