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Lot #157
Winston Churchill Signed Book

Churchill biography signed for the steward of his historic flight

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Estimate: $2500+
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Churchill biography signed for the steward of his historic flight

Signed book: Great Contemporaries: Winston S. Churchill. Later printing. London: Thornton Butterworth, 1940. Hardcover, 5.75 x 8.75, 387 pages. Signed and inscribed on the first free end page in fountain pen, "To V. Partridge, from Winston S. Churchill, Jan. 1942." Churchill signed the book during his historic transatlantic return flight to England on the RMA 'Berwick' after soliciting American support for World War II. The recipient, Victor Arthur Partridge, served as steward on the flight. Accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance from his son. Autographic condition: fine, with light staining to signed page. Book condition: G+/None, with edgewear, some minor staining to textblock, rubbing to boards, and a loose front hinge.

Within days of the Japanese surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Prime Minister Churchill undertook a dangerous transatlantic journey on the Royal Navy battleship HMS Duke of York. He arrived in America on December 22, in time to spend Christmas at the White House. On December 26, Churchill gave a historic address to a joint session of Congress to win support for his concept of the war. In public, he seemed to epitomize the 'bulldog' fighting spirit; in private, the strain was taking its toll, and that very evening Churchill suffered a mild heart attack. After concluding his visit, on January 16, 1942, he decided to fly back to Great Britain to save time—this was the first transatlantic flight by a world leader.

Includes an original British Airways newsletter from February 1942, telling the story of the flight, listing its crew, and publishing a few photos of its noteworthy passengers on board. The newsletter is disbound and split at the spine, with several edge tears and creases, and some paper loss to the last page.

Accompanied by a letter of provenance from the son of Victor Arthur Partridge, discussing his father's career with Imperial Airways and his role on this significant flight. In small part: "As steward on this flight, my father's duty was to prepare and serve the meals. The included book was signed by Winston Churchill during the flight.

My father was very proud of the role he played in this historic flight, but was still reticent to say too much as he felt it was still an official visit and not to be discussed too much as he would have had to sign the official secrets act. He also flew with Churchill in the summer of 1942 on the RMA Bristol. It was considered a huge honour to be invited to join the crew on more than one flight involving Churchill."

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Animation
  • Dates: #637 - Ended June 15, 2022

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