CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Churchill's wartime despatch box

CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer (1874-1965).
Sir Winston Churchill's despatch box, bearing his initials 'W.S.C.' and the royal cipher 'G VI R'. Covered in black leather, extensively scuffed. The box measures 455 x 300 x 150 mm. (18 x 12 x 6 inches) and bears the maker's stamp of John Peck & Sons (for H.M. Stat[ioner]y Office inside. With key, the lock being, as usual, on the opposite side to the carrying handle.
Churchill was unusual among ministers in having his name or initials on his boxes, the general rule being that the box bore the name of the office, for instance 'Chancellor of the Exchequer'. The despatch box displayed in Churchill's study at Chartwell bears his full name 'Rt. Hon. Sir Winston S. Churchill, M.P.'.; another box, at the Winston Churchill Memorial & Library in Fulton, Missouri, bears the additional words 'Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster'. In both of these examples the royal cipher is inlaid in red leather. The present box was probably used by Churchill to carry documents between London and Chartwell.

The period of the reign of George VI, 1936-1952, encompasses the whole of the second World War. After Churchill's defeat in the general election of 1945 he did not return to office until October 1951, only a short time before the king's death on 6 February 1952.

This despatch box was given to the historian (Sir) William Deakin, who had assisted him his literary endeavours and especially in his writing of The Second World War.
[No: 25502]

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