Our Keeper’s Gallery currently features a display to mark the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death at the age of 90 on 24 January 1965. Churchill was Prime Minister during the Second World War from 1940 to 1945 and later from 1951 to 1955. A state funeral, which ended up being the largest in the world at the time, had been planned several years before Churchill’s death by officials under the codename ‘Operation Hope Not’. The funeral was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 30 January 1965 and was attended by representatives of more than 110 nations. Members of the public lined the streets for the procession while millions watched on television. Here at The National Archives we hold numerous records relating to Churchill’s funeral, and a selection are showcased in the gallery.
This is a portrait, dated 1939-1946, of Churchill with Big Ben in the background and a quotation from one of his famous rousing speeches broadcast to France in 1940: ‘Long live also the forward march of the common people in all lands towards their just and true inheritance, and towards the broader and fuller age’.