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Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

by joyoussingapore

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Archive List > Royal Navy

Contributed by 
joyoussingapore
People in story: 
Admiral Sir John Hayes K.C.B.O.B.E
Location of story: 
Singapore the Pacific and North Atlantic
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A6032710
Contributed on: 
05 October 2005

ingapore Repulsed ISBN 185821-542-0 by Ordinary Seaman Ian Campbell Hay with a Foreword from Admiral Sir John Hayes K.C.B.O.B.E
This is about the Battle Cruiser HMS Repulse overwhelmed by 27 Squadrens of Japanese Aircraft in the Pacific on the 10th of December 1941
This was to prove another of his many catastrophic blunders throughout World War 2 now recorded and open to the Public in the Public Records London

(1) The SURRENDER to the Boers in South Africa after ordering his Battalion 'March towards the sound of gunfire'

(2) The SURRENDER on the beaches at Gallipolis in Turkey with heavy loss of life when he was First Lord of the Admiralty

(3) The SURRENDER on the beaches at Dunkirk in France from our hastily ill-equipped conscripped civilian Army for Churchill's chance to political power after years in the wilderness and his speech to the Nation 'We will fight on the beaches We will fight in the hills We will never surrender

(4) The SURRENDER on the beaches at Singapore of 5000 of our Troups well-equipped to 2000 Japanese Troups ill-equipped and exhausted after their long treck down through Malaya continually attacked by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the best traditions of our Highland Regiments Bayonets and Bagpipes When the exhausted Japanese Troups finally arrived in Singapore it took them 3 days to accept the Surrender they thought a trap

(5) The SURRENDER on the beaches 'D'Day that could have happened if the Americans had not overruled Churchill's orders on what beaches to land on

(6) The Prime Minister Winston Churchill had been rejected as a new entrant Midshipman at Dartmouth Naval Colledge as to not having command of all his facilities a medical bed ailment and a speech impediment Rejected by the Brittish Army for the same reasons he was finally accepted in a Cavalry Regiment that was about to be disbanded

(7) From this came his speech from the safety of the House of Commons to the Nation and the world at large 'The Royal Navy is ruled by rum sodomy and the lash'
This was an outrage to the Officer's Men and Seaman boys of the Royal Navy of which there has been no rebuttle today Repulse had 200 seamen boys of which the author was one particulary so as Repulse was chosen for HM Royal Cruise

(8) The Official Records Office London all so records Prime Minister Churchill statement to his son Randolph flinging his razor angerly into his shaving bowl said 'I will drag America into the war by having the Japanese attack us by sending the crippled battleship HMS Prince of Wales after her battle with the Bismarck and the battle Cruiser HMS Repulse to the Gulf of Saigon to tempt the old Japanese Fleet out and attack us so bringing America into the War The date 10th of December 1941 America was already at War in the date 7th of December 1941

If the old Japanese Fleet had came out they would have stood little chance against Repulse's speed of 32knts and 6 tons of High Explosives landing on the targer every minute from 6 15" Guns in 3 Turrets and stated by Naval Historians it could have been Trafalgar again however there Aircraft would have us as they did that fatal morning 10th of December 1941 as their Aircraft Carriers returned from Pearl Harbour

Escaping from Japanese occupied Singapore to Australia the author sailed on HMS Vansittart V&W Class Destroyer in the Battle of the Atlantic rising to the rank of Navigating Officer

(8)

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Message 1 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 06 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear joyoussingapore

I read your attack on Churchill with growing bewilderment. Bewilderment primarily because you seem to be badly informed about the very person you are criticising. Searching constructive criticism is always a salutary antidote to over-inflated reputations and blind praise, but it has to rest on secure grounds. I do realise, of course, that there will be no way of changing your clearly entrenched views of Winston Churchill, so my observations are primarily directed to others who may be misled by your assertions. (I apologise for retaining your spelling slips as I have simply copied and pasted your text).

"(1) The SURRENDER to the Boers in South Africa after ordering his Battalion 'March towards the sound of gunfire'"

The quotation you give "March towards the sound of gunfire" was made by Napoleon to his Marshals, not by Churchill; incidentally, it invariably proved to be very sound military advice during the Napoleonic Wars. Aside from that, may I point out the Churchill was never in charge of a battalion in the Boer War. In that conflict he was the Morning Post's war correspondent; he was in South Africa as a journalist not as a soldier. Perhaps you are confusing his service at Omdurman, in the Sudan, a decade earlier as a young Second Lieutenant in the 4th Hussars. But even there his rank was far too junior to 'order' his battalion about.

"(2) The SURRENDER on the beaches at Gallipolis in Turkey with heavy loss of life when he was First Lord of the Admiralty"

This has me puzzled, since there was no surrender at Gallipoli. Instead it was a long and bitter campaign which fizzled out in failure. The concept was a daring attempt to break the deadlock on the Western Front, in the hope of a swift victory, by relieving the pressure on Russia. The landing itself was virtually unopposed. Not least in preventing a Turkish defeat was the presence, by chance, of Mustafa Kemal, later known as Kemal Ataturk - one of the most brilliant soldiers Turkey as ever produced. By contrast, on the Allied side, there was 'incompetent and confused leadership' (not my words, the words of the eminent historian, Sir Martin Gilbert).

You also seem to be unaware that the idea of an attack on the Dardanelles came from Lord Kitchener, and that Kitchener's suggestion of a military as well as a naval assault was supported by Maurice Hankey. The plan itself was drawn up by General Sir Ian Hamilton. You also seem to be unaware of the part that Kitchener played in all this and the role of the War Council. Prime Minister Asquith was adamant at the War Council that the Dardanelles operation should go forward. At the vital meeting of 26 January 1915, Asquith asked the members what importance they attached to the Dardanelles operation. Kitchener, who spoke first, said he considered the naval attack "to be vitally important". Balfour, as a former Prime Minister, was also invited to give his views, he told the Council that "It was difficult to imagine a more helpful operation".

The War Council on 16 February agreed that the Australian and New Zealand troops then in Egypt, on their way to France, should be sent instead to Lemnos, for service at Gallipoli and Churchill was instructed to arrange their transport. Churchill wanted at least 50,000 men sent, but Kitchener insisted that the 30,000 ANZACS would be more than enough. He stuck firmly to that poor assessment, despite Lloyd George, Asquith, and Grey each arguing with Kitchener that the 29th Division should also be sent. After the fiasco, Fischer, as First Sea Lord, the only one who had initially opposed the idea, resigned, and Churchill was forced from the Admiralty. Lord Kitchener's reputation remained unscathed because he had meanwhile drowned; the incompetence of General Hamilton was brushed over. However, there was no surrender, the troops were withdrawn between December 1915 and January 1916.

"(3) The SURRENDER on the beaches at Dunkirk in France from our hastily ill-equipped conscripped civilian Army for Churchill's chance to political power after years in the wilderness and his speech to the Nation 'We will fight on the beaches We will fight in the hills We will never surrender"

There was no surrender at Dunkirk whatsoever, the bulk of the BEF was brought home. You refer to the ill-equipped army, clearly you are unaware that Churchill, almost a lone voice, had been warning about this unpreparedness for years. Incidentally, the speech you quote was made on 4 June 1940, after Dunkirk.

"(4) The SURRENDER on the beaches at Singapore of 5000 of our Troups well-equipped to 2000 Japanese Troups ill-equipped and exhausted after their long treck down through Malaya continually attacked by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the best traditions of our Highland Regiments Bayonets and Bagpipes When the exhausted Japanese Troups finally arrived in Singapore it took them 3 days to accept the Surrender they thought a trap".

This is, at best, a simplistic account of what happened. Even so, I am at a loss to understand where Churchill comes into this.

"(5) The SURRENDER on the beaches 'D'Day that could have happened if the Americans had not overruled Churchill's orders on what beaches to land on"

Here you are speculating on what never happened. One might as well argue that IF Germany had won the First World War there would have been no Second World War and, probably, no Hitler. That aside, I am not aware that "the Americans ... overruled Churchill's orders on what beaches to land on" and would like to hear more. Who exactly overruled him? President Roosevelt?

"(6) The Prime Minister Winston Churchill had been rejected as a new entrant Midshipman at Dartmouth Naval Colledge as to not having command of all his facilities a medical bed ailment and a speech impediment Rejected by the Brittish Army for the same reasons he was finally accepted in a Cavalry Regiment that was about to be disbanded".

This is absolute nonsense and I am afraid that you have been completely misled by your sources. Churchill did not apply to join the Navy and he could have joined the army like any other young man. What he did do, was to enter the army by taking the stiff Sandhurst Examination. He first sat this at the age of 17, but failed. Of the 693 candidates he came 390th; in English history he was 18th out of more than 400 who took the paper. Louis Moriaty, his army class tutor at Harrow, minuted "I think your marks & place very creditable for a first try". He tried again the day before his 18th birthday, and just failed again but gaining 900 points higher and coming 8th in the chemistry paper. He passed this stiff examination at his third attempt at the age of 18, coming 4th on the cavalry list. Failing the stiff Sandhurst entrance exam is not quite the same thing as being 'Rejected by the British Army'.

"(7) From this came his speech from the safety of the House of Commons to the Nation and the world at large 'The Royal Navy is ruled by rum sodomy and the lash. This was an outrage to the Officer's Men and Seaman boys of the Royal Navy of which there has been no rebuttle today Repulse had 200 seamen boys of which the author was one particulary so as Repulse was chosen for HM Royal Cruise"

This could not be more wrong if you tried. He never made any speech to the H of C. alluding to the Royal Navy in such a way nor were the words broadcast to the nation, nor to the world. You even get the quote wrong, he is supposed to have said "The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash". But he never said those words or anything like it. When Churchill heard that the story was being banded about, he quipped to his assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne, that although he had not uttered these words, he wished he had.

"(8) The Official Records Office London all so records Prime Minister Churchill statement to his son Randolph flinging his razor angerly into his shaving bowl said 'I will drag America into the war by having the Japanese attack us by sending the crippled battleship HMS Prince of Wales after her battle with the Bismarck and the battle Cruiser HMS Repulse to the Gulf of Saigon to tempt the old Japanese Fleet out and attack us so bringing America into the War The date 10th of December 1941 America was already at War in the date 7th of December 1941"

First may I say that it is complete news to me that the Public Records Office keeps records of private conversations; Britain has never been a police-state. But even so, why would America enter the war if the Japanese attacked a British ship? It took the attack on Pearl Harbour to bring them in.

Sources:
"Churchill - A Biography" by Roy Jenkins
"Churchill - A Life" by Martin Gilbert.
Churchill's Wartime Speeches" Volume 2.

For quotes wrongly attributed to Churchill: www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=112About links

Regards,

Peter

 

Message 2 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 06 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Typos! The bane of my life!

For "Kemal Ataturk - one of the most brilliant soldiers Turkey as ever produced." read "Kemal Ataturk - one of the most brilliant soldiers Turkey has ever produced".

If you spot any more, take them as read.

Peter<cheers>

 

Message 3 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 06 October 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Dear joyoussingapore

The one thing that the proposed Archive will NOT be able to do is enable people like Peter Ghiringhelli to post rebuttals like the one he has just posted in answer to your 'Churchill bashing'.

Peter has nearly said it all for me.

What he has not dwelt on is how folk like myself must feel when ill advised articles such as your own try to denigrate the man who in my own humble opinion was the man of the century.

Churchill was the Colonel of my Regiment the 4th Queen Own Hussars.

I was honoured to take wine with him at our first post war re-union.

As he was slipping away from this world I , in company with many hundred of others, kept vigil outside his Kensington home.

I attended his funeral by standing, again with many thousands of others, in Trafalgar Square.

I am shocked at the venomous tone of your article and ask you to read and digest the response by Peter.

Ron Goldstein
ex 4th Queen Own Hussars

 

Message 4 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 06 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Regarding Churchill's ability as a student, this link is of relevance www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=111About links

Try also the sub-links on the left of the webpage.

Peter

 

Message 5 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 06 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

"An actor read Churchill's wartime speeches over the wireless"

Although this claim has not been made in this thread, its origin and subsequent history is an excellent example of how such stories gain credence and is, I think, well worth reading: www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=101About links

Peter

 

Message 6 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 07 October 2005 by joyoussingapore

To Peter
My story is not about two football teams and 'Sticking up' for one and the other as your reply suggests of which I can understand but of very serious and true statements made against Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the Official Records London
I therefore kindly suggest that you read them and I look foreward to hear from you Ian

 

Message 7 - Walking in the footsteps of Churchill

Posted on: 07 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Ian

This is not a matter of sticking up for anyone. As it happens I have never agreed with Churchill's domestic politics, i.e. the Conservative Party. But the fact remains that what you have said about Winston Churchill is nearly all completely wrong.

You started off in error with this "(1) The SURRENDER to the Boers in South Africa after ordering his Battalion 'March towards the sound of gunfire'" As I tried to explain, Churchill was a civilian journalist covering the Boer War for a London newspaper, not an officer in charge of a battalion.

Your other seven accusations are equally in error and I have set out my grounds for reaching this conclusion. The only accusation against Churchill where you might find some support is the accusation that he was responsible for the Dardanelles fiasco. He wasn't, and no serious historian would disagree, but the story still persists.

In that connection let me quote from Lloyd George's "War Memoirs", an excellent but now neglected work.

"The most notable change was the taking of Mr. Winston Churchill out of the Admiralty and placing him in charge of the Duchy of Lancaster ... It was a cruel and unjust degradation. The Dardanelles failure was due not so much to Mr. Churchill's precipitancy as to Lord Kitchener's and Mr. Asquith's procrastination. Mr. Churchill's part in that unfortunate enterprise had been worked out by him with the most meticulous care to the last particular, and nothing had been overlooked or neglected as far as the naval operations were concerned. The fatal delays and mishandlings had all been in the other branch of the Service."

I need hardly tell you that Lloyd George had one of the finest brains in politics, and was not easily fooled or misled.

You still say that the accusations you make against Churchill are "very serious and true statements". My position is that they are not. I am afraid that we must leave it at that.

Regards,
Peter

Source:

"War Memoirs of David Lloyd George", Volume 1, Chapter VIII "The Political Crisis In May, 1915".

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