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Winston's Walk

by Steve

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Location of story: 
Wendover Bucks U K
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 December 2003

Early June 1944 Wendover Bucks

I was stationed at Halton, R A F. completing a Fitters course

One Sunday afternoon my mate and I went into Wendover for a walk up Coombs Hill. This was a popular walk for the locals and airmen. at the top was a monument to some local hero in the village from the Boer War.
It was a well worn, wide path to the top, we were throwing a cricket ball to each other, we were throwing the ball as high as we could over the heads of the folk on the path as we were one on each side [not very wise in retrospect]
Once or twice the ball would fall short and drop on the path. This one time the ball fell just a few feet behind three men, two old guys and an Army Officer .
I wasn't game to retrieve the ball as I could see one was an Officer, although they had not noticed the ball dropping behind them. I walked a bit closer towards them. I had the shock of my life! I ran across to my mate and said ...
" Did you see who that was! Bloody Winston Churchill!"
After a quick discussion we decided to run back down the hill and take a second look , There was a car waiting for him on the road at the bottom of the hill. It was him alright!.
My mate said "Christ! Steve you might have hit him on the head! "
I replied " I think I know who the other bloke is, the one with the goatee beard. It's General Smuts, that South African guy!
My mate said
" It must be his double, standing in for Churchill " I was certain it was him, although I could not understand why he would be out and about without full security, but then I realised that his residence 'Chequers ' was just over the hill.
I took a lot of flak from my mate, with such remarks as "If Hitler knew that you nearly hit Winnie on the head with a cricket ball, he would have given you the bloody Iron Cross" I replied with "If you had caught the ball there would have been no problem" I tried not to think what would have happened if I had hit him on the head.
I found it impossible to believe that it could Winston Churchill, I thought it surely must be a stand in, there appeared to be no security whatsoever, just a driver and one other person.

Over the years I have read many books about the War, particularly in later years when a lot of older Senior Service men came out with a lot of the true facts about what really happened at that time.
I made a point of reading all I could about the whereabouts of Churchill at the time that I saw him, which was a few days before D |Day June the 6th 1944. It was on a Sunday afternoon, and if my memory serves me correct June the 6th was the following Wednesday.
The records show that Churchill invited General Smuts [or was he a Field Marshall at that time] to stay the week end at Chequers, I am not certain, but I think the Army Officer was Smut's son.

From all accounts Churchill was aboard a naval destroyer around June the 6th

So he did decide to go for a walk, that Sunday afternoon, so how laid back was he ? and some young sprog nearly got himself into a great deal of trouble!. .

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