Derby

Sir Winston Churchill: Chauffeur's archive found in jigsaw box

Reginald Parker's collection Image copyright Hansons
Image caption The items include Post Office telegraphs and instructions about when and where Sir Winston Churchill must be picked up

Telegraphs and photographs belonging to Sir Winston Churchill's personal chauffeur during World War Two have been discovered in a jigsaw box.

Reginald Parker's items were found by a clerk on furlough during a clear-out.

They include Post Office telegraphs and instructions from Downing Street and the Metropolitan Police about when and where Sir Winston must be picked up.

The archive owner said she previously saved the items from a skip during a house clear-out in the late 1990s.

The collection is due to be sold by Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers on 20 July with a guide price of £250 to £350.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption One note states: "The Prime Minister will arrive tomorrow by air at Hendon Aerodrome. Please have police car in readiness"

The auction firm said Mr Parker lived in Buckinghamshire and retired in 1949, aged 64, after serving five British prime ministers during a 24-year career which began in 1925.

The 60-year-old owner of the memorabilia, who did not want to be named, said: "I saw a jigsaw box in my study and just thought it was one of my many jigsaws. But, when I opened the lid, I found the archive. I'd forgotten all about it.

"It used to belong to my mother-in-law's partner whose surname was Parker.

"When he died, I helped to clear his bungalow in Hilton, Derbyshire. I stumbled across the paperwork and photos when I opened an old suitcase in the loft. Nobody wanted it and it was going to be chucked away."

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption The archive owner said she's fascinated by history and took the memorabilia home from a house clear-out but later forgot about it

She added: "When I rediscovered it, I decided it was time to find out if it was important. After all, it relates to one of Britain's most iconic leaders.

"I've always wondered if there is some key information in there, a piece of history that's missing. I've visited the Churchill War Rooms in London. Perhaps it should be there. It would be lovely if it went to a museum."

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption Reginald Parker outside 10 Downing Street

As well as transporting Sir Winston from 1940 to 1945, Mr Parker was chauffeur to Ramsay MacDonald, Britain's first Labour prime minister.

He also served Stanley Baldwin, Conservative leader of the country on three occasions, as well as former prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Clement Attlee.

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