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Winston Churchill 'in the hand of God'

30 January 2015


Later years: Winston Churchill arrives at London airport after a holiday in Monte Carlo, in 1961 

Later years: Winston Churchill arrives at London airport after a holiday in Monte Carlo, in 1961 

WINSTON CHURCHILL was remembered at Westminster Abbey on Friday in a service marking 50 years since his state funeral.

It concluded a day of events across the country celebrating the war-time Prime Minister, whom David Cameron described as a "great Briton" to whom the United Kingdom owed a "debt of gratitude".

Mr Cameron attended a remembrance service at the Houses of Parliament on Friday morning.            

He recalled the "vast silent crowds" of 30 January 1965 and concluded that, today, "the sheer brilliance of Winston Churchill remains undimmed."

He said: "If there is one aspect of this man I admire more than any other - it is Churchill the patriot. He knew Britain was not just a place on the map but a force in the world, with a destiny to shape events and a duty to stand up for freedom."

The boat that carried Churchill's coffin along the Thames, the Havengore, repeated its original journey from the Tower of London to Westminster, where wreaths were laid in the waters.  Tower Bridge was also raised in his honour.

At Westminster Abbey a wreath was laid at the green-marble memorial stone that commemorates Sir Winston.

BBC Parliament broadcasted the BBC's original coverage of the funeral, remastered, with timings to match those of the day itself.

From the Church Times  archive

Churchill, an instrument in the hand of God


SO NOW Winston Churchill belongs to the ages, his long course finished, his last victory won. After all the ups and downs of fame and fortune which marked his career of phenomenal service to his Sovereign, his country and the world, his proud place in history is as secure as that of any man in Britain's annals. The unique place which he held in the hearts of men has been proved by the flood of eloquent tributes (among which the broadcast by the Prime Minister was outstanding) which have poured forth in the Press and on the air this week. . .

No one now living can remember anything quite like the national honours paid to this extraordinary man on his death. But then there has been no one quite like him for longer than anyone can remember. Behind all the pomp and circumstance of this week's ceremonies lie the emotions of which they are the outward symbol. There is sheer gratitude for all that Winston Churchill did in the dark days when Britain once again, under his inspiration, saved herself by her exertions and the world by her example. There is deep admiration for his magnanimity of character, for his ability to pluck victory out of the heart of defeat, for the way in which he treated the two impostors, personal triumph and disaster, as the same. Above all there is the intuitive feeling that, in a sense shared only by the greatest Sovereigns, here was a man who had become identified with his country. There were times when Churchill not only spoke for Britain. He was Britain.

The Church can lay no special claim to him. But the prophets of old would have seen nothing at all strange in the belief that he was an instrument in the hand of the Living God for the purposes of his providence, and that God is to be praised for all that Winston Churchill was inspired to do and say and write in the cause of freedom, righteousness and peace.

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