Charting Churchill: Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Buckingham Palace, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Winston Churchill was called to Buckingham Palace on May 10th 1940 by King George VI and asked to form a government. Five years later, on May 8th 1945, Prime Minister Churchill stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret waving to the cheering crowds. Throughout the day and evening, the Royal Family made several appearances. The square in front of the Palace, shown above, was packed with people celebrating VE Day; Germany had surrendered unconditionally.

Churchill also greeted the massive crowds on Whitehall, from balcony of the Ministry of Health. Here he made two appearances, one during the day and another at 10:30 pm when he wore his famous siren suit. He proclaimed: “This is your victory! It is the victory of the cause of freedom in every land. In our long history we have never seen a greater day than this…” At the conclusion of his brief remarks, the band played Land of Hope and Glory, and everyone joined in the singing, including Churchill.

On May 8th 1945, the Prime Minister also made a broadcast to the nation from the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street. Announcing Germany’s unconditional surrender, he said: “Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, but in the interests of saving lives the “Cease fire” began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands are also freed today.” He repeated the words of the broadcast in the House of Commons, with a paragraph added. Churchill then concluded by saying: “I therefore beg, Sir, with your permission to move: That this House do now attend at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster, to give humble and reverent thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the threat of German domination.”

To learn more about events of 1945, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. She presents locations that chart Churchill’s personal and political life, from his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874 until his death in London in 1965. THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores Nazi architecture in Berlin, Stalinist structures in Moscow, contested sites in Jerusalem, a Cold War bunker in Ottawa, NATO’s Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, and buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

To view more photographs, please visit Leslie’s website.

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