By John (ed) WHEELER-BENNETT
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Extra info for Action This Day: Working with Churchill
There was none, and the Duty Captain promised to telephone immediately if anything of the slightest interest was reported. An hour 52 JOHN COLVILLE later I was instructed to enquire again, and an injured Duty Captain reminded me of the promise he had given. , I was bidden in spite of all remonstrances to try yet again, the angry officer, aroused from a few hours' sleep, let fly at me the full vocabulary of the quarter deck in times of crisis. Churchill, hearing a flow of speech, assumed that at least an enemy cruiser had been sunk.
In writing about the past it is tempting to explain motives and decisions without taking due account of the information, or lack of it, then available, of the customs generally accepted, of the character of the men whose duty it was to decide. Analysis of distant events is often guesswork based on a patchwork of imperfect evidence; and events within living memory are no less subjected to interpretations that are over-subtle or unjustifiably sinister. A motive which seemed obvious and straightforward at the time falls prey to an atavistic taste for mystery and tests the ingenuity of 47 ACTION THIS DAY those who are triumphantly successful in over-complicating the simple.
Mter all, my father was known as Lord Randolph Churchill, but he was not a Lord. That was only a courtesy title. ' But, apart from his distaste for leaving the House of Commons, he was reluctant to abandon his special position of influence as Prime Minister. People who hold positions of authority and power are often reluctant to abandon them voluntarily without the influence of some external factor. It was so with him: in the end his decision was forced by external 45 ACTION THIS DAY circumstances.
Action This Day: Working with Churchill by John (ed) WHEELER-BENNETT