Churchill’s last surviving child dies aged 91

LADY SOAMES, the last surviving child of Sir Winston Churchill, has died.

In this April 1, 1963 file photo, Sir Winston and Lady Clementine Churchill take their leave of their daughter Mary, wife of Agriculture Minister Christopher Soames

Mary Soames, who was 91, died peacefully at home in west London on Saturday surrounded by her family, after a short illness. She was the youngest of the five children of the wartime prime minister and his wife Clementine.

One of her sons, the Conservative MP Nicholas Soames, said: “She was a truly remarkable and extraordinary woman, who led a very distinguished life.”

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Mary Churchill worked for the Red Cross and the Women’s Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service with whom she served in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain).

She also accompanied her father as aide-de-camp on several of his overseas journeys, including his post-VE trip to Potsdam, where he met with US president Harry S Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

She married the Conservative politician Christopher Soames (later Baron Soames) in 1947 and they had five children – Nicholas, Emma, Jeremy, Charlotte and Rupert.

Lady Soames served many public organisations, such as the International Churchill Society and was appointed a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter in 2005.

She wrote an acclaimed biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, in 1979, which won a Wolfson Prize, and her own memoirs. Mr Soames said: “She was a distinguished writer and led a distinguished life, with her service in the War, and is part of that generation which is passing. Just before the anniversary of the Normandy landings, Churchill’s last surviving child dies. It is the great swing of history.”