Fifty years after his death, a nation’s enduring respect for Churchill

A LEADER like no other, Sir Winston Churchill’s pensive face is a study of concentration in this rare colour photograph of the former premier sat behind his desk in 10 Downing Street.

Captured in an austere-looking Cabinet room in 1954, one year before he left office for the final time, it is emblematic of the Britain’s resolution in World War Two’s darkest days which helped to change the course of history.

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On the 50th anniversary of his death, and ahead of next week’s commemorations to honour this landmark in history, the photo will rekindle memories of the bow-tied Churchill’s ‘we shall never surrender’ defiance.

To his left is a telephone that looks like a museum piece – perhaps he was awaiting a call from President Dwight Eisenhower – while the foreground shows a conveniently-placed silver ashtray in the likely event of Churchill lighting up one of his trademark cigars. His authoritative demeanour offers a vivid contrast to those of his successors who struggled to command the nation’s respect. Studiously sat in front of a library of books, Churchill’s desk also contains a letter opener – a reminder that the reign of this focused man of words preceded modern computers.

* Churchill’s death and legacy: pages 15, 16 and 17. Log on at www.yorkshirepost.co.uk to download pages from The Yorkshire Post’s archives.