ORIGINAL WORLD WAR II AUTOGRAPH MEMORANDUM from JOHN COLVILLE with HANDWRITTEN REPLY AND DRAWING by WINSTON CHURCHILL
From the Estate of Sir John Colville
3 x 7 3/4 inches
Item Number: 210638
On “Prime Minister” embossed notepaper all in John Colville’s hand:
“PM: I attach the precedents for peerage to Lords Chancellor. I gather from Sir A. Lascelles that Mr Attlee does attach a good deal of importance to the Jowitt Earldom though he readily gave way about poor Lord Addison.” [Initial-signed:] “JRC.”
Winston Churchill’s reply is scrawled in red ink: “await full list.” Additionally, Churchill has drawn a red flower beside Colville’s initials.
Though undated, this memorandum was clearly written in 1945 during what would be the last months of Winston Churchill’s wartime Premiership. The “Sir A. Lascelles” referred to here is indeed the all-knowing, power behind-the-throne courtier, “TOMMY LASCELLES,” made infamous in THE CROWN, who served as both King George VI and, later, young Queen Elizabeth’s Private Secretary. Lascelles was a close insider friend to John Colville. CLEMENT ATLEE, as Leader of the Labour Party, was Deputy Prime Minister in Churchill’s bipartisan War Cabinet, but was about to be elected PM in July 1945, soon after this memo was written. He appears to have been advocating for the elevation of two Labour leaders to peerages: WILLIAM JOWITT,who served Churchill in a variety of cabinet ministerships during the war before being appointed Lord Chancellor by Attlee in his new Labour government; and CHRISTOPHER ADDISON, who became Leader of the Labour peers in 1940 and then Leader of the House of Lords after Labour’s victory in 1945.
The note is in fine condition, file-punched at the upper left corner. The flower drawing by Churchill is especially charming.
This memorandum was acquired from the estate of Sir John Colville (1915-1987), Winston Churchill’s Principal Private Secretary during the war, and after, right through Churchill’s second stint as Prime Minister. No one was closer to Churchill at work than Sir John Rupert Colville, familiarly known as “Jock.”