The Churchill Documents, Volume 6: At the Admiralty, July 1914 – April 1915

The letters and documents reproduced in this volume were written between July 1914 and April 1915, the period covered in the first part of Volume III of the official biography of Sir Winston Churchill. They contain the documentary evidence of his initiatives, setbacks, and achievements as wartime First Lord of the Admiralty, his support for the use of air power in war, and his central part in the early development of the tank. It also shows the enthusiasm and forcefulness with which he supported an offensive naval policy, first against Germany, then against Turkey, impressing and influencing his colleagues.

The volume also contains the biographical index for both Volumes 6 and 7.

Book Excerpt:

Winston S. Churchill: obituary notice of Rupert Brooke from The Times, April 1915:

“Rupert Brooke is dead. A telegram from the Admiral at Lemnos tells us that this life has closed at the moment when it seemed to have reached its springtime. A voice had become audible, a note had been struck, more true, more thrilling, more able to do justice to the nobility of our youth in arms engaged in this present war, than any other – more able to express their thoughts of self-surrender, and with a power to carry comfort to those who watch them so intently from afar. The voice has been swiftly stilled. Only the echoes and the memory remain; but they will linger.”


What the author says

“The documents published in this volume form only a small proportion of those available in the Churchill papers, or in the principal archives elsewhere. I have selected them in the hope that they will provide a practical guide to Churchill's life during the first two and a half years of the First World War. In order to make the book as serviceable as possible, I have prepared an itemized index to all the individuals mentioned. The volume is divided into monthly sections, and the documents printed in chronological order. Where possible, telegrams are arranged hour by hour within a single day.”

What the press say

“It is perhaps the best tribute to Mr Gilbert that, without abandoning the distinctively documentary flavour of a typical Churchill work, he has so carefully selected his material, and so coherently and lucidly organised, that one comes away even from his compilations, let alone his main volume, with a strong sense of order and discipline. It is this, apart altogether from the simple advantage of having chunks of archives on one's bookshelves – besides the Churchill papers themselves, more than these two companions – which justifies his secondary enterprise.” Spectator

“These documents are of a degree of interest that it would be impossible to exaggerate: nearly 1,600 pages of vivid, first-hand evidence on civilisation's first 20th Century crisis, and on the psychology of power. In Part One, the most arresting material is the sequence of about ninety extracts from Asquith's letters to Venetia Stanley; in Part Two, the letters from Churchill to his wife, written from France after he resigned office in 1915.” Listener


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  • Formats: Hardback
  • ISBN: 978-0-916308-17-9