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Churchill’s long lost ‘speech’ 07-07-1942

21 T. J. P. CAMPBELL front book covers of books ready for publication through BOOKANORY.
The Opening Chapter of Britland Calling: 1. A TRIP TO ANOTHER EARTH.
Inimitable Characters

21st December 2013.

Today London Transport’s Logistics Office delivered some incredible news. Yesterday, on the 19th December, 2013, Quantity Surveyor Mr Jonathan Clarkson found something quite unexpected during an inspection of old deep level London Underground offices buried deep beneath the streets in London. He discovered a half-inch reel-to-reel tape recording transcript of a Churchill speech that almost escaped us made on 7th July 1942 to the ‘People of Britain’ during a particularly heavy air raid on London.

The story goes that Holborn Underground Station had put in new speakers and wanted someone to test them. Along came Winston Churchill and gave an impromptu performance showing his artistic and humorous side. He made his speech just before midnight during a heavy air raid. It is believed the speech’s contained sonnet (a 14-line poem) is his own as no other record of it has yet been found to exist and he was a man who loved poetry and in his earlier years wrote some poetry.

It is an interesting speech with many rhetorical devices and one invented word: misfitler. The recording was made in a control room some distance from the platform’s speakers, but the raucous defiant cheer that burst from the shelterers on the platform on the completion of the speech could clearly be heard on the recording causing Churchill to mutter, ‘Good grief. They cheer not for me, but for freedom.’

Here is a transcript of the speech:

‘People of Britain, Hitler continues to spread his evil shadow over Europe. But when he picked a fight with us, he picked a fight he could not win.

‘If we’ve told him once, we’ve told him twice, we shall never give in.

‘But still he tries.

‘Well, let his bombs fall upon our valiant people. Bombs have no malice. Only their commanding forces bear such a despicable label.

‘Oh, we shall never give in. Are you listening, Hitler? Never! Smash us until all that is left is a single atom and we shall never give in. And when you smash that single atom into its sub-atomic parts, each part will defy you. Hitler, it is what binds such parts together that will always defeat you.

‘Do you understand?

‘No. I didn’t think so.

‘Hitler, let me address you directly, when you look upon me, you see but the pointed tip of a belligerent, humungous iceberg, but the part of the iceberg you cannot see, the significantly larger part, the part that will sink you however Titanic your evil may be, that part is the people of our blessed islands. I am just one who speaks for many against one who few speak for.

‘Our secret is that your evil unites us whereas our good divides you. We will never fear to fight and always fight our fear. So bring it on, you mangled, misguided meanie. And least you forget, you yourself shall never need to fear that your day of reckoning shall come and you too shall get your chance to fight against overwhelming odds. Good luck, sir—for all the good it will do you. For you have sown every wind, and you shall reap every whirlwind. So you can huff and puff and blow our houses down, but we’ll still be standing. Ask not how we do it; ask why. When you find the answer, you’ll see the certainty of your complete demise and utter destruction.

‘For me, Hitler, it’s all about my people. For your people, it’s all about you. Because for you, it’s all about you. You, you, you. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the darkest of them all? But no! Any mirror worth its glass would be too ashamed to offer your dastardly reflection.

‘We British love our words, sir. Words, words, words. We British are not too scared to make a fool of ourselves with our humble attempts to spray some suspect words, for we appreciate their power. For your words, each ear is a nail, a nail to be hit with your hammer of a mouth. Smash, smash, smash! There is no sophisticated rhythm, no change of subject, no love. Just smash, smash, smash! Well, perhaps you should hear a bit of English iambic pentameter, Mr Hitler? You may drop as many bombs as you like, but we shall beat them off with a few Shakes of a Speare. Yes, Shakespeare, sir. Shall we try an English sonnet inspired by the bard’s 18th? One suitable for the likes of you? Well let me give it a go:

Should we compare you to a winter’s day?
Of winter’s storms so cold and colder still:
Of frozen hearts that march on feet of clay,
Of icy seas that spill and chill and kill:
Where snow falls thick to put to bed your soul,
A snow so pure it hides the black beneath.
Where spears of ice grow long and lose control,
Their sharpened points to stab as stray shark’s teeth;
You are that winter’s day that wants to freeze
To death the light of us that shines on you;
But we will not accept your tyrannies,
Your every cell of black we will breakthrough:
So long as we can breathe and fight the dark,
So long lives light the life of freedom’s mark.

 ‘Ah, words. Our doggerels of war can fight, can spit and snarl and bite. Oh yes, Mr Hitler, you sick misfitler, for though your sticks and stones may break our bones, our words shall surely kill you!

‘Oh how desperately your evil hand attempts so malevolently to eclipse the shining good. But you do yourself no favours, Mr Hitler. For one day, we will all be judged—if not by God, by History.

‘So people of Britain, we shall not despair in our dogged defiance. We shall not fall foul to believing it a futility. For Freedom is our answer to the question: To be, or not to be? And as the poem insists:

So long as we can breathe and fight the dark,
So long lives light the life of freedom’s mark.


The Opening Chapter of Britland Calling: 1. A TRIP TO ANOTHER EARTH.
Inimitable Characters

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