How I helped dear, sweet Churchill to beat pneu­mo­nia in war, by nurse

Daily Express - - EXCLUSIVE: NICK BOLES, MP - By Anil Dawar

LET­TERS from a nurse tend­ing to Winston Churchill as he bat­tled pneu­mo­nia dur­ing the Sec­ond World War have been pub­lished for the first time.

Doris Miles spoke glow­ingly of Churchill to hus­band Roger, a Sur­geon-Lieu­tenant with the Royal Navy.

She de­scribed him as “most con­sid­er­ate” and some­one who treated her “as a dear friend rather than a nurse”.

The cor­re­spon­dence from Doris, who died in 2016 aged 100, re­veals Churchill’s fe­ro­cious work ethic, dry sense of hu­mour and leg­endary drink­ing habits.

The pri­vate nurse was work­ing at St Mary’s Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don when she was whisked to White­hall to care for 68-year-old Churchill in Fe­bru­ary 1943.

She does not re­fer to the prime min­is­ter by name but in­stead men­tions “V and Vic­tory” and says her pa­tient is “all he is cracked up to be”.

In the let­ters, dis­cov­ered by Doris’s daugh­ter Jill Rose in 2001, the nurse fondly re­calls how “the old boy” made her “laugh like a drain” and tells how he en­joyed smoking “enor­mous” cigars.

She writes: “He sings a lot, rather tune­lessly, and at the top of his voice while be­ing bathed or washed. “As he gets bet­ter, so his cigars get larger and tonight af­ter din­ner, he was smoking one that I swear was over a foot long – an enor­mous cee­gar!” In an­other let­ter, Doris adds: “I’ve got aw­fully fond of him, in spite of his oc­ca­sional tantrums and rather over­bear­ing ways. He’s very sweet to me.”

When Doris said farewell to Churchill three weeks later, he pre­sented her with a signed por­trait and in­sisted she wrote in the Che­quers vis­i­tors book.

Nurs­ing Churchill: Wartime Life From The Pri­vate Let­ters Of Winston Churchill’s Nurse by Jill Rose is out now, priced £18.99. Churchill in June 1943 af­ter his health bat­tle. Above, ex­cerpts from the let­ters that Doris sent to her hus­band

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