Who do you think you are kid­ding, Mr Hitler?

Evergreen - - Music Makers -

While An­drew Roberts’s new bi­og­ra­phy of Win­ston Churchill – “Churchill: Walk­ing with Des­tiny” – is a se­ri­ous as­sess­ment of the great man, it does con­tain ap­prox­i­mately 250 jokes made by Churchill him­self. Here are An­drew’s four favourites:

1 In the con­fi­dence mo­tion of July 2, 1942, when he was at­tacked over the many short­com­ings of the A22 tank, Churchill joked, “As might be ex­pected, it had many de­fects and teething trou­bles, and when these be­came ap­par­ent the tank was ap­pro­pri­ately rechris­tened the Churchill.”

2 On June 6, 1944, two days af­ter D- Day, an MP de­manded that the same mis­takes would not be made as af­ter the First World War. “I am sure that the mis­takes of that time will not be re­peated,” Churchill replied. “We shall prob­a­bly make an­other set of mis­takes.”

3 In the con­fi­dence mo­tion of Novem­ber 1941, Churchill said of his crit­ics, “There was a cus­tom in Im­pe­rial China that any­one who wished to crit­i­cise the Govern­ment had the right to . . . and, pro­vided he fol­lowed that up by com­mit­ting sui­cide, very great re­spect was paid to his words, and no ul­te­rior mo­tive was as­signed. That seems to me to have been, from many points of view, a wise cus­tom, but I cer­tainly would be the last to sug­gest that it should be made ret­ro­spec­tive.”

4 In Nov 1943, he caught a se­ri­ous bout of pneu­mo­nia, with in­flam­ma­tion of the lungs that re­quired the sum­mon­ing of a team of six doc­tors from Cairo un­der Bri­gadier R. J. V. Pul­vertaft, as well as two nurses and an X- ray ma­chine. John Martin said there were so many medics around that he could not get into his of­fice. Churchill kept his sense of hu­mour through­out. Asked for a blood sam­ple by Pul­vertaft, he said, “You can use my fin­ger, or my ear, and, of course, I have an al­most in­fi­nite ex­panse of arse.”

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