Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral plans sold to British buyer for £472
Plans for Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral have been sold at auction.
Details of the state funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral on January 30 1965, map out every stage of the state funeral given to Britain’s wartime Prime Minister.
Europe stopped and stood still to remember Sir Winston Churchill 51 years ago, and every step planned out for what was the world’s largest state funeral, exchanged hands yesterday for £472.
A spokesperson for Catherine Southon Auctioneers and Valuers, who sold the plans, said: “We’re very pleased that it’s staying in the country and the vendor is also delighted at the sale.
Plans for Sir Churchill’s 1965 funeral had begun to be drawn up twelve years prior to his death in what was known as Operation Hope Not which was sparked by a stroke suffered by the wartime leader.
In what remains one of the most elaborate, well thought out and organised state funerals of the last century, the plans of which offer an unrivalled insight to the day.
Queen Elizabeth II told how the Operation Hope Not was to commemorate Churchill, “On a scale befitting his position in history.”
The £472 worth of paperwork includes the procession, ceremony, military flypast, and the coffin’s transportation.
The day of mourning and tribute went beyond any state funeral held in the world at the time in terms of size and grandeur.
Of the 112 recognised nations in the world, each sent a representative to London for the funeral with the single exception of China.
The funeral which was televised had 25 million people in Britain alone glued to their screens with a total of 350 million viewers across Europe.
The plans sold at auction yesterday afternoon included provision for an extraordinary procession through London.
Followed by a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral, a river launch of the coffin from the Tower of London, a military fly past and construction cranes lining the Thames.
The coffin of Sir Churchill was then boarded onto a train at Waterloo Station which terminated in Oxfordshire where he was taken to his burial place in Bladon.
These were some of the most secretive papers of the time with only a select few informed to the military like operation.
The organisation of the day was led by The Duke of Norfolk while the then Dean of St Paul’s, The Reverend Walter Matthews coordinated the religious ceremony naturally.
The Duke of Norfolk consulted with the Dean on matters such the Order of Service, the seating plan and the schedule of the ceremonial, the location of the coffin and the arrival and departure of the congregation.
The form of service was agreed by the Cathedral Chapter at a meeting as early as January 1959.