London, South Kensington
2 June 2008
CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer (1874-1965). Autograph letter signed (with initials, 'W.C.') to Captain [Richard] Webb (director of the Trade Division of the Admiralty), Admiralty, 23 August , one page, 8vo (paper-clip stain in upper margin), together with a typed copy of a report, 3 pages, 4to. Provenance: Sotheby's sale, 20 July 1980, lot 123; the Spiro Family Collection.
Writing three weeks after the outbreak of the First World War, Churchill proposes 'to issue a reassuring statement about the trade & to publish the figures of arrivals & departures [of ships in British ports]'. The typed report (corrected in pencil in a different hand) considers the possible military threat of German merchant vessels, and counter-measures: 'The menace of the German commerce-destroying merchant-ship would thus appear to have failed'. (2)
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