Churchill War Rooms: Part One

It’s pretty shocking that up until April of this year, I’d been to England eight times over ten years and yet had never visited the Churchill War Rooms. Given that this subterranean complex was so integral to England’s war effort, I can’t believe I never visited it– so on my last trip, I made sure that it was one attraction I could not miss.

The War Rooms are controlled by the Imperial War Museum, which I think is one of the best museum organizations in the world! IWM attractions are always very informative and well put-together, and there are things to entertain adults and children alike. I enjoyed the Churchill War Rooms immensely; because they are a relic of Britain’s wartime resolve, and they pay tribute to one of the greatest statesmen and most fascinating characters in modern history: Sir Winston Churchill.

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A portrait of Churchill was one of the sole adornments on this corridor’s wall

One of the fixtures of the War Rooms is a large hall which displays various artifacts pertaining to the history of World War II and to Britain’s beloved wartime leader. Some of these displays were interactive and all were very interesting; but I enjoyed examining the simple static objects best. One such object was an example of the German’s famous Enigma machine, which created what Germany believed to be unbreakable ciphers during the first part of the war.

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The four silver rotors at the rear of the Enigma machine were effectively what created the cipher.

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The Anglo-German Declaration, signed by both Hitler and Neville Chamberlain. A true piece of history

As I moved through the exhibit, I also got a glimpse at the amazing life of Churchill. Regardless of whether one admires his personality or his politics, it must be said that Sir Winston was an extraordinarily accomplished man. I personally do admire him for his conviction and his leadership during the wartime years, and learning more about him at the War Rooms was really inspirational.

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Churchill’s greatcoat; similar to the one he wore in the famous photograph of the 1945 Yalta Conference

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One of Churchill’s many accomplishments was a Nobel Prize for Literature; received in 1953

I can usually be expected to go teary-eyed at a war museum, and my visit here wasn’t unusual in that respect! The object that evoked the most emotion for me was, at first glance, a carefully-folded Union flag. But this flag was special– it was the flag that was draped over Churchill’s coffin after his death in 1965. For me, this flag was really a symbol not only of one man’s unforgettable legacy, but also of the merits of the Great Britain I love so much. Even prior to visiting the War Rooms, one of my favourite Youtube videos (and one of the only ones guaranteed to make me cry) was one featuring footage of Churchill’s funeral procession. You can watch it here; and I highly recommend that you do, because it shows the love and admiration that ordinary Britons held for Churchill even two decades after his greatest success.

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The flag that Churchill served throughout his life, and which accompanied him on his journey to the next.

What I loved about the Churchill War Rooms was that they focused on Churchill himself as much as they did on their wartime operations. They were much more than a dark set of spartan corridors, and they gave me a better understanding of both World War II and one of Britain’s greatest and most memorable figures.

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7 thoughts on “Churchill War Rooms: Part One

  1. The War Rooms should be visited by anyone with an interest in World War II Britain. I spent several hours there simply absorbing the atmosphere.

  2. Enjoyed your article, Adair! We actually just arrived home from England where we visited the Churchill War Rooms as well with our aunt, uncle and cousins. We really enjoyed it! Definitely a highlight of the trip for me. 🙂
    ~Elizabeth

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