Bob Jubb - Winston Churchill and the Speaker of the House of Commons

Running time
3 min 5 sec
Date made
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Transcript

The speaker secretary of the House of Commons was a bloke called Sir Ray [Ralph] Verney, and his job is to run the House of Commons. He allocates the time that it'll operate. He arranges, you know, the seating and the cleaning and the provisioning of it. Everything to do with the running of the House of Commons. They weren't relations, but they were good friends, the Newtons, had advised Sir Ray [Ralph] Verney that I was over there, and a friend of the family, and to look after me.

He was really marvellous. During my career he took me to lunch at the Traveller's club. I was appalled to have lunch, because he was a civilian just being the secretary and the speaker of the House of Commons. He was in the civilian suit. I was just a dirty old Australian flight sergeant. At the next table was Lord Portal, the chief of the RAF. Sir Ray [Ralph] Verney then said to me "Would you like to see the house in session?"

I said "Oh that'd be wonderful". He gave me a chit, which I have around somewhere. I've got it here still. It was a chit to the distinguished stranger's gallery, which is a mezzanine floor overlooking the House of Commons. So, I'm up there on my own, there's no one else there, just me, and I'm looking down, sitting forward, and Churchill is there, and Anthony Eden is right behind him, and Lady Astor is there and Atlee and the Labour party along this side, and they're talking about the casualties in Greece and Crete operation. There were 27,000 British captured, and 9,000 Australian troops captured. I just remember those sort of figures that he quoted at the time.

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