Sunday, August 24, 2008

[Image] The P.M. and the Private.

5th August, 1942. El Alamein, Egypt.

The Hon. Sir Winston Churchill.

The Prime Minister of England, Sir Winston Churchill, visits the 9th Division forward lines at Alamein. Dressed in Suit, Tie and with Pith Helmet, Mr Churchill uses a horsehair fly swatter to keep the insects at bay. He smokes one of his trademark cigars whilst he is escorted by Major General L.J. Morshead, GOC 9th Australian Division.

And the Private.

SX13319 Pvt. Stanley Collins

2/23rd Infantry Battalion.

When touring the front lines Mr Churchill stopped to speak with Pvt. Collins of Adelaide. What happened next ensured that Pvt. Collins was the most famous man in the 9th Division for a day. He bummed a cigar off the Prime Minister of England.

When later asked by curious mates if he intended to smoke it, Pvt. Collins joked that he was going to take it home have it sealed in glass and would then pass it down as a family heirloom. Pvt. Collins survived the war, discharging in September, 1946 as Staff Sergeant Collins. It is not currently known if he did indeed take the cigar home with him in early 1943.

images 024760, 013354 & 013355 Australian War Memorial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather was standing next to Collins when he bummed a smoke off Churchill ("hey guv, how about a smoke?") claims Collins still had it at a reunion in the 60's

It'd be worth a fortune now!!