Mary Soames, Daughter of Churchill and Chronicler of History, Dies at 91

Historians in the News
tags: Mary Soames

Mary Soames, the last surviving child of Winston Churchill, lived a storybook life and chronicled it in her own well-received books. After her family announced her death at 91 on May 31 in London, Prime Minister David Cameron called her “an eyewitness to some of the most important moments in our recent history.”

There was the idyllic childhood at Chartwell, the family estate, where she tamed fox cubs, raised orphan lambs and played in a brick house built for her by her father, whose hobbies included bricklaying. Guests included Charlie Chaplin, who amused her by impersonating Napoleon, and T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, who dressed up in his princely Arab robes. On the eve of World War II, Noël Coward sang “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” to her family and their guests.

During the war, after overhearing a general advising her father, the prime minister, that England should seek women for undermanned antiaircraft batteries, she enlisted as a private without his knowledge. On the banks of the English Channel, she shot down flying bombs hurtling toward England.

Read entire article at NYT

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