A set of books signed by Winston Churchill to a senior military figure of the Great War have sold for £5,250 at auction.
Lieutenant General Sir William Furse was Master-General of the Ordnance from 1916-1919, during part of which time Churchill served as Minister of Munitions (1917-1919). Their paths frequently crossed and the Churchill Archive contains letters between the two, both formal regarding their roles in the war situation, and (after Sir William’s retirement in 1920) informal birthday greetings, etc. Three of the books are informally addressed “To Bill Furse” as Churchill had long known his former colleague.
Churchill’s six volume treatise on the Second World War was published between 1948 and 1953 and was based on his own notes and experiences (although the short length of time that had elapsed since the end of hostilities meant that there were certain secrets he was still unable to reveal). His award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 was largely down to the publication of this historical memoir, and an abridged first edition was earlier this year gifted by the Queen to Donald Trump.
“Churchill’s place in history means that these first editions are still highly sought-after by collectors,” said Militaria specialist at Woolley and Wallis, Ned Cowell. “Add to that the dedication to such a senior military figure and these volumes have an extra significance. Sadly, Sir William died in 1953 so was probably not able to appreciate the final volume of this seminal work.”
The books had been consigned by a private UK collector and were bought on the telephone by a London dealer, bidding against an eager collector from the US. “Churchill memorabilia continues to have a worldwide appeal,” said Cowell, “and I’m delighted that we have achieved a strong price for our vendor”.