This illustrated account of one of British history’s great national events is the first ever published having as its sole subject the state and private funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. Significantly, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death and it is 120 years since the death of Churchill's father, Lord Randolph, who died on 24 January 1895. The year 2015 is also the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in which Churchill played such a pivotal and dynamic role.
The book covers all aspects of Operation Hope Not – the codename for the arrangements for Churchill's state funeral – the details of which only made available to the public in 1996 under the 30-year official secrets rule.
The author was given access to archive papers at Arundel Castle; the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge; the National Archives at Kew; and the College of Arms in London. In 2013 he interviewed The 11th Duke of Marlborough – who, as the Marquis of Blandford, greeted and then accompanied the mourners after the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral; on the funeral train to Hanborough; then on to St. Martin’s Church, Bladon, where Churchill's burial took place.
The author also interviewed in 2013 the Countess of Avon, Churchill's niece, who attended the funeral, and Mrs. Minnie Churchill, who attended Churchill's Lying-in-State and is the mother of Churchill's living heir, Randolph Churchill – Winston Churchill's great-grandson.
‘Churchill’s Final Farewell’ also explains aspects of state and ceremonial funerals, together with details of that of Churchill; the reasons for Waterloo Station, not Paddington, being chosen as the departure point to Bladon, where Churchill lies, and the story of his interment there. There are also particulars of some rather special champagne served on the funeral train with a personal message from Winston – stories that the 16th Duke of Norfolk, The Earl Marshall of England (responsible for all the arrangements for Operation Hope Not) told his close friend, the great English bowler Alec Bedser.
Rodney J Croft is now a semi-retired general and vascular surgeon in London, having retired from the National Health Service in 2004. He is Dean of Clinical Studies U.K. for St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies, which has 17 National Health Service-affiliated hospitals in the U.K, used for the clinical training. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; a Liveryman of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries; and a Freeman of the City of London.