All politicians adopt a public persona that they believe contributes to electoral success. Although those personas might reflect the character of the politician, they reveal only a part of the man: We know far less about the characteristics politicians reveal when they are out of the public eye, and Winston Churchill is no exception.
Although much has been written about Churchill and the important world leaders, politicians, and high-ranking military personnel with whom he interacted, little has been written about Churchill in relation to the vast staff he required in order to maintain the intense pace at which he worked. When Churchill strode the world stage, the secretarial and support staff positions were inevitably filled by women. Though extraordinarily talented and valuable to Churchill and his work, these women remain unheralded.
Churchill was not an easy employer. He was intimidating, with never-ending demands, and he would impose his relentless and demanding schedules on those around him. And yet these women were devoted to him — although there were times in his political career during which he was decidedly unpopular. Many reflect upon their years working for him as the best years of their lives. Intelligent and hard-working, these women were far from sycophants. Just as Churchill was no ordinary Prime Minister, these women were not ordinary secretaries. Indeed, in today’s terms, their titles would be much grander, as their work encompassed handling ultra-secret documents and decrypting and reading enemy codes.