Day 13: Sir Winston and some Mummies

This morning I decided to go visit the Churchill War Rooms. My tube journey was supposed to be 2 easy stops and one platform change.... an hour later I had walked 3 miles and been on 6 different tube trains. Finally I made it to my destination thanks to some directions from a very sweet government security guard. The Churchill War Rooms were the underground command centre for the government throughout World War 2. The bunker has been preserved so well that it gives the impression you are stepping into 1942 and the center of the war effort. Some of the rooms were used as bedrooms for the people who were running the Map Rooms, the typists, the secretaries and even a room for Sir Winston Churchill himself. They were running this immense war out of some very cramped quarters. Some of the other impressive rooms included the Map Room, in which they never turned the lights off or left unmanned until VE Day in 1945 and the Cabinet Conference room which was left intact the same way it was left when the turned the lights out in 1945 including the small doodle drawings of Hitler on the wall maps. It was just mind boggling to see how they ran such an immense and strong war effort out of such a cramped space.

There was also a whole museum dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill himself. He was such an enigmatic man. The testimonies of the people who worked for him in the bunker throughout the war all mirrored the same general idea: he was a strict taskmaster, a perfectionist, a jokester and the best man they had ever met and had the privilege to work for. It discussed his life throughout the war; he was in his mid-60's throughout the war and put in 14-18 hour days often staying up until 3am to get everything done. He saw no problem asking his staff to do the same. His war effort was a strong one and he was very hands on with everything. he intended to be present at the D-Day invasions of Normandy but King George pleaded with him to stay safe in England because he was too important. He also was a smart diplomat by making great friends with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt prior to the war declaration so he had a strong ally when war did start. He was a genius with words and always loved writing, I think this is why he gave such inspiring speeches. He was a strong and proud man born into a rich. noble family but he had to make his own way in life from the start. He was sent off to boarding school at the tender age of 7 and his parents were very absent from his life. His father died when he was 20 and he always aspired to be a politician just like his father. He was in the army for a time where he excelled and inspired great loyalty among the other soldiers. It seemed the general theme was that no matter what he did or where he went, the people who surrounded him respected him immensely and became fiercely loyal. That is a mark of a truly great man.

Something I found interesting was that he actually lost the first election for Prime Minister following the victory of World War 2, largely thanks to his leadership. But, at the ripe age of 77, he once again won the election for Prime Minister and served the Government until 1955 when he was 81 years old.

This was such a great experience for my project. It gave such a great insight to how the war was run and the people who ran it. I loved getting to "know" Sir Winston Churchill and his life.

After the War Rooms, we went to the British Museum to see the famous Rosetta Stone and lots of mummies from Egypt and other artifacts. It was incredible- so much history in one building.

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