The State Funeral Archive of Sir Winston S Churchill
The State Funeral Archive of Sir Winston S Churchill
The State Funeral Archive of Sir Winston S Churchill


The State Funeral Archive of Sir Winston S Churchill

c. 1965 England

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A unique and rare archive of documents relating to the state funeral of Sir Winston S Churchill. Comprising of an archive of scripts and arrangements for the independent Television broadcast of the state funeral, on Saturday the 30th January 1965. Including army orders and timings for the procession, and a fascinating condensed survey of Churchill's life. All marked confidentual. Related newspaper articles, and press photographs. Also included is a rare original Order of service, and Ceremonial of Service, all dated to the 30th January 1965
This remarkable archive was compiled by Helen Littledale 1924 - 2015. Miss Littledale worked as a free lance researcher and continuity adviser throughout a long career in the film, and television industry, working behind the scenes on the broadcast of the state funeral. Her archive provides a fascinating glimpse behind the preparations, in the days leading up to the funeral.
During the war a young Helen Littledale, had been part of the famous Bletchley Park team, of code breakers, receiving a civilian citation for her work there.
The documents contained within a cloth lined archive A3 box, with inscription plaque.

This is an exert from Peter Morley's "A Life Rewound"
In 1960, the Queen had officially given her consent for Sir Winston Churchill to have a State Funeral, and the BBC and the Independent Television Authority were officially informed that detailed plans for the great event were about to be made available to the broadcasters.
It had been decided that regardless of the day of the week of Churchill’s death, the funeral would take place on a Saturday. Rediffusion was the London weekday contractor, with ATV taking over at weekends, but the ITA instructed Rediffusion to handle this complicated outside broadcast. My boss, John McMillan, the Controller of Programmes, had asked me to take charge of this project as producer and controlling director on behalf of the whole ITV network. (This was shortly after the 1960 outside broadcast I had directed of Princess Margaret’s wedding).
I gladly accepted this assignment. I was one of millions to whom Churchill was a hero figure; his World War II leadership saw to that. I had felt some pride, when after nearly four years wartime action in the army, I was picked from my regiment, The 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, to be one of his guards at the Potsdam Conference in Berlin. Now, fifteen years later, by a strange coincidence, I was chosen again, but this time to take a more active role. Little did I realise what a mammoth task this was going to be.
It was certainly very odd to be involved in producing a programme with an unknown transmission date. The Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal in charge of all major State Occasions, gave this project the codename, Operation Hope Not, and as the plot thickened, I heartily approved of that name.
Soon, an army despatch rider appeared in my office in Television House, Kingsway, and made me sign for a package that was going to be both my taskmaster and bible for the next five years. It was a heavy, purple-bound, loose-leaf book entitled Special District Order, issued by The Major-General Officer Commanding London District and the Major-General Commanding The Household Brigade. The Index made interesting reading. Looking up the Distribution List, I noted that I was in receipt of Copy 96. Copy 1 was assigned to the Queen, and Copy 302 went to the Control Officer, Regent’s Park Barracks. There were 14 sections dealing in the most minute detail with the Route, Procession, Street Liners, Minute Guns, Bands, Ceremonies at Westminster and St. Paul’s, Rehearsals, Administration, and so on. And in the back of this tome was a pocket containing 15 folded maps, underlining both the huge scale and the painstaking preparation for this event.
Outside-Broadcasts require three sorts of expertise: production, engineering and logistics. Rediffusion had some excellent people on the staff to take charge of the last two. There was the brilliant engineer, Basil Bultitude, and the ultra efficient administrator, Robert Everett, to name but two. I assembled a very modest production team. I recruited Graham Watts, a Rediffusion staff director, to take charge of finding and negotiating camera positions, and to assist me during the actual transmission. A couple of years or so later, Brian Connell joined the team, as commentator. I had got to know him well when he was the anchorman for This Week. He was an immensely knowledgeable and erudite journalist, and was very supportive in backing me up when it came to deciding the style of the broadcast. Helen Littledale, an experienced staff researcher, joined me a bit later.
Miss Helen J Littledale
Height 420.00 cm (165.35 inches)
Width 297.00 cm (116.93 inches)
Depth 50.00 cm (19.69 inches)
Paper documents
Helen Littledale
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