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Secret documents of plans for Winston Churchill's funeral



  • Foreign dignitaries - including six monarchs, six presidents and 16 prime ministers - gathered in St Paul's
  • More than a million people lined streets as Churchill took final journey to his burial place in Oxfordshire
  • 'Operation Hope Not' involved more than 1,000 military and police personnel providing security
  • Planning for Churchill's funeral began twelve years before his death, in 1953, when he suffered a stroke

By Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 08:33 EST, 17 February 2017 | Updated: 11:00 EST, 17 February 2017

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Top secret documents revealing ceremonial details and route maps for Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral have been unearthed more than 50 years on.

They show the twelve years of meticulous planning that went into organising the wartime hero's funeral, which took place in London on January 30, 1965.

Dignitaries from 112 countries - including six monarchs, six presidents and 16 prime ministers - gathered in St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate Churchill's life.

Top secret documents revealing ceremonial details and route maps for Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral have been unearthed more than 50 years on Top secret documents revealing ceremonial details and route maps for Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral have been unearthed more than 50 years on

Top secret documents revealing ceremonial details and route maps for Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral have been unearthed more than 50 years on

They show the years of meticulous planning that went into organising the wartime hero's funeral, which took place in London on January 30, 1965 They show the years of meticulous planning that went into organising the wartime hero's funeral, which took place in London on January 30, 1965
Dignitaries from 112 countries - including six monarchs, six presidents and 16 prime ministers - gathered in St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate Churchill's life Dignitaries from 112 countries - including six monarchs, six presidents and 16 prime ministers - gathered in St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate Churchill's life

They show the years of meticulous planning that went into organising the wartime hero's funeral, which took place in London on January 30, 1965

More than a million people lined the streets as his coffin took its final journey to Churchill's burial place of Bladon, Oxfordshire More than a million people lined the streets as his coffin took its final journey to Churchill's burial place of Bladon, Oxfordshire

More than a million people lined the streets as his coffin took its final journey to Churchill's burial place of Bladon, Oxfordshire

It was the largest state it British history, and a plan called Operation Hope Not involved more than 1,000 military and police personnel providing security It was the largest state it British history, and a plan called Operation Hope Not involved more than 1,000 military and police personnel providing security

It was the largest state it British history, and a plan called Operation Hope Not involved more than 1,000 military and police personnel providing security

 Included in the documents are maps of the route Churchill's coffin took beginning at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament and finishing at St Paul's Cathedral  Included in the documents are maps of the route Churchill's coffin took beginning at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament and finishing at St Paul's Cathedral

 Included in the documents are maps of the route Churchill's coffin took beginning at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament and finishing at St Paul's Cathedral

The funeral procession then took to the water as the casket was carried aboard the launch Havengore for a short sail up the River Thames The funeral procession then took to the water as the casket was carried aboard the launch Havengore for a short sail up the River Thames

The funeral procession then took to the water as the casket was carried aboard the launch Havengore for a short sail up the River Thames

In a memorable scene on The Thames, dockers dipped their cranes as Churchill sailed by on his way to Waterloo Station In a memorable scene on The Thames, dockers dipped their cranes as Churchill sailed by on his way to Waterloo Station
During the procession, Churchill's gun carriage rolled past the offices where he had served as the First Lord of the Admiralty during two world wars, Fleet Street newspaper offices where he worked as a journalist and 10 Downing Street. Pictured: The coffin leaves St Paul's Cathedral During the procession, Churchill's gun carriage rolled past the offices where he had served as the First Lord of the Admiralty during two world wars, Fleet Street newspaper offices where he worked as a journalist and 10 Downing Street. Pictured: The coffin leaves St Paul's Cathedral

In a memorable scene on The Thames, dockers dipped their cranes as Churchill sailed by on his way to Waterloo Station

The Royal Family (from left to right) Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh,  Prince Charles, Princess Anne, pictured at Sir Winston Churchill's funeral ceremony 30 January 1965 at St Paul's The Royal Family (from left to right) Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh,  Prince Charles, Princess Anne, pictured at Sir Winston Churchill's funeral ceremony 30 January 1965 at St Paul's

The Royal Family (from left to right) Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, pictured at Sir Winston Churchill's funeral ceremony 30 January 1965 at St Paul's

It was the largest state funeral in British history, and a plan called Operation Hope Not involved more than 1,000 military and police personnel providing security.  

More than a million people lined the streets as his coffin took its final journey to Churchill's burial place of Bladon, Oxfordshire. 

The documents were enclosed in an envelope titled 'Her Majesty's Service' and dated January 26, 1965 - just four days before the former Prime Minister was laid to rest.

They belonged to police officer Philip Bainbridge from the B2 team of Scotland Yard in 1965, which planned and researched the route of the funeral.

In later years, he passed them on to his daughter Janet Burnett as an anniversary present. Now, she has decided to put them up for auction and the documents are tipped to sell for £600.

Included in the documents are maps of the route Churchill's coffin took beginning at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament and finishing at St Paul's Cathedral. 

The funeral procession then took to the water as the casket was carried aboard the launch Havengore for a short sail up the River Thames. 

In a memorable scene, dockers dipped their cranes as Churchill sailed by.

Finally, Churchill's casket was taken to Waterloo Station and placed on a specially prepared train filled with family and friends for his final journey. 

This took the coffin to a quiet churchyard in the village of Bladon, near his birthplace of Blenheim Palace, where he was buried.

A man catches a sight of Churchill's coffin on a telescope as it passes through central London during the funeral  A man catches a sight of Churchill's coffin on a telescope as it passes through central London during the funeral 

A man catches a sight of Churchill's coffin on a telescope as it passes through central London during the funeral 

Crowds throng the streets of London as a gun carriage passes by bearing the coffin of the great wartime Prime Minister Crowds throng the streets of London as a gun carriage passes by bearing the coffin of the great wartime Prime Minister

Crowds throng the streets of London as a gun carriage passes by bearing the coffin of the great wartime Prime Minister

Soldiers carry Churchill's coffin, wrapped in a Union Flag, up the steps of St Paul's where the funeral service took place Soldiers carry Churchill's coffin, wrapped in a Union Flag, up the steps of St Paul's where the funeral service took place

Soldiers carry Churchill's coffin, wrapped in a Union Flag, up the steps of St Paul's where the funeral service took place

A colour image, taken from a different angle, of soldiers carrying Churchill's coffin up the steps of St Paul's and into the nave  A colour image, taken from a different angle, of soldiers carrying Churchill's coffin up the steps of St Paul's and into the nave 

A colour image, taken from a different angle, of soldiers carrying Churchill's coffin up the steps of St Paul's and into the nave 

This was the moment Churchill's coffin was loaded onto the gun carriage. The troops accompanying the coffin stood at attention as a mark of their respect This was the moment Churchill's coffin was loaded onto the gun carriage. The troops accompanying the coffin stood at attention as a mark of their respect

This was the moment Churchill's coffin was loaded onto the gun carriage. The troops accompanying the coffin stood at attention as a mark of their respect

A colour image of soldiers carrying Churchill's coffin towards the gun carriage. Guests and mourners followed the coffin down the steps of St Paul's A colour image of soldiers carrying Churchill's coffin towards the gun carriage. Guests and mourners followed the coffin down the steps of St Paul's

A colour image of soldiers carrying Churchill's coffin towards the gun carriage. Guests and mourners followed the coffin down the steps of St Paul's

Police searched buildings along the route of the procession and took up guard positions in them, with some armed men adopting vantage points on the rooftops Police searched buildings along the route of the procession and took up guard positions in them, with some armed men adopting vantage points on the rooftops

Police searched buildings along the route of the procession and took up guard positions in them, with some armed men adopting vantage points on the rooftops

A Union Flag flies at half mast as Churchill's coffin leaves St Paul's surrounded by massed ranks of marching soldiers  A Union Flag flies at half mast as Churchill's coffin leaves St Paul's surrounded by massed ranks of marching soldiers 

A Union Flag flies at half mast as Churchill's coffin leaves St Paul's surrounded by massed ranks of marching soldiers 

Mrs Burnett, 76, of Westerham, Kent, said: 'My father was working on the operation quite a while before the funeral took place.

'His job was to figure out a way in for all the lorries to London on that day and where they could park so they weren't in the way of anything.

'He then walked the route with a measuring device so they could work out the paces and how much room was needed to get everyone around the procession without a problem.

'There's so much detail in the document. It showed where everyone was meant to stand at any time. If you wanted to know where the Grenadier Guards were meant to be at 11.05am it would tell you.

Churchill was laid to rest in a private service at the churchyard of St Martin's, where he was placed by the graves of his father, Lord Randolph, his brother, John, and his mother Jennie Churchill was laid to rest in a private service at the churchyard of St Martin's, where he was placed by the graves of his father, Lord Randolph, his brother, John, and his mother Jennie

Churchill was laid to rest in a private service at the churchyard of St Martin's, where he was placed by the graves of his father, Lord Randolph, his brother, John, and his mother Jennie

'It was a sad day but my father was proud to be involved and would talk to me a lot about what he had done for Churchill's funeral.'

The event was a massive military operation - military personnel started moving into position at 10pm the night before the procession.

They searched buildings along the route of the procession and took up guard positions in them, with some armed men adopting vantage points on the rooftops.

The name of every person in every building in the line of sight was supplied to the police beforehand.

These names were checked with a national list of politically uncertain people who might bear a grudge against particular leaders.

The documents show on the day the itinerary was timed to the second, including the planes flying overhead.

At 9.45am, Big Ben chimed before falling silent then cannons in nearby Hyde Park thundered 90 shots, one for each year of Churchill's life.

Two minutes and 35 seconds were allowed for gun salutes and there were even instructions for how the music should be directed, with pipers beginning to play and fading out after exactly two minutes and 45 seconds.

The planning for Churchill's funeral tentatively began in 1953 when he suffered a stroke and by 1958, protocols had been drawn up for various Government departments in the event of Churchill's death.

In 1963, an official committee was formed to handle 'Operation Hope Not' with the Duke of Norfolk as its chairman.

However, some plans had to be rewritten over time because Churchill, according to Lord Mountbatten, 'kept living and the pallbearers kept dying'.

In the days before the funeral more than 320,000 people passed by his coffin at Westminster Hall, queuing for more than a mile.

The documents were enclosed in an envelope titled 'Her Majesty's Service' and dated January 26, 1965 - just four days before the funeral The documents were enclosed in an envelope titled 'Her Majesty's Service' and dated January 26, 1965 - just four days before the funeral

The documents were enclosed in an envelope titled 'Her Majesty's Service' and dated January 26, 1965 - just four days before the funeral

The documents belonged to police officer Philip Bainbridge from the B2 team of Scotland Yard in 1965, which planned and researched the route of the funeral The documents belonged to police officer Philip Bainbridge from the B2 team of Scotland Yard in 1965, which planned and researched the route of the funeral
The auction takes place on February 22 in Selsdon, Surrey. Pictured: Mr Bainbridge The auction takes place on February 22 in Selsdon, Surrey. Pictured: Mr Bainbridge

The documents belonged to police officer Philip Bainbridge from the B2 team of Scotland Yard in 1965, which planned and researched the route of the funeral

Members of the public file past the catafalque in Westminster Hall where the coffin of former prime minister Winston Churchill was lying in state, surrounded by royal guards Members of the public file past the catafalque in Westminster Hall where the coffin of former prime minister Winston Churchill was lying in state, surrounded by royal guards

Members of the public file past the catafalque in Westminster Hall where the coffin of former prime minister Winston Churchill was lying in state, surrounded by royal guards

An aerial view of the procession as Churchill's coffin left Westminster Hall, where it had been lying in state, and moved towards St Paul's An aerial view of the procession as Churchill's coffin left Westminster Hall, where it had been lying in state, and moved towards St Paul's

An aerial view of the procession as Churchill's coffin left Westminster Hall, where it had been lying in state, and moved towards St Paul's

Churchil's funeral cortege passes by the Cenotaph on its way to St Paul's Cathedral after leaving the lying-in-state at Westminster Churchil's funeral cortege passes by the Cenotaph on its way to St Paul's Cathedral after leaving the lying-in-state at Westminster

Churchil's funeral cortege passes by the Cenotaph on its way to St Paul's Cathedral after leaving the lying-in-state at Westminster

A colour image of the coffin, bourne on a gun carriage pulled by a detachment from the Royal Navy, escorted by officers of the RAF moves up Whitehall, London and passes the Cenotaph heading towards Trafalgar Square A colour image of the coffin, bourne on a gun carriage pulled by a detachment from the Royal Navy, escorted by officers of the RAF moves up Whitehall, London and passes the Cenotaph heading towards Trafalgar Square

A colour image of the coffin, bourne on a gun carriage pulled by a detachment from the Royal Navy, escorted by officers of the RAF moves up Whitehall, London and passes the Cenotaph heading towards Trafalgar Square

A queue form along the Embankment of the River Thames in preparation for viewing Churchill lying in state in Westminster Hall  A queue form along the Embankment of the River Thames in preparation for viewing Churchill lying in state in Westminster Hall 

A queue form along the Embankment of the River Thames in preparation for viewing Churchill lying in state in Westminster Hall 

The name of every person in every building in the line of sight of the procession was supplied to the police beforehand The name of every person in every building in the line of sight of the procession was supplied to the police beforehand

The name of every person in every building in the line of sight of the procession was supplied to the police beforehand

A wreath and note from Queen Elizabeth II on Churchill's grave in Bladon, Oxfordshire. His body was taken to Bladon on the railway from London Waterloo A wreath and note from Queen Elizabeth II on Churchill's grave in Bladon, Oxfordshire. His body was taken to Bladon on the railway from London Waterloo

A wreath and note from Queen Elizabeth II on Churchill's grave in Bladon, Oxfordshire. His body was taken to Bladon on the railway from London Waterloo

During the procession, Churchill's gun carriage rolled past the offices where he had served as the First Lord of the Admiralty during two world wars, Fleet Street newspaper offices where he worked as a journalist and 10 Downing Street.

After an hour, the procession finished its journey at St Paul's Cathedral.

As the locomotive made the 60-mile journey to Bladon, mourners stood silently on station platforms along with uniformed Second World War veterans with arms raised in salute.

He was laid to rest in a private service at the churchyard of St Martin's, where he was placed by the graves of his father, Lord Randolph, his brother, John, and his mother Jennie.

Catherine Southon, of Catherine Southon auctioneers who are selling the collection of documents, said: 'It is a massive document and you can see they have gone into real detail pinpointing to the very last minute what was supposed to happen on the historically significant day.

'The vendor's father was part of the team which planned and researched the route. It is an incredibly interesting collection of documents and we are hopeful it should do well.'

The auction takes place on February 22 in Selsdon, Surrey.  

 

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