Hutchinson's Pictorial History of the War, Series 18 No 1

HUTCHINSON’ PICTORIALS HISTORY of the WAR PROGRESS OF THE WAR by (lie Rt. Hon. VYinston Churchill, P.C., C.H., M.P., Prime Minisler In a review of the war situation in the House of Commons on 8th Septem­ber, 1942, Mr. Churchill said :Nine weeks have passed since 1 spoke hereon the Vote of Censure. I am most grateful to the House for the substantial major­ity which they then gave tome and to the Govern­ment, for proof that is given to the world of the inflexible steadfastness of Parliament and o fits sense of proportion strengthens the British war effort in a definite and recognisable manner. Most particu­larly are such manifesta­tions o four national willpower a help to the head of the British Government in times o f war. The Prime Minister of the day, as head of the Executive, has to be from time to time in contact and in correspondence with the heads of the Executives of the great allied States. President Roosevelt and Premier Stalin are not only the heads o f the Executive, but are Comm anders-in-Chief of the armed forces. We work our affairs in a different way. The Prime Minister is the servant o f the House and is liable to dismissal at a moment’s notice by a simple vote, and it is only possible for him to do what is neces­sary, and what has got to be done on occasion by some­body or other, if he enjoys, as I do, the support of' an absolutely loyal and united Cabinet, and if he is re­freshed and fortified from time to time, and especially in bad times, as I have been, by massive and over­whelming Parliamentary majorities. Then your servant is able to transact the important business which has to be done with confidence and freedom. He is able to meet people at the heads o f the allied countries on more lessor equal terms, and on occasion to say “Yes” and“ o”N without delay upon some difficult question, and thus we arrive by our ancient constitutional methods at practical working arrangements which show that DESERT GUN-SITE Mr. Churchill visiting a gun-site in the Alamein area where he met brigade and divisional commanders. Parliamentary democracy can adapt itself to all situations and can outgo in all weathers. That is why I am especially grateful to the House for their unswerving support and for the large majority with which they rejected a hostile vote on the last occasion we were together. Since that day, and since the House separated, there have been several im­portant operations of' war. The first of these has been the carrying into Malta 01 a convoy o f supplies suffi­cient to ensure the life and resistance o f that heroic island fortress for a good many months to comc. This operation was looked forward to with a certain amount o f anxiety on a c c o unto f the great dangers to which many ot his M ajesty’s most valu­able ships must be exposed. For this purpose a power­ful battle squad ron ,supported by three air- craft-carriers trained to work in combination, and by powerful cruiser squad­rons and flotillas, were inset motion through the Strait o f Gibraltar. A t the same time the Malta air force was raised to avery high level o f strength by the flying thereof' Spitfires from other carriers, so that an effective protective umbrella was spread around the island for a considerable distance and local commando f the air was definitely assured. The convoy was thus able to force its throughway the extraordinary dangers which beset its passage from Sardinia onwards. Three or four hundred German and Italian shore-based bombers, torpedo planes and long- range fighters were launched against our armada— an enormous concourse o f ships— and in the narrows, which were mined, it was attacked by E-boats and U-boats. Severe losses were suffered, both by the convoy and the escorting fleet. One aircraft-carrier, the Eagls, two cruisers, and one destroyer were sunk, and others dam­aged. But this price, although heavy, was not excessive lor the result obtained for Malta is not only as bright
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