by Kathryn Hadley
A menu, due to be auctioned this month, has revealed Churchill’s dissatisfaction with the breakfast provided on board a BOAC flight to the United States, in June 1954. It was Sir Winston Churchill’s last flight to the United States as Prime Minister and he was accompanied by his Foreign Secretary Sir Antony Eden.
Unhappy with the existing menu, Churchill initially tried to write over the printed menu. His amended menu was too long, however, and he consequently wrote his own new menu on the back of the printed one. He requested that his meal be brought in two trays:
‘1st Tray. Poached egg, Toast, Jam, Butter, Coffee and milk, Jug of cold milk,
Cold Chicken or Meat. 2nd Tray. Grapefruit, Sugar Bowl, Glass orange squash
(ice), Whisky soda.’ He then added: ‘Wash hands, cigar.’
The menu was kept by the air steward and will now be sold along with press cuttings from the trip by Mullock's Auctioneers at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire, on St George's Day (23rd April). The menu is expected to fetch up to £1,500. Mullock’s Auctioneers are specialised in the sale of historical documents and ephemera. In December 2005, they sold the microphone that Churchill used to make his VE day speech at the end of the Second World War for over £18,000.
In the words of Richard Westwood-Brookes, who is selling the menu:
‘This is one of the most remarkable pieces of Churchill memorabilia we have
seen. It shows what a hearty breakfast he ate and it was all washed down with a
whisky, after which he smoked a cigar. It is the type of indulgence we've come
to associate with Churchill and it reassuring to know he ate so well in his 80th
year. There are some smudges and ink stains but it is a wonderful piece of
For more information on Churchill’s character and career, read our article Makers of the Twentieth Century: Churchill
For more information on Churchill’s last years as Prime Minister, read our article Churchill's Indian Summer
For more information on Churchill’s relinquishment of power, read our article The Long Goodbye