29th August 1913
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey when he was First Lord of the Admiralty. It was late August 1913, and he had come to inspect the Coastguard station.
He arrived in St Peter Port aboard the Enchantress, but his priority would appear to have been a game of golf. According to a report in The Star the following day, he drove to L’Ancresse for a game, and only when he’d finished did he call on the Lieutenant-Governor.
There was no evening reception. Instead, he returned to his boat and stayed there until the following morning when it sailed away to Jersey.
An extensive tour
Churchill’s travels were extensive, and packed several stops into just a few days. He had started his trip on the 25th, arriving in Deal on the Enchantress, where he and his wife visited the Royal Marine Depot at Walmer and toured three barracks and a hospital. He played a round of golf at Sandwich.
Although only a member of the cabinet at that time, not the great leader he was destined to become, Churchill was already something of a celebrity. A large crowd had turned out to see him and his wife as the reboarded their boat at Deal. A woman in the crowd, who shouted out “Votes for women”, was “hustled by the crowd”, according to contemporary reports.
The party sailed to Dover the following day to inspect the dockyard and breakwaters, then made their way to Portsmouth. They arrived there on their third day.
On that third afternoon, Churchill took a trip down the Solent in a torpedo boat and watched seaplane flights. Some sources say that Churchill took a flight in one and declared it an excellent trip. He’d enjoyed it so much that he apparently invited the pilot to dinner on the Enchantress. Other sources maintain that the plane only landed beside Churchill’s boat and the future prime minister spent some time asking the pilot questions about it.
That evening the Enchantress headed for the Channel Islands where it arrived at 7.30 the following morning.
The daylight hours of the 29th were spent in Guernsey and the following day, at 8.15, the Enchantress left for Jersey. Once the party had left the mainland, the British papers paid little attention to what it got up to beyond Churchill’s game of golf at L’Ancresse.