It is difficult to think of Winston Churchill, considered one of World War II's great leaders, as a green and untested Prime Minister, but that is exactly what he was on May 10, 1940, the day he took office.
He didn't have to wait long for that first test, however. On the same day, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, Holland and France. Churchill immediately realized that if, more likely when, the Germans controlled France, they would also control the French navy, second only in power in Europe to Britain's. He also knew the combined power of Hitler's navy with the French fleet would most likely spell defeat for his country.
The French Battleship Bretagne
explodes during the British
attack on Mers-el-Kébir.
Steve Harrison, 32° KCCH, is a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.