Seventy five years ago, on Friday June 25, 1945, Britain’s Prime Minister throughout WW2 visited High Wycombe.

The visit by Winston Churchill was part of his campaign to be re-elected at the General Election he had called for July 5, 1945.

The visit was said by the Bucks Free Press (BFP) to be the highlight of the political campaign in the Wycombe constituency.

However, although Churchill was greeted as a hero by the people of Wycombe, their desire for political change was similar to that throughout the country. A Labour government under Clement Atlee was elected.

The BFP wrote: “Never before has High Wycombe given such a spontaneous and rapturous welcome to a British statesman as that which Mr Churchill received from the moment he entered the parish boundary on his way from Uxbridge (where he had also received a rousing welcome) to Chequers.... Crowds all along the route cheered and cheered as Mr Churchill stood in the slowly moving car waving his hand (in which he held the customary cigar) raising an almost square-crowned hat, giving the famous V sign.”

A crowd conservatively estimated at 10,000 was packed tightly into the High Street, “seemingly welded into a solid mass, the only space being the ‘corridor’ created by the police and special constables, along which the two cars were to proceed to the entrance of the Red Lion hotel.”

Mr Churchill was then invited to give a speech from the balcony (really a portico) of the hotel.

He delivered a rousing address, during which it is alleged he tweaked the tail of the Red Lion statue, when it broke off in his hand.

On his way back to the car he was approached by “a schoolgirl, hatless and wearing a bright summer frock, shyly but resolutely holding forward an open autograph book”, and Mr Churchill duly obliged with his signature.

This young lady was nine years old Evelyn Hatfield from Hughenden Manor.

The two cars then proceeded to Princes Risborough where “Flags and bunting decorated the High St on the same scale as for VE-Day.”

As Mr Churchill arrived in the town “crowds of people surged forward to shake hands with him and after numerous hand-shakes he repeatedly waved to the cheering throng as the car proceeded to the Market Sq,” arriving there at 8.20pm.

A large crowd had assembled and he proceeded to deliver a short speech before resuming his journey to Chequers.

Does anyone know the present whereabouts of Evelyn Hatfield, the nine year old young lady who asked Winston Churchill to sign her autograph book, if so please contact Mike Dewey 01628 525207, email

The coloured photograph which accompanies this story was taken by George Dowdall.

Colour photography was in it’s infancy at the time and very few amateur photographers were able to experiment with colour.

The photographs were taken on a Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta.

I am grateful to his son Chris for permission to publish the image, which will be available on the SWOP website in due course.