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Winston Churchill visits Sandbach

26th Jun 1945

Arriving the night before, Winston Churchill visited Sandbach on Tuesday 26th June 1945.

This from the Winsford Chronicle (30 June 1945):
Churchill visits Sandbach

Sandbach too gives a great welcome

Ettiley Heath good station Sandbach, which is just off the Crewe-Manchester mainline was the rendezvous on Monday night for the Prime Minister’s train of eight coaches which had come from Stoke, and down the single-line track at Lawton, along which a passenger train has not passed for the past twenty years; indeed, no passenger train has ever proceeded beyond the old Wheelock station to Ettiley Heath, and to Sandbach, since the line was laid in 1852 for mineral traffic only, so that the Prime Minister has made history so far as this small part of the world is concerned. There was a crowd of about a thousand in the roadway, which runs alongside the Ettiley Heath goods station, and when the train drew in there was a mighty cheer and lusty calls for the Prime Minister. He eventually stepped from the train with his wife and daughter, and walked along the side of the track with surprising agility. Mr Churchill clambered up a four-foot wall assisted by chief inspector Harris of Middlewich, to gain a loading platform from which he greeted the people in his own inimitable fashion by showing the V-sign. He expressed his regret he could not speak to them as he had a very “big day” and would have another on the morrow. And he added “I am delighted to see you”, and God bless you”.

This was followed by further cheers from the people, and Mr Churchill returned to his coach. Until a late hour hundreds of people made their way to this unpretentious station, and gazed at the train. Chief inspector W. Harris and his Men had no difficulty in controlling the good-humoured crowd, but the railway officials who had made first-rate preparations, will find it necessary to make repairs to railway wooden fences which gave way in a number of places

Before leaving Ettiley Heath for Crewe on Tuesday morning, one or two local residents hoisted flags at the entrance to the station, where another crowd gave Mr Churchill a rousing send-off. Mr George Hodgson of Elworth, presented him with a rose buttonhole, for which act the pulled up.

Perhaps the largest crowd ever seen in Sandbach assembled later in the morning to receive the Prime Minister as he was passing through the on his way from Crewe to Manchester. When his car appeared in Congleton Road there was a rush to meet it. Heading the rush was Brigadier Foster, Sir John Barlow, Lord Colum, Crichton-Stuart, and Mr G Booth (Chairman of the Council) who was wearing his chain of office, and who shook hands with Mr Churchill, giving him a warm welcome to the town. Both Mr and Mrs Churchill were presented with flowers

From his car the Prime Minister began, “Are we downhearted?” and the crowds deafening response was “No.” He went on to refer to the six years of war and how the country had emerged from the valley of the shadow of death, and stood up against mighty Germany. Hitler had gone to answer for his crimes in another world, and the Prime Minister added, “I’m not going to tell you which, because I don’t know” (Laughter).

He went on to say that he had come to speak a word for the Northwich candidate Brigadier Foster, a man who had played his part in the fight, and now came to play his part in the other fight. Whoever was sent to Parliament, whoever had to form a new Government, would have a very heavy task. We have yet to win the war against Japan, and their valuable possessions in the Far Rast have been overrun by the treacherous Japanese. It was our intention to pursue that war. It would be a great mistake to let it languish on.