Unseen archive collected by Winston Churchill's chauffeur discovered in jigsaw boxJuly 3, 2020
A FASCINATING archive collection by Sir Winston Churchill’s chauffeur has been discovered in a jigsaw box after it was nearly thrown away by accident.
The important items of Reginald Parker, personal chauffeur to the British Prime Minister during the Second World War, were found during a clear-out of cupboards and drawers.
The collection includes several Post Office telegraphs and instructions from 10 Downing Street and The Metropolitan Police stating where and when the Prime Minister must be picked up.
One note says: “The Prime Minister will arrive tomorrow by air at Hendon Aerodrome. Please have police car in readiness.”
The archive – which nearly ended up in a skip – includes a grainy black and white images of Reginald Parker, one at the wheel of the Prime Minister’s limousine outside 10 Downing Street.
The owner of the archive, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m on furlough and I’ve been sorting out cupboards and wardrobes.
"I saw a jigsaw box in my study and just thought it was one of my many jigsaws.
"But, when I opened the lid, I found the archive. I’d forgotten all about it. I saved it from going to the tip during a house clearance in the late 1990s.
"It used to belong to my mother-in-law’s partner whose surname was Parker. When he died, I helped to clear his bungalow in Hilton, Derbyshire.”
“There was quite a bit of stuff which needed to be sold, scrapped or given to charity.
"I stumbled across the paperwork and photos when I opened an old suitcase in the loft.
A PIECE OF HISTORY
“Nobody wanted it and it was going to be chucked away. But I’m fascinated by history and decided to take it home.
"When I rediscovered it, I decided it was time to find out if it was important."
They added: “I’ve always wondered if there is some key information in there, a piece of history that’s missing.
"I’ve visited the Churchill War Rooms in London. Perhaps it should be there. It would be lovely if it went to a museum.”
The ephemera reveals that Reginald Parker lived in Buckinghamshire and retired at the age of 64 in 1949 after serving five British prime ministers during a 24-year career which began in 1925.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Jigsaws have proved phenomenally popular during lockdown and it seems apt that an archive relating to British leaders who served during previous turbulent times in history has been found in a jigsaw box.”
It is set to fetch hundreds of pounds when it goes up for sale at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire.
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