Churchill’s letter to NFU surprises at auction

A letter to the NFU that was signed by Britain’s wartime prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill, has been sold at auction for almost three times its expected price.

The final bid for the typed letter, which underlines Churchill’s views on the importance of farming’s role in the war effort, reached £1,650 when it was sold on 7 December. Auctioneers at Halls in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, had expected to achieve a price of just £600.

The three-page commuication is dated 14 October 1940 and addressed to the president of the National Farmers’ Union, Bedford Square WC 1.

Each page is mounted with the prime minister’s crest and address. It refers to agricultural price levels, food production and the impact of the Second World War.

Mr Churchill states: “I need not tell you that the food production of our country is, at this hour of supreme crisis, one of the vital factors in our ability to resist and overcome a formidable enemy”

Although the envelope is dated 17 September, a month prior to the date of the letter, experts at auctioneers Halls believed it to be a mistake in the franking office on the day.

The grandson of the late Sir Tom Peacock, who was NFU president from 1939 to 1941, put the letter up for auction.

A spokesman for Halls said all telephone lines were booked in advance of the auction.

The letter was bought by a specialist trade bidder from London, they added.

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