One of the photographers present at Winston Churchill's eightieth birthday expressed the hope that he might also photograph the great man on his hundredth birthday twenty years later.
"I don't see why not, young man," Churchill replied. "You look reasonably fit to me." In the summer of 1941, Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded a Victoria Cross for climbing onto the wing of his Wellington bomber and - while flying 13,000 feet above the Zuider Zee - extinguished a fire in the starboard engine, secured only by a rope tied around his waist. Some time later, Winston Churchill summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street to congratulate him on his swashbuckling exploits. When Ward, dumbfounded in the prime minister's presence, found himself unable to answer his questions, Churchill surveyed the man with apparent empathy.
"You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence," he began. "Yes, sir," Ward replied. "Then you can imagine," Churchill declared, "how humble and awkward I feel in yours."
"The girls were amazing. Very helpful. Exceptionally happy with the service."
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